Game of the Week: Cheylin QB Reeh a consistent player in changing offense
Published on -9/27/2012, 10:12 AM
By CONOR NICHOLL
Senior Kenan Reeh is the returning quarterback for the Bird City-Cheylin football team, one of nine returning signal callers in the area this year. Reeh is virtually the lone skill player that hasn't seen change for a Cougar team that has needed to make several changes because of graduation and injuries this fall.
Last year, Cheylin went 8-2 and reached the playoffs for the second straight season.
Jeremiah White earned all-state honors and set a school record with 2,006 rushing yards. Reeh was more of the offensive orchestrator, a position he enjoys. He rushed for 196 yards and three scores and passed for 391 yards with an 8/3 TD/INT ratio.
"My job is not so much to get that big play," Reeh said. "I kind of leave that up to the receivers. I (work with) my running backs, make sure they get a good handoff, just keep the basics of the quarterback position as fundamentally correct as they can be, and let other people to do great things with the ball and praise them when they do good, and tell them 'We'll get it next time' when they don't make the best play."
This fall, senior Adam Orten, last year's third-leading rusher, was supposed to take over as the main tailback, a position that usually shoulders a heavy load in the Cougars' offense. Orten had 88 yards in the season-opening victory against Hitchcock, Neb., but then suffered a season-ending leg injury against Atwood in Week 2.
It marks the second straight season Cheylin lost its expected starting tailback early. Last summer, Dalton Magnani, after a 1,433-yard performance in 2010, was involved in a serious car accident and couldn't play football. White took over.
This season, it's more running back by committee with Reeh now needing to shoulder a bigger load. After the first three weeks, Reeh had 22 carries for 127 yards and a score and had passed for 183 yards with a 3/2 TD/INT ratio.
As well, Reeh, a safety in the Cougars' 5-1-2 defense, had averaged 18 tackles in the first three weeks. On Friday, Cheylin travels to Golden Plains in a critical Eight-Man, Division II, District 6 matchup. Both teams are 2-2, 1-1 in district play.
"You kind of have your one go-to guy and he is just making plays for you, but I think it kind of does help give us a rest," Reeh said. "I can run the ball, our fullback can run the ball, our tailback can run the ball, and we can get some passes in between there and keep people fresh a little bit more this year."
Freshman Devon Janicke was the tailback last week, but veteran coach Max Keltz will make some changes for Friday. Junior Eddie Frisbie will start at tailback, while senior Ruben Razo, also the starting nose guard, will switch from offensive guard to fullback. That should help improve the Cougars' blocking, a focus of Keltz's.
Last year, Josh Keltz caught one pass for 36 yards and finished second on the team with 13 pancake blocks. This year, the Cougars have used the 6-foot-7, 225-pound Keltz has a pass-catching tackle/end. Keltz leads the team with seven catches and two receiving TDs and ranks second with 102 receiving yards.
"That big of a kid, kind of hard to defend, kind of post him up like in basketball, pretty big target to throw to," Coach Keltz said of his son.
Even with the changes and injuries, Coach Keltz believes Cheylin can finish well after a school record 10-1 season in 2010 and the 8-2 mark last year. The Cougars start all seniors and juniors on defense and one sophomore on offense.
"I think we could be pretty strong," Keltz said. "The one that we had two years ago was very strong. A lot of the reason for that was good kids, but also depth, and we don't have a lot of depth this year, so we are an injury or two away from some freshmen getting a lot of playing time."
Without Orten, Reeh is the only Cougar back and healthy who rushed for more than 20 yards and collected more than 45 tackles in 2011. Reeh weighs under 150 pounds, but has played well on both sides of the ball.
"When somebody 200 pounds comes and puts a good lick on me, I think my size is definitely not good for me," he said. "It would be nice to have a couple more pounds on me, but I think it helps me with elusiveness, a little more quickness and speed off the edge."
In a Week 2 loss to Atwood, Reeh recorded 28 tackles, including 21 assisted.
"He is pretty aggressive," Keltz said. "The other thing against Atwood, they ran an unbalanced line, so a lot of our line and linebackers were taking blockers, so then your safety was having to make some tackles. We preach to the kids, fly to the ball, so a lot of them are getting there to finish off the run or two."
On defense, Reeh had 55 tackles through the first three games, nearly matching his total of 59 from last fall.
"Sometimes I kind of overplay the run a little bit, I feel like. In eight-man, there is a lot of sweeps and stuff," he said. "....I feel like for the team that we have, we have some good linemen and ends that can kind of contain the sweeps on the option and really allows that linebacker to flow, a safety to read and just come help wherever we can."