Indians have new look
By AUSTIN COLBERT
It's not a completely different offense that the Hays High School football team has adopted for the 2013 season, but it's change enough it's going to take a few practices before the players get it down.
"We are excited, but we get chewed out a lot," senior lineman Kenny Rounkles said. "I think the team will learn it fine. We are learning fast. We have a lot coming at us right now, but once we get it down it's going to be pretty deadly."
The Indians practiced for the first time Monday, giving them their first real look at their refreshed offense, one that will spread the ball around a lot more than in previous years.
The change was seen as a must in order to make up for the lack of size on this year's roster.
"We graduated some guys and felt like we had to spread the ball a little bit," fifth-year Indian coach Ryan Cornelsen said. "You don't want to be an old, stubborn coach. Sometimes you have to mold your offense to the level and ability of the players you have. So we kind of figured what we thought our strength was and try to run our offense to fit."
The strength of the team is unquestionably its junior quarterback, Alex Delton. Delton enters his second year as the starting quarterback, bringing with him an accurate and powerful arm to go with defensive-back speed.
If anyone is excited about the new offense, it's Delton.
"Me being the quarterback, I love it. I'm at home there," Delton said. "When you are in the gun running the ball it's a big time difference than from under center. That's something I like and coach knows I will have a chance to do it successfully."
And Hays High will need it to be if it plans on continuing its recent success. In four years as the Indians head coach, Cornelsen is 29-9 and has guided them to back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in program history.
The Indians were 7-3 last season, losing to eventual state champion Wichita-Bishop Carroll 52-27 in the first round of the state playoffs. Much of the success came on the feet of two-time Western Athletic Conference player of the year David Cardinal, who is now at Pittsburg State University.
Filling his shoes will be senior running back Preston Weigel, who is nearly back to 100 percent after breaking his tibia during track season.
"I feel I'll be pretty good and be able to fill in what he accomplished," Weigel said. "We are getting there. We got some more work, but everything is running pretty smooth."
The Indians will continue two-a-days until Thursday, when they will go to one practice a day until the start of the season. Hays High opens at home Sept. 6 against Junction City, a team it lost to in overtime 44-43 in last season's opener.
That gives the Indians less than three weeks to perfect their new offensive system.
"It's a process. We are not crisp by any means," Cornelsen said. "Right now we are trying to make sure we have everything installed and everybody knows it, so hopefully next week we can start executing it."