Victoria football off to strong start

Randy Gonzales
Special to Hays Daily News
Grant Schoenrock and the Victoria Knights are off to a 2-0 start.

Victoria football coach Doug Oberle admits it is “coach speak” but he is taking it one game at a time.

“We’re just trying to get better each and every week and be playing our best football at the end of the year, see where we’re at,” Oberle said.

The Knights, off to a 2-0 start, play at WaKeeney-Trego (1-1) on Friday night. The teams share a common opponent in Chase. Trego defeated Chase 66-14 but lost to one of the top teams in the state in Leoti-Wichita County, 50-0. Victoria beat La Crosse 42-14 in the season opener then won 58-8 against Chase last week.

Oberle is wary of the Golden Eagles’ passing game with senior quarterback Kobi Shubert.

“Trego’s going to be a team that really tests us, in terms of our pass defense,” Oberle said. “They’ve got a tall kid who throws the ball well, two really good athletic kids on the outside they like to get the ball to.”

Victoria likes to get the ball in the hands of junior QB Grant Schoenrock and senior running back Jayvon Pruitt as often as possible.

Schoenrock, who rushed for 978 yards and 16 touchdowns and passed for 603 yards and 10 TDs a year ago, has rushed for 154 yards and three scores and passed for 182 yards and a TD in the first two games.

“We want to get him the ball in the run game,” Oberle said. “We like him in the pass game as well.”

Pruitt, who ran for 841 yards and 19 touchdowns for the Knights last fall, has 141 yards on the ground and three scores this year.

“We feel like there are going to be a lot of teams who will emphasize (stopping) Jayvon,” Oberle said. “He’s a guy we’ve got to get the ball in his hands in different ways – throw the ball to him, hand it off to him.”

Victoria also has gotten 179 yards rushing and four TDs from sophomore Carson Werth.

“We felt like we had some potential in terms of our skill guys,” Oberle said. “They played a lot of snaps for us, been in a lot of big games.”

Oberle said continued improvement on the line will be a key to success after losing players from last year to graduation.

“Going into the season, really concerned up front, both sides of the ball,” Oberle said. “Trying to get better each and every day.”

Oberle is counting on senior defensive end Trenton Engel, the team’s leading returning tackler. Oberle also moved senior Drayden Karlin from linebacker to the line.

“He’s a guy we’re counting on heavily,” Oberle said of Engel. “He’s really our only returning starter there (on the defensive line). We feel like we’ve got a pretty decent rotation of four guys.”

One player Oberle will not have for at least a couple weeks is sophomore Thaddeus Wohler. He had Wohler take over at safety for Schoenrock, who moved to linebacker, but Wohler broke his right hand in the season opener.

“Put Thaddeus in there at safety, very excited about his speed,” said Oberle, who also has junior Nate Windholz, who picked off four passes last year, at cornerback.

Victoria, 121-33 under Oberle with four state titles in 15 years, moved from Eight-Man Division I to Division II this season. The Knights were 6-3 last fall.

“We hope we’re going to be there at the end of the year,” Oberle said. “If we can stay healthy and continue to work, I hope good things happen for us.”