Posted: Jul 16, 2014 10:01 AM
Updated: Sep 12, 2014 11:35 PM
|8 / 22||Lexington||Away||Loss||0 - 40|
|8 / 29||North Callaway||Home||Loss||6 - 27|
|9 / 8||Windsor||Home||Win||20 - 8|
|9 / 12||Harrisburg||Away||Win||46 - 6|
|9 / 19||Tolton||Home|
|9 / 26||Lincoln||Home|
|10 / 3||Cole Camp||Away|
|10 / 10||Sacred Heart||Home|
|10 / 17||Skyline||Away|
|10 / 24||Districts|
Life is all about perspective. Sometimes events happen that force you to view things more clearly than before. Entering the 2013 season the Tipton Cardinals were riding an unparalleled regular season winning streak, but headed into the season with a very young undermanned squad, so as many thought the win streak did end and the Cardinals lost more games than they had in years. But that pales in comparison to the tragedy that struck the Tipton family when, in what would be the final game of the season for the Cardinals, Chad Stover lost his life playing the game he loved. The Tipton community does what they always do and rallied to help the family, friends and teammates cope with the loss. The Tipton Cardinals will be playing the 2014 season inspired by #18.
This year's team will enter the season with much more experience than the 2013 version. Seven starters return to both sides of the ball and every single one of them received some post-season honor and all but one are seniors. On offense, it starts at quarterback for Tipton and that QB is the experienced and dynamic senior Dylan Cooper (6'2, 200). Cooper possesses great size, speed and knowledge of Braby's spread attack. He earned All District and All-Conference honors last year. Joining him in the backfield will be running backs Ryan Wood (5-8, 165) and Nigel Mertgen (5-11, 185).
Both Woods, a junior and Mertgen a senior earned All-Conference and All-District honors. Providing depth in the offensive backfield will be senior Michael Romano (5-5, 155) who has very good speed, junior Nik Hainen (5-9, 160) and a pair of sophomores in Dylan Becker (5-8, 145) and Tyler Pierson (5-9, 155).
At the receiver spots, first-year player Quinton Rambo (6-3, 170) and tall target Bryce Sanders (6-4, 170) will be the focus. A great strength of this year's Cardinal offense is the return of four starting linemen. Senior Wyatt Hays (6-0, 265) returns at center and he will be fl anked on either side by Reagan Ranney (5-8, 205) and Aaron Rugen (6-1, 190) at the guard spots. At tackle Ryan Bruce (5-9, 200) starts again. All of these linemen are seniors and all received All-Conference and All-District honors. Also looking to break into the starting line-up on the O-Line are junior Austin Bennett (5-9, 185) and sophomore Tate Combs (5-9, 180). Both of these guys are hard working and will contribute at some point. The Cardinals must improve on their 19.7 points per game average from last season. When asked what his team's offensive strength and outlook will be coach Braby stated "The offensive line bringing back four starters, solid running game. We will have a good competition for a RB position and we will need to develop a passing game with new receivers!"
On the defensive side of the ball many of the same faces appear as the Cardinals play many two-way players. The good news is that the entire front seven return to their starting spots where they all received All- Conference and All-District honors. Linebackers Dylan Cooper, Ryan Wood and Nigel Mertgen return to form one of the better backer corps in the conference. Along the D-Line it starts in the middle at nose guard with senior Charles Walsh (5-8, 205) and at tackle with Wyatt Hays. At the ends look for Aaron Rugen and Grant Huhmann (6-2, 195) to add some size and speed to the line. Austin Bennett should be in the rotation on the line as well.
The defensive secondary is all new with Quinton Rambo and Bryce Sanders bringing their height to the D-Backs. Michael Romano, Nik Hainen, Dylan Becker and Tyler Pierson also will play in the defensive backfield. Coach says Hainen is one of the better hitters on his squad. The defense will look to lower the 23.4 points per game they allowed in 2013. "Very tough front seven," stated Coach Braby. "the big question mark is our secondary which will be unproven with a lot of 1st year players trying to earn a starting position."
Very difficult circumstances have brought the Tipton Cardinals closer together as a team and as a community. Coach Braby's outlook on the season sums it up best, "We will bring back a lot of experienced players this year and we look forward to the upcoming season as we try to get back on the winning track." Coach stated. "The memory of Chad Stover will always be with us as we play this season inspired to uphold Chad's love of the game of football."
Pigskin's Pick: 7-2