Posted: Jul 16, 2014 10:02 AM
|8 / 22||Clinton||Away||Win||20 - 14|
|8 / 29||Cole Camp||Home||Loss||7 - 20|
|9 / 5||Osage||Away||Loss||0 - 41|
|9 / 12||Versailles||Away||Win||13 - 6|
|9 / 19||Eldon||Home||Loss||15 - 36|
|9 / 26||Hallsville||Away|
|10 / 3||Southern Boone||Home|
|10 / 10||Blair Oaks||Away|
|10 / 17||California||Home|
|10 / 24||Districts|
After a couple of pretty toughto- swallow seasons, the Warsaw Wildcats finally had a little bit to crow about in 2013. Although they ended the season with a losing record, they did win their first district game against Diamond before succumbing to Lamar in week 11. But the 5-6 record also broke the doldrums of the previous few seasons and Coach Blake Markway, his staff, and all of the players had much to be proud of in turning their fortunes around.
But 2014 brings new changes once again. Paul Thomas, former coach at Marceline, Marshall and Hannibal, brings his 127-96 record and Hall of Fame credentials to Warsaw. Although the Wildcats saw a little reversal of fortune for last year, the Tigers are looking for the solid coaching resume that they found in Coach Thomas. He has been a proven winner everywhere he has coached. He brings along a staff of Nate Steenburgen as defensive coordinator, Trevor Makie, Kasey Tittlemeyer, Alex McFadden, and Derald Henderson, and they are already hard at work on the upcoming season. Coach Thomas stated as he assessed the team, "We need to get back to the basics of football and get the commitment level back up."
Offensively the Tigers will employ multiple schemes, but they will probably highlight the passing game. They have All-State receiver Bailey Jalinek (6-4, 175), who brought in 12 TDs and 975 yards in receptions last season. Jalinek, a tall, lanky receiver with solid hands will be the go-to guy his senior year as well. Senior Tommy Proctor (6-3, 190) is also a downfield threat at tight end. He had 245 yards receiving and five touchdowns. Newcomer Trenton Simms (5-10, 150) also will see action at receiver in his sophomore year. In the backfield Ryan Todd (5-10, 160) ground out almost 470 yards as a junior and recorded three TDs. Austin Steenburgen (5-11, 180) returns for his junior season after suffering a season-ending injury in game four last year. Still he rushed for over 300 yards and 3 TDs in that time. After a platoon system at quarterback last season, it looks like most of the play calling duties will fall on sophomore Will Bunch (5-11, 165). With only four starters, all in the skill spots, there will be some competition for the line spots. Right now senior Jordan Johnson (5-10, 200) will have one spot, while sophomore Dakota Bilderbeck (6-0, 205) should have another spot. This is the biggest area of concern for Coach Thomas and the Wildcats. They must assemble a line that can buy the young quarterback time and provide the effective rushing game that Coach Thomas' scheme requires.
The defense also returns only four starters from last season. Whoever is on the opening day roster though, the Wildcats will need to clamp down in about every aspect of the defense. The defensive backfield should be the strength on this side of the ball. Ryan Todd leads the returnees will 94 tackles recorded as a linebacker. Senior Michael Benson (6-0, 215) also returns at linebacker after tallying 68 tackles last season. Also returning at defensive back are Bailey Jalinek and Austin Steenburgen. Trenton Simms, Will Bunch, and Dakota Bilderbeck will also help fill out the defensive backfield. Craig DeWeitt (5-11, 250) returns to the line for his senior season. Also Jordan Johnson will take another spot up front.
Whether it is rekindling the old spirit, returning to the fundamentals, or really starting a new chapter in Warsaw football, the Wildcats are looking to continue the improvements that they started last season. Under the new regime headed by Paul Thomas, Warsaw hopes to expedite the process of restarting the program. If history tells us anything Coach Thomas should get the desired results for Wildcats. The only question is how soon?
Pigskin's Pick: 4-5