Scoring points has not been an issue that has worried Collegiate coach Mike Gehrer in recent seasons.
The Spartans have fielded a potent offense in racking up points, but have hit a wall in the postseason because they have struggled to keep opponents out of the end zone.
“In order for us to be successful, we have to play better defensively,” Gehrer said. “I think we’re going to be able to put up some points on the board this season, but it’s going to come down to how well we’re able to play defense.”
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That will begin with senior Kyler Ehm on the defensive line, where he is expected to anchor the defense as a pass-rushing and run-stopping cog. The rest of the defense gained another year of experience, as seniors Jaques Williams, Jack Copher, Trevor Flamini, and Caleb Nesmith all return.
Gehrer has already noticed the difference of having experience back, and he says that the overall team speed on that side of the ball is the best it’s been in years. The Spartans will compete for the Class 3A title this season.
The offense loses a major-college quarterback and its best lineman, but the passing game should continue to chug along under the care of junior Austin Waddell with targets such as Copher, Flamini, and Jack Larsen returning.
Williams will take over the featured back position and has been eagerly awaiting his chance for the main role since his freshman season. Williams, who won the Class 3A title in the 100-meter dash in the spring, has track speed.
“I’ve really been looking forward to this opportunity,” Williams said. “But it’s not about just one guy. We have a lot of other really talented guys on our team and I think we’re going to show a lot of people what we can do this season.”
Collegiate’s senior class is slim, numbering just five, but all five are two-way starters and carry a veteran leadership role.
It’s representative of the rest of the team: lacking depth, but not short on talent.
“We’re all really close and even though we don’t have a lot of numbers, we have a lot of talent,” Ehm said. “We have a lot of really good guys on the team this season and I think we’re going to have a good year.”
A LOOK AT COLLEGIATE
Coach: Mike Gehrer, 18th season, 141-38
League: AV-CTL Division IV
Last season: 6-4
Last five seasons: 46-11
Projected 2014 playoff team? Yes
TOP SKILL PLAYERS
|Sept. 5||Rose Hill|
|Sept. 12||at Circle|
|Sept. 19||at Andale|
|Oct. 3||at Clearwater|
|Oct. 17||at Bluestem|
|Oct. 24||at Independent|
Kyler Ehm on his team
What Collegiate does well: “I think our advantage is speed and power. All of us are pretty fast and we’re pretty strong, as well. We’re going to have a really fast defense, so I think that’s what we do well.”
What Collegiate has to improve: “We’re going to have to buy into every play and not commit turnover. We can’t have that many errors. We need to just focus on each and every play and try to perfect it.”