Coach: Greg Slade, fifth season, 7-29
League: AV-CTL I
Last season: 3-6
Returning starters: 16
Schedule: Sept. 1, Arkansas City; Sept. 8, Valley Center; Sept. 15, at Salina South; Sept. 22, at Salina Central; Sept. 29, Andover; Oct. 6, at Maize; Oct. 13, at Hutchinson; Oct. 20, Derby.
Projected record: 6-2
Top returning players
Three keys to the season
1. State triple jump champion Federico Harvey is back with one season as the signal caller under his belt. The athleticism he displays will be key in a run-first offense that brings back nine starters and showed some explosiveness last season, and don’t be surprised if the senior showcases his arm a bit more as well.
2. The speed and agility continue on the defense side of the ball for the Colts, led by Hicks. The junior will roam sideline-to-sideline at his linebacker position, and is one of seven starters returning to the unit. Slade made a point to say his defense is even quicker and athletic after a strong offseason program.
3. Turnout for summer workouts was the best in five years, giving Campus some confidence and optimism heading into the season. The Colts have improved their record in each of the past two seasons, and were right in most of the games they played in 2016. With playing experience coming from so many places on the roster, the upward trajectory should continue.
Five questions with coach Greg Slade
1. You return 16 of 21 starters and seemed poise for a breakthrough season, but how hard does it make it playing in AV-CTL I?
“You look at what everybody else has returning and I just think across the board it’s going to be a really tough league. We’re going to have to bring it and get ready to play every single week. We return a lot of experience and we expect those kids to be better, so there’s a lot of excitement going into the season.”
2. How is the offense looking?
“We’re starting to come together offensively early on after working with what we could do this summer. It seems like we’re further ahead during the first week than what we were in the past. We still have to execute and be able to do what we do offensively, making the right reads and getting the ball to the people we need to be getting the ball to.”
3. What about the defense?
“I think overall defensively we’re probably a little bit faster than what we’ve been in the past. Speed always helps and we talk to them every day about having the mentality to play defense and running to the ball and making plays.”
4. Does this year feel more exciting with everything you guys having coming back plus it being Year 5 for you at Campus?
“Honestly, I look forward to every football season. I approach it like I do every year. I expect the kids to be here every day and work hard. I think the one things these kids have done a good job of is working hard and being consistent. Those are the things that you have to do to make things happen.”
5. What do you think this team’s X-Factor is?
“We have to play consistent and we’ve got to stay healthy too. We’ve got to have consistent play on both sides of the ball, and then with our special teams. That’s going to be huge for us this season.”