Quarterback Alec Hess was put in a tough situation when coach Roger Robben took over at Augusta this season. Robben expects a great deal from his quarterbacks.
In four games, Hess has delivered with 821 passing yards. He has six touchdowns, three interceptions and is learning to rely on his feet to make plays rather than force the ball downfield into coverage, which was a problem in 2009.
Hess is far from being the perfect quarterback, but his improvement in such a short amount of time inspires confidence.
"For the most part he's been stepping up and making plays," Robben said. "I know in the Nickerson game, which was our third game, he made some nice decisions and stepped up in the pocket and made some throws that are necessary. We always talk to him about taking what the defense gives you. His tendency is to want to go for the deep ball and get the quick score. That's not always there."
Hess' stats indicate he's had relative success getting the ball to his receivers. He's averaged 18.9 yards per completion, but on the other hand he's completed fewer than 45 percent of his passes. Augusta is 0-4, with two losses by less than a touchdown, including a 30-29 loss to Nickerson on Sept. 17. Hess threw for 283 yards in that game, making plays Robben said wouldn't have been made in Week 1.
"I'm really glad Coach Robben pushes me in practice and expects perfection on Friday nights," Hess said. "I could play a bad game and we might do all right, but if I play a solid game then we have a good chance at winning. He's taught me a lot of things and I enjoy it."
Heeney's the man on offense — Hutchinson senior Ben Heeney was one of the Salthawks' top defensive players the past two seasons. But coach Randy Dreiling moved him to offense for his senior season, taking the place of fullback Josh Smith, a Top 11 selection.
The fullback is a key position in Hutchinson's offense, and Heeney has filled it well.
"He's, right now, as good as anyone we've had here," Dreiling said.
Heeney has 673 rushing yards, a 9.9-yard average and 14 touchdowns. He's only lost 11 yards on 68 carries and hasn't carried the ball much since he was a freshman.
"There are some things he still has to get better at, reading his blocks," Dreiling said. "He just hasn't had a lot of experience."
Guzman goes for 100 _ Southeast coach Gary Guzman picked up his 99th career win in a 14-0 victory over Southeast last Friday. He has a chance to reach 100 tonight against West. His overall record is 99-83, getting 73 wins while at Kapaun Mount Carmel.
"It's not something that I've been looking at," Guzman said. "Obviously anytime you can accomplish something like that it's nice, but now I'm just focused on trying to get a win on Friday. I want my kids to have some success. That's the most important thing."
Guzman picked up 73 wins as the coach at Kapaun Mount Carmel before going to Southeast.