The Wichita Eagle and VarsityKansas gear up for the 2011 high school football season by presenting in-depth previews for 30 area teams. Look for new schools daily through Aug. 20.
“I think this year will be a little different because we’ll be a little more balanced on both the offensive and defensive side.”
AT A GLANCE
Last season: 7-3, reached first round of 4A playoffs
Last five seasons: 36-17
Projected 2011 playoff team? Yes
BEST SKILL PLAYERS
Derrick Decker 6-5 215 QB-S Sr.Caleb Braddy 6-0 180 WR-CB Sr.Hunter Lewis 5-10 180 RB-LB Sr.Cody Carlson 5-8 175 LB Sr.
Kyle Anderson 6-4 210 TE-DE Sr.Parker Whitney 6-3 275 OG-DT Sr.Cody Walther 6-3 250 OG-DT Jr.Austin Shaffer 6-2 210 OT-DE Sr.
CODY CARLSON ON HIS TEAM
What Rose Hill does well: “I feel like we do good both ways because we have a lot of experience on both sides. Experience helps (young players) know they are supposed to do this then, and how to react to different plays on different sides. If you know what you’re supposed to do when a play comes up, it helps a lot.”
What has to improve: “I feel like our pass defense could definitely improve and it has. It’s where we’ve been looking to improve on the long pass and the short pass.”
Sept. 2 Buhler 7 p.m. L,35-10Sept. 9 at Collegiate 7 p.m. L,28-15Sept. 16 Andale 7 p.m. W,31-8Sept. 23 at Pratt 7 p.m. W,70-0Sept. 30 at Winfield 7 p.m. W,42-7Oct. 7 Mulvane 7 p.m. W,56-24Oct. 14 at Augusta 7 p.m. W,56-21Oct. 21 Circle 7 p.m. W,35-13Oct. 27 El Dorado 7 p.m. W,68-0
The Rockets’ first three games are brutal, and as much as Slade wants to win all three, he’s more concerned with the rest of the season. “We have to take from that and build, regardless of what our record is, and you have to make it better,” he said. While Rose Hill graduated outstanding talents in Brady Foltz (Texas Christian), LaQua Mayes and Brandon Walther, the talent is more balanced than in 2010.
Carlson, 2010’s leading tackler, wreaks havoc defensively and is one of two returning starters at linebacker. The Rockets have depth on the defensive line and Decker is a strong defensive back. The offense starts with Decker, but he’s got help in Lewis and Jonny Pearson, who both had time at running back last season.
_ Joanna Chadwick