High School Sports

2011 Football preview: Wichita Heights Falcons

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.

COACH

Rick Wheeler

17th season

91-33

“I think we can (win 6A again). . . . The kids that were reserves and will be starters practiced against pretty good teams the last couple years.”

AT A GLANCE

Last season: 13-0, won Class 6A title

Last five seasons: 44-13

Projected 2011 playoff team? Yes

BEST SKILL PLAYERS

Player Ht. Wt. Pos Yr

Matt Reed 5-11 180 QB Sr.Kenneth Iheme 5-9 145 RB Sr.Marquel Moore 5-10 190 RB Sr.Skylarr Gatson 5-11 180 S Sr.

BEST LINEMEN

Player Ht. Wt. Pos Yr

Steven Walker 6-2 220 OL-DL Sr.Ashton Bell 6-1 250 DL Sr.Brandon Wharton 6-2 250 OL Sr.Preston Banks 6-3 210 DL Sr.

JIMMY WASHINGTON ON HIS TEAM

What Heights does well: “We do a lot of things well. . . . We’re really well prepared. In August, that’s when we really get together as a team and stay focused.”

What has to improve: “I think we need to improve on maybe more of a passing game. Our run game, nobody really stopped it last year. but I think it would be better if we had a more balanced offense. Matt’s improving. He’s been working on his throwing. We’ll be fine there.”

2011 SCHEDULE

Date Opponent Time 2010

Sept. 2 at Carroll 7 p.m. W,21-0Sept. 9 North 7 p.m. W,35-0Sept. 16 West 7 p.m. W,69-0Sept. 23 Great Bend 7 p.m. W,45-14Sept. 30 Northwest 7 p.m. W,56-14Oct. 6 at South 7 p.m. W,77-0Oct. 13 East 7 p.m. W,72-21Oct. 21 Southeast (at South) 7 p.m. W,56-0Oct. 28 at Derby 7 p.m. W,70-31

OUR BREAKDOWN

It might be easy to write off Heights’ running game because of the graduation of Top 11 back Dreamius Smith. That would be a mistake. The Falcons were much deeper than Smith in 2010, getting quality carries and time from Moore and Iheme. Both have quickness and the ability to find the holes.

Heights isn’t big on the either line, but the Falcons make up for that with speed, strength and physical play. There’s even more speed in the secondary with Washington, Gatson and Nick Sims. Gatson has straight-up track speed, while Wheeler calls Washington a lock-down corner and said Sims plays defense like a linebacker.

- Joanna Chadwick

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