The sting from the end of last season threw off Noah Schomacker.
A dominant force up front for Cheney on both sides of the ball, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound offensive tackle/defensive end was too put off by the way the Cardinals’ season ended – losing four of five games – to evaluate his own performance after it was all over.
But when he finally did.…
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“I was upset with how we played at the end of the year to the point where it was awhile before I thought about how I did,” Schomacker said. “But when I looked back, I do think I showed I have what it takes. I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself because I feel like that takes away from what we’re doing as a team, but I think I can play at a high level.”
Schomacker did play at a high level last season, and it showed when postseason honors rolled around. He was named All-Class 3A defensive line by The Eagle and was All-Central Plains League on both lines.
“I wasn’t surprised by how (Schomacker) played last season, because I’ve been playing with him my whole life,” said Cheney senior quarterback Austin Wheelock. “He’s always been the guy. He’s always been somebody who people can’t really block.”
Cheney hasn’t been to the state playoffs in its first three seasons under coach Cory Brack, but the Cardinals feel like this is the year they could make the leap to being an elite team because of the return of Schomacker, Wheelock and 10 other returning starters.
“I think (Schomacker) was really frustrated by the struggles we had at the end of last season,” Brack said. “And I think he knew he had to work harder in the offseason to get us where we need to be. He’s a pretty special player, and this is a special group. It’s the first group of players I’ve had for all four years, and I think this is the closest we’ve been to getting over the hump.”
Schomacker and his fellow seniors understand the stakes.
“It would be awesome to be the class that starts a tradition at Cheney,” Schomacker said. “That’s what we all want out of this season.”