Conway Springs’ single-wing offense, which utilizes deception and quick, physical backs, is especially reliant on its center.
“There’s multiple guys they can snap the ball to,” Cardinals coach Matt Biehler said. “They have to be educated in what we’re trying to accomplish back there. They have to be on time and in the right position, and they have to do their job blocking, which is an extra job there.
“We put a lot of pressure on our centers.”
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Senior Wes Hullinger takes over at center after the graduation of two-year starter Sheldon Holland. Biehler has faith in Hullinger’s skills.
“He’s our offensive line coach’s son, so he’s been on the practice field since he could walk,” Biehler said. “He knows the positions up and down the line. He will be a student of the game and will help them know where they need to be.”
Hullinger is confident he can step in prepared.
“We have a bunch of good guys on the line,” he said. “And I know anytime I have any questions, I can ask my dad.”
The offense took a hit, graduating Luke Fisher (1,596 rushing yards) and Travis Wood (906 rushing yards). But Conway Springs churns out top-notch running backs every season, so count on Ben Pauly, who had 345 rushing yards on 51 carries, to be one to watch.
Conway Springs has 15 juniors and seniors — the Cardinals usually have at least 15 in each class — so Biehler will rely on their versatility and sophomores.
Josh Dugan, who played quarterback as a sophomore, will move out to tight end — but could play quarterback at times. Junior Jacob Winter will be at wingback, with sophomore Colton Terhune at quarterback.
“We had Luke Fisher, who was a beast back there, and people knew what we would do with a certain guy,” Biehler said. “This year I think what will help us is teams can’t key on a Luke Fisher getting the ball.
“We’ll have multiple kids back there, and we’ll put kids in different positions so that we won’t be so one-dimensional. We may not have one guy with 22 carries, but with a max of 15.”