Circle began the 2012 season on a positive note with a 31-14 victory at Augusta.
But that was the high point of the season for the Thunderbirds, who lost the rest of their games and forced third-year coach Bob Pool to rebuild the team to compensate for losses beyond graduation. That includes juniors Garrett Hutson, who’s concentrating on baseball, and linebacker Kyler Ehm, who transferred.
“It’s always a challenge, year to year,” Pool said. “We’re not real deep and fall off worse than most teams.”
Even despite the low numbers — about 30-35 are expected to come out, compared with about 50 in previous years — Pool said there’s a lot of potential.
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“We’re young on the line, but they’re stronger than most kids their age,” he said. “These kids compete.”
Pool said he’s optimistic that the closeness of those who remain could make the difference this season.
“Our team chemistry is better than last year,” he said. “That will be a plus for us.”
He will look to senior quarterback Jake Smith and senior wide receiver Paul Richard as two of the leaders. Both have faithfully put in four years in the weight room, Pool said.
“They’re the ones you can hang your hat on,” he said. “They’ve been there every day.”
Also returning are junior running backs Trey Davis and Justin Wright. Davis will contribute the speed, and Wright will provide the power, Pool said.
Pool is also looking for good contributions from two athletic juniors, Josh Walker and Theron Brines. Walker is raw but has good speed, Pool said. Brines will complement Richard at wide receiver.
Circle will count on freshmen and sophomores as well. Sophomore Kaden Fowler started at quarterback as a freshman against Andale.
“He’s a big plus,” Pool said.
Pool also likes the competitive nature of his team.
“I haven’t been displeased with the way our kids have played,” he said. “They don’t lay down — even when they’re outmanned.
“We’ve got some ‘getting better’ to do.”
Coach: Bob Pool, third season, 3-16
League: AV-CTL Division IV
Last season: 1-8
Last five seasons: 13-33
Projected 2013 playoff team? No
Top skill players
|Sept. 13||at Winfield|
|Sept. 20||at Collegiate|
|Oct. 4||at Wellington|
|Oct. 25||at El Dorado|
|Oct. 31||at Maize South|
Jake Smith on his team
What Circle does best: “It’s definitely our heart and how hard we work. We won’t ever give up.”
What has to improve: “Our size, definitely our numbers. We need to get more kids out.”