Goddard coach Scott Vang projects confidence in his defensive unit heading into the 2013 season. With eight returning starters, it’s a natural step.
Vang’s optimism developed even as he watched the Lions allow 35.4 points per game last fall.
“We’ll always try to be a defense-first team,” Vang said. “We felt like the times we struggled last year, it wasn’t because of scheme. We just got out-athleted in some games.”
More than 60 percent of the points Goddard allowed in a 4-6 season came against four teams that won state playoff games, including Class 5A champion Bishop Carroll. As the Lions prepare for their second season under Vang, he believes his familiar personnel will be more competitive against high-powered offenses.
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“The sophomores and juniors who played are better athletes now,” Vang said. “They’re very coachable and we’ll be improved up front.”
Goddard returns defensive starters on the line, in the secondary and at linebacker, where senior Beau Fisher earned second-team all-league honors last season.
The Lions face more challenges on offense. Tight end Austin Chippeaux, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound senior, was a first-team all-league selection a year ago. Chippeaux and senior Drew Burns will be part of a heavily retooled line blocking for senior quarterback Tucker Vang, the coach’s nephew, and running backs Fisher and Dakota Driskill.
“I’ve always liked to use the tight end because it makes the defense declare a side,” Vang said. “Austin has got really good hands and he’s fast enough to run seam routes and run by a safety.”
Tucker Vang, who started for the Lions at safety last season, is replacing Collin Nevil, who threw more than 200 passes a year ago.
“What we do will definitely depend on what other teams’ defenses bring to the table,” he said. “Collin was more in the pocket and a precision type of guy. I do more play action, rollouts and bootlegs. That’s kind of my forte.”
Coach: Scott Vang, second season, 4-6
League: AV-CTL Division II
Last season: 4-6, lost in 5A first round
Last five seasons: 13-34
Projected 2013 playoff team? Yes
Top skill players
|Sept. 13||at Valley Center|
|Sept. 20||Andover Central|
|Sept. 27||at Maize|
|Oct. 4||Maize South|
|Oct. 18||at Liberal|
|Oct. 25||at Carroll|
Austin Chippeaux on his team
What Goddard does well: “We’re getting more used to the whole split in schools (with Eisenhower). When we did that, we had to play a lot of young guys, particularly on defense. It’ll take some work, but I think we can be better because of that.”
What has to improve: “We’re pretty inexperienced on offense, and those of us who have been through it will have to encourage those other guys. For me, there was a lot of things I really had to think about while the game went on. I feel like I’ve got to a point where there’s less thinking and more doing.”