Rose Hill’s senior football players have heard comments regarding their class for years, even dating back to their time in youth football.
“People have said we have the worst class,” senior linebacker Paco Gloria said. “But we’ve played together for so long, and this year we’re coming together as a family, and we’re jelling the way we need to jell.
“It’s kind of awesome to take a step back and see how far we’ve come as a class of seniors. It’s definitely annoying to hear those comments, but we took it as, ‘They’re going to doubt us, but we’ll do everything to prove them wrong and prove to the state of Kansas that we’re a dominant football program.’ ”
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Rose Hill, which won the Class 4A title in 2011, has gone 4-6 the past two seasons, the first time it has had consecutive losing seasons since 1998 and 1999. The Rockets had losing records from 1990-99, but then 11 winning seasons from 2000-11.
Gloria and the rest of the Rockets’ senior class aren’t interested in waiting until 2015 for Rose Hill to return to winning. They want it now.
“They were the team that didn’t ever win,” Rose Hill second-year coach Ray Boese said. “To be in the situation that they can do great things, they’re feeling pretty special.”
Rose Hill won three of its final four games, and quarterback Brett Bonar had nearly 2,000 passing yards, while Griffin McBride caught 40 passes for 673 yards.
Bonar, a junior, was pressed into action when the expected quarterback, Austin Waddell, transferred to Collegiate shortly before the season.
“Brett knows he can throw to five guys, and he usually connects,” Boese said. “… He likes to throwt he long ball, but we’d like to work to get the ball out faster. He’s a real competitive kid, and you give him the ability to be a star, and he’ll step up and be a star.”
The backfield is young with McBride, a sophomore, and junior Jake Rodman at running back.
McBride is a phenomenal athlete with a quickness and ability to juke that is tough to corral.
As for Rodman, Boese is planning on him “showing us great things.… He hits holes in a way that we haven’t seen here at Rose Hill. He sees that little window, and he’ll get to that window. If the O-line keeps that block, he’ll use his speed.
“We can be a great team if our O-line does what I think they can do.”
A LOOK AT ROSE HILL
Coach: Ray Boese, second season, 4-6
League: AV-CTL Division III
Last season: 4-6, lost in first round of 4A playoffs
Last five seasons: 38-18
Projected 2014 playoff team? Yes
TOP SKILL PLAYERS
|Sept. 5||at Collegiate|
|Sept. 19||at El Dorado|
|Oct. 3||at Buhler|
|Oct. 17||at Wellington|
|Oct. 30||at Mulvane|
Paco Gloria on his team
What Rose Hill does well: “We’ve built a chemistry that won’t be broken, no matter what happens. We’re doing a lot of things inside the organization. We’re doing some amazing things.”
What has to improve: “I’d probably say defensive line. That’s really not even something that was weak last year, so it just needs a couple tweaks here and there. They’ll be an amazing group of guys.”