Varsity Kansas

Football 2015: Talented line hopes to clear way for Clearwater (+video)

Who will throw, run, and catch the football for Clearwater this season remains to be seen.

Who will block for them, however, is not.

Joe Daniels, Curtis Rylant, and Brady Helton all return to the line to give the Indians certainty as their offense as a whole enters as an unknown.

“We have some question marks this season,” coach Dirk Ankerholz said, “but not up front. Those kids should be pretty good.”

Clearwater’s offense graduated the majority of its production. The holdovers are junior Collin Ellis, who will split time at running back and outside linebacker, and senior Max Whetstone at receiver.

Finding a quarterback and another running back are the top priorities for Ankerholz early this season. He thinks he has a good candidate at quarterback in senior Trent Cotton, while he seems prepared to use a committee in the backfield.

“We have to get a whole lot of new kids adjusted to the speed of the game,” Ankerholz said. “We’re really going to rely on that offensive line to get things done up front and get us a few holes open and make some first downs.”

The defense should once again be resilient with six returners back. Brandon Bates (end) will team with Daniels and Rylant to make a formidable defensive line, while Ellis, T.J. Layton, and Bryce Gibbs solidify the back seven.

After losing its first five games last season, Clearwater is hoping to carry over the momentum from its playoff run that featured wins in four of the final six games.

“We’re trying to build upon that momentum and kind of use it to catapult us into this season,” Ankerholz said. “I don’t really know what to expect from this season. It’s really going to depend on how the young kids come around and how quickly they come around.”