Varsity Kansas

Football 2015: Experienced defense should help Goddard (+video)

Keyshawn Harrington, left, catches a touchdown pass for Goddard last season.
Keyshawn Harrington, left, catches a touchdown pass for Goddard last season. Correspondent

Goddard has made the playoffs in two of Scott Vang’s first three seasons as coach, but it has come with a combined record of 9-20.

The Lions don’t appreciate being viewed as a lucky benefactor of a soft district. They want to be viewed as legitimate contenders, and they’re setting the expectation at producing the first winning season at Goddard since 2007.

“We’re tired of failing and we’re tired of losing,” senior Luke Vang said. “We want more wins and you can tell everybody is focused on that.”

Since Scott Vang took over, he hasn’t hesitated playing underclassmen with hopes that the experience gained early in their careers would lead to future success.

The future is almost here, as the majority of Goddard’s seniors and juniors this season have at least a year of experience. Some will be four-year letter winners.

“We’ve gotten closer every year,” Scott Vang said. “We’ve been playing a lot of young kids and we haven’t been able to quite get over the hump. But now some of them have filled out and we’re starting to close the gap.”

The defense, bolstered by that junior class, is expected to be a strength with eight starters back. Dayton Driskill and Cale Davidson, both juniors, return on the line, while Luke Vang and Corey Atkins (linebackers) and Kyle Young and Tate Vang (secondary) also are back.

Scott Vang was impressed with their performance this summer at a team camp in Hutchinson.

“We’ve gone up there before and kind of got thumped on, but this summer they held their own,” Vang said. “They’re just a lot more athletic this year. We have a lot of young and lean guys, so I think we’re going to be able to do some pretty good things.”

The question resides on offense, which will undergo an identity change with Young moving to quarterback to a receiver. That opened up a competition between a pair of sophomores, Vang said, that is still not resolved.

Regardless of the signal-caller, Goddard will remain a run-oriented team. But there are still questions that Vang wants answered.

“I feel good about the guys that we have on offense, we just don’t have a take-it-to-the-house kind of kid,” Vang said. “At least not a proven one. We may have some of those kids, but we’ll just have to see.”