The first sign of change for Southeast football during the summer was the scene in senior offensive lineman Tanner Schartz’s basement.
“Now the coaches meetings are over at my house,” said Schartz, whose father, Mike, replaced Chris Asmussen as coach in June after Asmussen was hired as the Buffaloes’ athletic director.
It will be Mike Schartz’s third run as a head coach after previous stops at Dodge City and Campus. But unlike his path to both of those jobs, he enters this one from within after serving as Asmussen’s defensive coordinator the last two seasons.
“I know what the challenges are here,” said Schartz, who takes the lead role after a 1-8 season in which Southeast was shut out four times. “Instead of someone telling me their perception of what we have coming in, I feel like I have a pretty good idea.”
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Southeast graduated a hard-nosed running back in Antonio Adams, but has skill position players with experience like quarterback Cameron Bond and running back Ira Hines. The Buffs hope the addition of senior wide receiver D’Andre Franklin, who missed last season with an injury, can boost an offense that was limited to 61 points last season.
“It’s not always what you know as coaches but what can your kids learn,” Schartz said. “We’ve revamped how we call plays and kind of simplified things in that area.”
Injuries played a part in Southeast’s offensive struggles a year ago. Tanner Schartz, who played guard, dislocated a kneecap in the second game and missed the rest of the season.
Such injuries forced the Buffs to rely on younger players, and the struggles at the varsity level trickled down to junior varsity, as Southeast was challenged to be competitive.
“We’ve got to find a way to be in ballgames in the fourth quarter,” Mike Schartz said. “We let ballgames get away from us early, and that’s tough on you mentally.
“Southeast is loaded with history, but our last four classes have graduated without a winning record. We’ve got to work to change that, and it starts by focusing one day at a time.”