Varsity Kansas

Football 2015: Rose Hill turns to new quarterback (+video)

The Rose Hill Rockets open Sept. 4 by hosting Collegiate.
The Rose Hill Rockets open Sept. 4 by hosting Collegiate. The Wichita Eagle

Small-town football often requires much of certain athletes. Rose Hill is no exception as the football program heads into another season.

This year’s roster will feature a senior stepping into the quarterback role for the first time, a starting receiver who wasn’t playing football four years ago and a couple of sophomores bearing much of the rushing duties.

“There’s a lot of unknowns for us, but we’re excited,” coach Ray Boese said. “What we’re dealing with is we’re trying to find out who we are. We don’t really know how good we can be yet.”

Ross Nolan is the senior moving over to quarterback for the first time. He initially was plugged into the spot in the offseason because someone had to do it. The need was there. But by the end of the summer, Nolan had embraced the roll enough to fight for it when the coaches considered going in another direction.

“He came to us and said, ‘Coach, I’ve worked my butt off to learn the hardest position on the field. I want to play quarterback. I’ve walked all summer; give me the chance,’ ” Boese said. “He wants to be there. It’s not that he has to do it; now he wants to do it. Right now Ross is the man.”

One of Nolan’s targets will be Eric Tinkler, a senior who didn’t join the football program until he was a sophomore – and even then he didn’t look the part.

“He didn’t play as a freshman and didn’t look like an athlete,” Boese said. “But he has worked insanely to be a fast kid with great hands. He’s the fastest kid on our team.”

Senior Skyler Henry, who will also run cross country this fall, joined the football team this season and is now one of the team leaders as a starting cornerback and wide receiver.

“This offseason you see guys giving 100 percent every day,” Tinkler said. “It’s a really close bond, and you see us holding each other accountable.”

A combination of sophomores – J.J. Carney and Chandler Flanagan – will take over the rushing duties. They’ll have experience in front of them with four-year starter Brody Hingst at center and senior Christian Polk at tackle.