Dave Fennewald isn’t exactly shying away from the lofty goals the Mulvane football team has devised for this season.
“I’d be lying to you if we didn’t have high expectations,” Fennewald said.
Mulvane is no stranger to winning in the regular season in Fennewald’s 20 years coaching, but the success hasn’t translated to the postseason outside of a trip to the quarterfinals in 2007.
The conditions — one of the most athletic senior classes to pass through Mulvane combined with experienced juniors — call for a season that continues into November.
“We really want to make our last year together the best year we’ve had,” senior Ty Redington said. “We have 18 seniors united in trying to play football on Thanksgiving.”
Fennewald believes improving those chances rests on a two-platoon system, despite its initial unpopular reaction in Mulvane.
“I think people in town thought I was crazy,” Fennewald said. “But our practices are more efficient this way. If you take a kid and all he does is that one thing, whether it’s offensively or defensively, every day for three months, they tend to get pretty good at that one thing.”
That’s been the case on the defensive side of the ball, where Mulvane has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in recent seasons. Seven starters are back this season, most in the front seven, spearheaded by Zach Haynes roaming the middle at linebacker.
Fennewald’s spread passing attack has thrived on creating mismatches, and should do so once again this season with Redington engineering the attack at quarterback. He’s already developed a favorite target, fellow senior Nolan Smith.
But it’s no mystery to Fennewald why the Wildcats are still on the threshold of postseason success, and not past it.
“I know you still win games running the football,” Fennewald said. “If we’re in a critical spot and it’s third-and-3, I’d rather know we can run the ball and get a first down than hope we can get it passing.”