Coach: Matt Biehler, ninth season, 77-14
League: Central Plains League
Last season: 7-2
Returning starters: 14
Offense: Single Wing
Schedule: Sept. 1, Belle Plaine; Sept. 8, at Independent; Sept. 15, at Douglass; Sept. 22, Medicine Lodge; Sept. 29, at Trinity; Oct. 6, Mulvane; Oct. 13, at Garden Plain; Oct. 20, Cheney; Oct. 26, Chaparral.
Projected record: 9-0
Top returning players
Three keys to the season
1. For the first time in nearly a decade, the Cardinals missed the state playoffs last year, and much of the roster remembers it. Seven starters return on each side of the ball.
2. Many of the returners are three-year starters ready for their senior year. Two seniors (Skyler Kunz and Matthew Lange) return to the offensive line along with junior Daniel Becker, who started last year as a sophomore.
3. Terhune and Jones return to the backfield, where they will need to lead the offense again. The two combined for more than 1,400 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns in nine games. Terhune also threw five touchdown passes.
Five questions with coach Matt Biehler
1. Last year you guys started the season 7-0, but missed the playoffs. How hungry are these returning kids for a trip to the playoffs now?
“The kids understand how tough our district we are in. And then you throw in the fact that we play a tough, non-league team like Mulvane, and we’ve just got to be really focused and take it one game per week. I feel like the kids had a really productive summer and they’re really excited about what they have coming back and what we have a chance to get done this season.”
2. How good can this line be with so much returning talent?
“We ended up going to a lineman challenge this summer at Collegiate and we ended up winning that, so that was pretty nice for our guys. That helps with the kids with confidence and they know we have almost everybody returning. We have a few spots to fill with some young kids who will have to step up in that new role. But senior Matthew Lange has been a great leader for us and then you have guys like Daniel Becker, Skyler Kunz back. The line will be anchored by those guys and we’re really excited to see how this line comes together.”
3. Colton Terhune throws more than a typical quarterback at Conway Springs does. What does he add to this offense?
“Colton really is a dual threat for us back there and he’s going to make defenses worry about his arm and his legs. But he’s still got to work on that ability to make the proper decision. And then we have Riley Akiu coming back, who is 6-foot and 210 pounds, and he’s really going to carry the load for us. We also have Trenton Jones back, so we have around 2,500 rushing yards coming back in our backfield. We’re pretty excited about that. We’ve looked pretty good this summer.”
4. How is the defense looking?
“Our defensive line is really exciting. Most of the same kids that play on the offensive line will play defensive line for us. Matt Lange, Daniel Becker, Christian Hedrick. And then we have Riley Akiu back at linebacker with Trenton Jones at safety and Chase Blane at cornerback. Those guys are really important for us and they’re helping our younger guys along. We have some new guys learning the position, but we’re confident that they’re going to be able to step up.”
5. What’s the one key this season if Conway Springs is going to reach its potential?
“It’s like with everybody: we’ve got to stay healthy. We have to avoid injuries and continue to focus one week at a time and not look forward to the next week or the next game or to the end of the season. We’ve got to build that depth early on in the season and that’s going to help us achieve at the pinnacle of our season.”