Cory Brack discovered something quickly after he took the job as the Cheney football coach in May.
That 40-minute commute to Wichita South he thought he’d left behind? That wasn’t necessarily time he would be getting back despite the mere 90 seconds it would now take to drive from his home to his office — Brack and his wife have lived in Cheney the entire time he coached at South, moving there to be close to family.
“That’s the thing about coaching here, the community support is really awesome,” Brack said. “It also means a two-minute trip to the grocery store usually turns into about 30 minutes.”
Brack already appears to have rejuvenated a program with its third coach in three years.
It also doesn’t hurt that he inherits 11 returning starters, including a handful of All-Central Plains League picks.
“The effort from these kids, led by the seniors, has just been tremendous,” Brack said. “You ask them to do something and it gets done no questions asked.”
The Cardinals’ open with a winnable spate of three games — Belle Plaine, Independent and Wichita Trinity — before getting into a brutal stretch where they face Garden Plain and Conway Springs back to back then finish the season with back-to-back games against Buhler and Andale.
“(Brack) has totally turned around the mentality toward weights and how we work in the weight room,” senior wide receiver-defensive back Jared Giefer said. “It’s been better than what it has been before since the moment he got here.”
The Cardinals have a considerable amount of weight up front, which will be key with a new starter at quarterback — either senior Austin Martin (5-foot-10, 160 pounds) or junior Tyler Amsink (6-3, 166). Brack said Martin and Amsink would battle for the starting job in camp.
The Cheney line Martin or Amsink will play behind is anchored by senior 6-2, 290-pound senior Clayton Huffard, who is being recruited by several MIAA schools. Gabe Schomaker (6-3, 300) and Tanner Wulf (6-3, 270) also return up front.
“(Huffard) has had a great summer, he went to some camps and performed really well,” Brack said. “I think this year will tell him where he fits best as far as college. But he’s put in the work.
“Hopefully we can teach these kids something this year and hopefully, along the way, win some games.”