INMAN— The Inman High School football team is looking to turn the page after a winless season last year. In the past nine months, the Teutons have been training in the weight room and on the field, proving themselves that they are more than the just a winless team. It's a whole new season for head coach Lance Sawyer and his returning starters as winning the district could be the turnaround the Teutons are looking for after a 0-9 season.
"Our growth has been outstanding, and we are ready to see results on the Football field," Sawyer said. "Our goal is to get back to the playoffs. We have a determined group of upperclassmen that have made tremendous strides in the past 9 months. We have confidence that a district title is not out of reach."
Luckily for the Teutons, 18 total starters are back. That includes their starting quarterback Payton Froese, Inman's top passers in program history. Sawyer wants to prioritize the run-game more compared to last season. Returning on the backfield is their leading rusher Nate Shober and speedster Connor Brown. Michael Bledsoe, described as a work out warrior, could also get in the mix at running back, as Sawyer expects him to have a breakout season. With all three backs returning, the running game could be the strong point in Inman's offense. All-league wide receiver/linebacker Jack Doerksen and Jaxson Eddy were the Teutons leading receivers on offense and tacklers on defense. Look for these two to be Froese's primary targets. All-leaguer Mason Thiessen will also see both sides of the field as a tight end and defensive end.
Sawyer also wants to focus on stopping the run, and it starts up front. Payton Larson and Wyatt Meier will be co-anchors in both the offensive line and defensive line.
"We must get better up front on both sides of the ball. Running the ball and stopping the run will be our main priority in 2018," Sawyer said. "We get back a majority of our 0-Line and d-Line so we will be counting on that experience paying dividends."
"Our players will be fast and athletic," Sawyer continued. "Throw in the fact that we are as strong as any team I have coached. I expect that we will be as physical as any team I have had. We have experience, each player saw some varsity experience last season."
The Teutons will be going back to basics as they prepare for their home opener against Belle Plaine High School. Despite a losing season, this is an opportunity for Inman to start fresh and start progressing. According to Sawyer, the Teutons are all in and focused on this season.
"We need to work on making sure our offense and defense are as sharp as possible going into the game vs Belle Plaine," Sawyer said. "Our commitment to fundamentals will be necessary for us to have a good season. We didn’t have much go in the positive direction last season, but it has led our athletes to understand that we have to be determined to see improvement. We have a group of athletes determined to be better individuals."
Aug. 31 — Belle Plaine
Sept. 7 — at Trinity
Sept. 14 — Remington
Sept. 21 — Marion
Sept. 28 — at Ell Saline
Oct. 5 — Sublette
Oct. 12 — at Meade
Oct. 19 — at Sedgewick
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports