Demons look to run the ball against Pioneers
By: John Zetmeir
When the Dodge City High School football team takes the field for its first game of the season against Wichita West, many Red Demons will be making their first ever varsity start.
Not only will it be many of the players first varsity start, it will be the first time that they are dipping their toes into the pool of high school football at the varsity level.
“There is a lot of unknowns there but it’s exciting,” Dodge City head coach Dave Foster said. “This is my 20th year as a head coach and I’ve never gone into an opening game with as many kids that are new to a varsity game field and that’s exciting in a lot of ways because this is their opportunity to shine.”
One of the primary spots that Dodge City will have a new starter this season is at the quarterback position. After being geared more towards a pass heavy offense over the last few years, the Red Demons will get back to being a run-first team this fall.
Led by junior quarterback Dawson Williams, the Red Demons will have a signal caller whose best attribute is his ability to run the football.
“He brings back that running mentality,” Foster said. “Running is his strength, passing is not but that doesn’t mean he can’t throw the ball. We’ll find out. He’s a very adequate passer.”
Williams will have a veteran group blocking for him as seniors Thomas Sanchez and Justin Schowengerdt lead the way for Dodge City’s offensive line, which could be the team’s biggest strength in 2016.
“We’re big up front and we like our offensive line a lot and that means you’re going to run the ball behind them,” Foster said. “That’s the challenge. We’re going to find out how good we are up there.”
By the end of the 2015 season, nearly eight Red Demons were asked to play both offense and defense. Fatigue played a major factor in all four of Dodge City’s losses last fall.
This year, while many players lack experience, Foster feels that his team has the depth to play 11 different players on both sides of the ball.
“We’ve explained that to the kids,
” Foster said. “We told them that you won’t feel the fatigue that our kids have traditionally felt when we had seven or eight kids going both ways.”
Much like the Red Demons, Wichita West will have many new faces from last year’s team who beat Dodge City 48-41 a year ago. The Pioneers countered Dodge City’s pass-heavy offense with a traditional runninggameandoutscored the Red Demons 36-20 in the second half.
The only player who scored one of the 13 touchdowns in last year’s game that will be on the field for this year’s season opener is Dodge City senior running back Tylor Garcia who scored two of the Red Demons first three touchdowns in last year’s matchup.
Even though Foster admitted that he does not know too much about this year’s Pioneer team, the Red Demons are prepared for a lot of the same things that they saw last year from West.
“Honestly, we’re going in blind,” Foster said. “Most people who are remote like us, we don’t exchange film prior to the first game. We just go play football.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.