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Goessel Bluebirds seeking gridiron leaders

News editor

Goessel Bluebirds football coach Garrett Hiebert has experienced players. He has some talented players.

What he’s looking for are leaders.

“That’s one of the biggest things we have to replace every year,” Hiebert said. “You graduate some kids who’ve been around for four years and that’s a big hole on the field. We have a lot of experience returning, but we’re definitely going to need those kids to step up into leadership roles and roles on the field.”

The list of candidates begins with a talented quartet of experienced seniors.

Jordan Griffin has played several positions, and Hiebert has him slotted for defensive end and tight end. Carson Sterk will see more time at linebacker on defense and will fill in at guard on offense. Nathaniel Schmucker will anchor the middle of the offensive line at center and play on the defensive line. Playing behind those three on defense will be defensive back Jay Schmidt, who will play tight end as well.

“We don’t have a lot of experience returning at the skill positions, but a lot of returners up front on o-line and d-line,” Hiebert said. “That’s not a bad problem to have.”

That opens up opportunities for players who substituted on varsity and others with junior varsity experience, Hiebert said. Goessel’s style of offense can be tweaked to take advantage of whoever emerges.

“In eight-man football we’re pretty flexible,” he said. “We really don’t change our offense year to year, but we might emphasize different parts. We like to spread the field out, get the defense moving around to see if we can create some running lanes that way, and we like to throw the ball as well.”

Hiebert said it was likely the Bluebirds will experiment on defense in early games.

“We’ll have to have a few kids play some different positions than they have in the past,” he said.

Too many questions remain unsettled for Hiebert to make any early-season predictions about how his team will fare.

“One or two guys per team can make a big difference,” he said. “We should have some games that are certainly winnable, and games that are challenges as well.”

More important for Hiebert than teaching football skills is giving his players opportunities to develop and mature as people.

“We’re not out here to prepare a kid to go to the NFL,” he said. “We get kids year to year that go play college football. and that’s great, but that’s not our only focus out here. Some of these kids in less than a year are going to be out going to college, working, whatever it might be. Myself and all of our other coaches hope that some of the things we teach them through sports help them throughout life.”

The Bluebirds will open the season with a Sept. 1 road game at Wakefield.

Last modified Aug. 30, 2017

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