|Broncos ‘never gave up’ during tough 2010 football season|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 04 November 2010 18:35|
By Josh Sumner
The Wauneta Breeze
Heading into the 2010 football season, Head Coach Jesse West said he thought his team had a good chance to win three or four ball games.
West quickly re-calibrated his expectations after a 60-14 loss on the road to Cheylin, Kan., in the first game of the year, however.
“After some injuries and the jump start we got at the beginning of the year, things just didn’t add up,” said West. “It was a tough season, but these guys never gave up. Sometimes they wanted to, but they’re all fighters and they knew they couldn’t quit.”
Wauneta-Palisade bounced back in their second game of the year as they tallied their only victory of the season 34-28 over Potter-Dix. A six-game losing streak that included two shutouts followed as the Broncos were outscored 321-56, finishing 1-7 on the season.
West said that if he had to pinpoint the areas in which his team was at a disadvantage, he’d put the lack of team speed and experience as the top two on the list.
“I saw gigantic improvement this year during practices,” said West. “Kids who looked like they had no idea how to run through a rope in the first practice took great strides throughout the season.”
The young coach said he hopes a new emphasis on year-round training being implemented by Coach Troy Holmberg will help his players gain the competitive advantage they need. West stresses the importance of practicing ladder drills so his players can improve agility and foot-speed heading in 2011.
Experience, however, is an area in which West’s hands are tied.
“Most of the time you come in with at least a handful of seniors who have played all four years and started for a couple,” said West. “This year we didn’t have one except Colby Skelton. He did his part and really stepped up.”
Skelton was the only returning letter-winning senior this season. Out of three returning letter-winning juniors and one returning letter-winning sophomore, only Keagan Haarberg appeared in every game.
West remains hopeful that strong freshmen and sophomore classes will be the foundation of a solid Bronco football future. Thirteen of the 21 players on this year’s roster were freshmen and sophomores.
“Football is a character-building activity,” said West. “When these guys are juniors and seniors, they’ll have a lot more experience under their belt. And that’s what it takes sometimes — some athletes need a few years to develop.”
Coach West said he continues watching footage of games in an effort to analyze the season before he starts thinking about next year. He’ll keep the plays that worked and ditch several of those that didn’t. He said he is hopeful that next year’s team will have a better grasp of the fundamentals, allowing him to open the field and add to the team’s offensive playbook.
There’s plenty of reasons to be excited for next season, and it all begins with the aforementioned returning players. Include Coach West among those licking their chops.
Freshman Wes Anderjaska played well on both sides of the ball this season, stepping into the quarterback role late this year and playing smash-mouth defense all year.
“Coming in and starting the last few games, there was a lot of pressure on him,” said West. “He threw some picks toward the end of the season, but only a few of those were bad balls. He did his job well.”
Sophomores Jack McGraw and Logan Bischoff will be vital members of the team for the next few years, too. McGraw fought through injury all season and played “all over the field” according to West. Bischoff started at center every game this season, and will be looked to as an anchor in 2011, said West.
High praise for seniors
This year’s four seniors, Chris Bartels, Caige Hackney, Ricky Martin and Colby Skelton will be missed next year, said West. Despite the fact that a few of them had very little football experience, their leadership and overall athletic prowess was vital this season, said West.
“Each of them played a big part this year” said West.
Broncos Head Coach Jesse West, above at far right, stands among his team with the moon hanging over his head during the Broncos’ final game of the season at Medicine Valley. (Wauneta Breeze Photos | Josh Sumner)
The Wauneta-Palisade football team gets fired up after being introduced during their first home game of the season against Haxtun, Colo.