Goessel High School football team will have a lot of holes to fill after last year’s seniors graduated. However, Alex Ross brings experience to the offensive line.
“There are a lot of new faces on the varsity team,” Ross said. “We have some size, but not much depth along the line.”
Ross returns for his senior season and plays offense and defense.
Neal Brubaker will guide the team from the quarterback position after passing for 1,100 yards last year. The 5-foot-11-inch senior is expecting a great year.
“We will have to learn to play together as a team. I have a lot of confidence with John Berkholz in the backfield as a runner or receiver,” Brubaker said.
Brubaker exploded with his passing game last year after playing in the shadows of some great athletes at Goessel.
Berkholz has been in the Goessel backfield for three years and hopes to use his sprinter speed to get in on a number of scores for the Bluebird squad his senior year.
“It sure feels like things are going well after a few days of practice,” Berkholz said.
Scoring 15 touchdowns last year will be a challenge to repeat for Berkholz, so finding the rhythm with a maturing offensive line will be key for this year.
Jake Smucker will play his senior year in a defensive back position. After playing as a substitute at the beginning of last season, Smucker blossomed into a starter on defense during the 8-3 season in 2009.
“We have a lot of new faces on defense this year also, but we are starting to come together,” Smucker said.
The coaches expect Smucker to also be a wide receiver on offense.
Joe Campbell and Drake Sterk return as linemen for their junior years. Trey Schmidt will fill in at quarterback and be in the backfield on defense. Alex Schmidt, Nic Buller, and Tyler Schulz are expected to add to the success of this year’s team.
Coach Justin Coup expects the Bluebirds to be strong in the offensive backfield and the defensive backfield. Their weakness may be in the line as players learn new roles for the season.
Coup is beginning his eighth year as Goessel head coach and will be assisted this year by Ryan Janzen and Joe Biggs.
The Bluebirds will be in a tough, seven-team district. District teams expected to give Goessel stiff competition are Little River, Claflin, and Peabody-Burns.
Coach Coup agrees with the seniors.
“Things seem to be going well in practice, but we will find out for sure when we get on the field with Wakefield,” he said.
The season began Friday with a 66-28 loss to Wakefield.