The Highland football team is looking to turn youth into experienced players quickly.
The Huskies return their quarterback Kody Wood for his senior season under center. Last year he threw for 1,175 yards, six interceptions and 13 touchdowns. Running game wise the Huskies lose their top two backs to graduation, so Jesse Hootman comes in as the top returner with 386 yards last year and five touchdowns, and the biggest hit to the offense for Highland is their entire receiving core graduated last year, which means Wood will be looking at new targets.
On defense the Huskies lose five of their top six tacklers, bringing back only Jesse Hootman who had 81 tackles last year. In the secondary it is the same story, as Highland graduated their three guys who all had three interceptions.
On special teams they will need a new plan for the kicking game as Cameron Vinsand graduated, the good news is they do have two players coming back in Brian Garcia and Jake Yeggy who punted twice last year and can take over that position.
Highland head coach Tony Johnson said his defense should be okay in term of numbers, but there may be no set roster for that side of the ball.
“Week to week defensively we could have different personnel out there, it all depends on who we’re playing, but we saw some younger guys step up and get the job done, and with that we went to a different schedule for practices because we can’t have two-a-days any more.” Johnson said. “We’re hoping that the transition into our opening week practice to our game week practice is pretty smooth transition. We’re excited about what we have to get done, and what we have to get accomplished but at the same tone we are looking forward to the hard work we have to put in.”
Highland starts this Friday at Iowa Valley, and then hosts Central Lee on September 6 and New London on September 13. The Huskies then hit the road to play WMU on September 20 and Lone Tree for their rivalry on September 27.
Highland will then finish up their season with Van Buren on October 4, travel to Danville October 11, finish their home games on October 18 against Lisbon and finish the regular season all together at WACO October 25.