By RON PRESTON
Friday night begins the 2013 high football season for both the Abilene Cowboys and the Chapman Fighting Irish.
Abilene begins the season with a long bus ride to play the defending class 3A State Champion Scott City Beavers to complete the contracted home and home agreement of last year.
In 2012, the Beavers came to Abilene and delivered a 51-20 thumping of the Cowboys. That team was senior laden with talented and experienced players.
“Thank goodness Scott City graduated last years class,” Abilene Coach Jeff Geist said, “ Absolutely no knock to this years team but, that was an incredible group.
“Of course they are still Scott City and they have a great tradition and will play with great intensity and pride.”
Scott City Coach Glenn O’Neil has his 2013 team pre-ranked at 13th in Kansas by Maxpreps Sports.
“It is our hope to bring enough pressure on their newbies in which we can create turnovers and get great field position,” Geist said. “Maybe we can rattle their cage early and get a little doubt in their minds.
“Offensively, we need to create some running lanes. Our O line needs to get low and move their feet. We are not where we need to be with this group.
“I am hoping that this week the realization of the seasons kicks in and we focus more on technique.”
Asked if the coaching staff had made any changes to the depth chart after their scrimmage last week, coach Geist said, “Not any changes scheme wise. We have a couple of personnel moves. We will develop some rotations with some players and positions.”
“With the temperatures up, rotating players will be important,” he said. “Going in to this game, we have 17 players filling 22 spots. We are getting close to having a platoon system in which we can keep the kids fresh.”
The Irish begin their 2013 campaign against the Rossville Dawgs who finished 11-2 last year and lost to Silver Lake 35-14 in sub-state action.
“We feel that Rossville traditionally is a very good football team and we know we will have our work cut out for us on Friday,” Coach Trevor Williams said.
“With the coaching change at Rossville we are not real sure what we might see but we are confident that we will be ready to get out and compete and play our seasoned opener,” Williams said.
Derrick Hammes replaces Steve Buhler as the Dawgs head coach, a team that defeated Chapman 28-12 a season ago.
“We have had some good practices and were pleased with some of the things we saw from our scrimmage last week,” coach Williams added. “Some of the more glaring things that we feel we needed to address after the scrimmage were still our conditioning and our footwork.
“We did not change anything much at all, other than a few personnel changes but felt that we just need to continue to work on the details of the game,” coach Williams said.
“We have really focused on the fundamentals and being able to execute at a faster pace,” he concluded.