In just the third year participating in 8-Man football, the Herington Railers will be looking to develop offense as it heads in 2018 after finishing 3-6 last year.
Head coach Tom Flax, in his sixth season at Herington, will need to develop offensive leaders to compensate for graduation last spring.
The Retailers return senior running back Mark Stokes (5-10, 170) and senior wingback Kevin Ansell (6-1, 165) who had 130 rushing yards and 214 receiving yards a year ago.
Flax expects to have senior Lucas Anschutz (5-9, 225) back to anchor the offensive line and along with Stokes provide the senior leadership for the team.
“I am looking for a big year from Mark Stokes and Lucas Anschutz,” Flax said. “These two players have had tremendous summers and have really grown into solid leaders. I am also looking for Connor LaRosa to step into a leadership role and provide a level head.”
Other offensive linemen returning for Herington should be junior Holden Coffman (5-11, 195), sophomore Kevin Gerhke (5-11, 195) and junior end Kayland Alexander (5-11, 155).
The Railers return the second and third best tacklers off their defensive unit from last season. Stokes is back at defensive end where he had 56 tackles and five sacks. Ansell returns at defensive back after securing 55 tackles and Anschutz will plug the middle at linebacker were he recorded 71 stops.
Coffman will see duty at defensive end next to Gerhke on the line and Alexander in the backfield.
Sophomore Connor LaRose (5-11, 150) should help the team this year at fullback along with junior Brody Brown (5-10, 145) at tailback and linebacker and freshman Easton Idleman (5-10, 155) may get some carries in the offensive backfield and slot in at linebacker on defense.
“Our strengths this year include we return several upperclassmen,” Flax said. “It’s our third year of the single wing system but depth could be an issue. We do not have a lot of size which could be a weakness also.”
Coach Flax believes Little River, Canton Galva and Solomon could be the top teams in the Wheat State League with everyone else really close behind.
The Railers open at home Friday, Aug. 31 against Chase County.
Herington High School
Football 2018 schedule
Aug. 31 vs. Chase County
Sep. 7 vs. Centre
Sep. 14 at Rural Vista – White City
Sep. 21 at Peabody
Sep. 28 vs. Goessell
Oct. 5 at Solomon
Oct. 12 at Bennington
Oct. 19 vs. Canton-Galva
Oct. 25 TBD