The Prairie View Buffaloes not only have big holes to fill up front but big expectations as well.
The inaugural Eastern Kansas Sports Pioneer League Football Coaches Poll awarded the Buffaloes the unanimous pick to win the league.
“It’s nice always to be recognized, but we have not proven anything to anyone yet. It puts a huge target on us early on in the season, and we’re going to get everyone’s best game,” said Buffaloes head coach Kyle Littrell.
The 3rd year head coach of Prairie View has taken the team form a 2-7 record in his first year with no playoff appearance to 8-2 last season and 1-1 in the playoffs last year.
However, that top spot doesn’t come without its challenges.
The Buffaloes will be replacing their entire offensive line, but have the dual running back threat of senior Hunter Boone and junior Otis Jacobs to lean on for offensive power.
“We lose all 6 from tackle to tackle plus tight end, which is important to our offensive scheme. There are kids that should be playing, but if they’re not committed, then I don’t want them.” Said the passionate coach.
This loss of size will force the Buffaloes to change up their offensive style a bit.
“We won’t be to line up and pound people like we did last year. We want to be a smash-mouth team.”
Coach Littrell is leaning on his running backs not just for touchdowns, but leadership as well.
“Otis will be a junior, and he was a starter last year. The great thing about them is they become juniors and then seniors. He struggled but kept a positive attitude, and that carried over to the weight room.”
Littrell noted Otis’ infection work ethic and hopes that catches on with the underclassman.
“You can’t run the kid enough to make him tired. We’re gonna lean on him for blocking duties and going to have opportunities to make a name for himself.”
Hunter Boone, who coach Littrell described as a “sparkplug,” will also play a critical role for the Buffaloes.
“Hunter – he had a 1,000 yard with 9 touchdowns. When you say he’s a FB player, that’s who you envision. He’s thickened himself up to shoulder the load not only to carry but also bring the blocks. He’s one of the most physical kids I’ve been around in a while.”
Last year as a junior, Boone carried the rock 141 times for 1,141 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Another critical piece in offensive power that’s returning for Prairie View is quarterback Justin Scott. The senior, who stands at 5’11 and checks in at 180lbs., recorded 504 yards rushing and 453 yards passing with 7 touchdowns.
“My biggest thing about him is I think I’d like to make him see better decisions; on-time, on-target. “He has taken the steps forward to get strong in the arm and shoulder. He can throw it as long as he understands the accuracy is important.”
The second-year starting quarterback, along with Boone and Otis, is the trio coach Littrell is expecting a lot of leadership from this year.
“He’s definitely a leader of the team, he does everything right on and off the field. No moment is too big for him.”
The Buffaloes posted a 6 game winning streak, including a 27-7 win in the 1st round of the playoffs over Caney Valley, before being eliminated by a speedy Parsons Vikings team.
Prairie View will host Santa Fe Trail and Galena in non-district play, but find themselves on the road for 3 of the 5 district games, including traveling to Burlington.
“The first 3 games prepare us for the district games. We were fortunate to be disciplined enough to rack up a six-game win streak (last season), but it’s one game at a time.”
Despite being on the road during district play, coach Littrell feels he’s prepared his team for the challenge.
“I don’t care if it’s home away or on the road dirt it doesn’t matter you’ll play either way. ”
Be sure to visit the Prairie View Buffaloes football team page all season long for results and content about the team on Eastern Kansas Sports.