Olpe saw yet another successful campaign in 2018. Consistency has been key to the program that is in contention in the playoffs year in and year out. A stout defense helped the Eagles cruise through the season with five shutouts. Heading into the state title game against Smith Center, Olpe had only surrendered 66 points on the season. Unfortunately, the dam could not hold up against a powerful Smith Center attack in a 59-0 loss, the worst loss in program history.
Olpe will look to replace FB/LB Blaine Hinrichs who led the team in rushing touchdowns a year ago with 17, even though an injury kept him out the entirety of the playoffs. Jose Garcia was an all-state selection as an Offensive Guard. Carter Cox and Camden Hoelting each were All-State Honorable Mentions. Hoelting was the Eagle’s top target in the passing game, leading the team in receptions with 31 and scoring seven times.
The Eagles return plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. Senior Quarterback Colby Hoelting will be in his third year leading the team. Hoelting surpassed over 1300 yards of total offense with 20 total touchdowns. Joining him in the backfield will be leading rusher Kyndon Robert. Robert, a junior, rushed for 1054 yards on the ground last year. The Eagles will return three of their five starters on the offensive line but lack the depth if an injury occurs.
Defensively, Olpe will be bringing back both cornerbacks, Dawson McCarthy, and Jordan Barnard. The duo caused five interceptions in 2018. Sophomore Ted Skalsky was thrown in the mix at linebacker when Hinrichs went down and finished the season with 58 total tackles.
Chris Schmidt enters his 11th season(109-32) as the head coach for Olpe. Assistants Terry Smith and Todd Robert rejoin the coaching staff for 2019. Robert is in his second year, after leading the junior high squad for over twenty years. The Eagles will continue to run their I-Back formation on offense, but Schmidt is poised to implement a well-balanced approach. Defensively, the Eagles will run a 5-2 base.
We sat down with Coach Schmidt before practice last week and asked a few questions.
Sek-sports.com:Coach, you eclipsed the 100 win total last year, becoming only the second coach in Olpe’s history to do so(Mike Plunkett 1985-2006). Going back to your first year in 2007, did you imagine you would have the success you have had?
Chris Schmidt: During the first half of the first game no way(Olpe trailed Northern Heights 28-0 after 1st quarter, before losing 41-26), but things seemed to change after that. It takes a great support system and quality players. I’ve been fortunate to have all that.
SEKS: A trip to Hays last year resulted in a 59-0 loss to Smith Center. During camp, this summer, pictures of the score were posted throughout the practice field. With the loss, what motivation comes out of it going in 2019?
CS: We just want our kids to know wherever we are at, we can still improve. We always need to continue to push each other to get better. Those signs will continue to be with us all year.
SEKS: Being independent can have its scheduling nightmares for a coach and athletic director like yourself, but how beneficial has it been for Olpe to play as an independent over the years playing much larger schools on their schedule?
CS: Our first few weeks of the season have really helped us over the last few years. Our opponents have been solid, and it shows us right away where we must improve.
SEKS: What are some of the team’s goals for 2019?
CS: We want to continue to do the fundamentals better throughout the season and then hope to make a run in the playoffs.
SEKS: What is the most significant obstacle to overcome in 2019?
CS: We need to stay within ourselves and continue to get better. STAY HEALTHY!!!
SEKS: What is the biggest strength going into this year?
CS: Good experience and overall team speed.
SEKS: Individuals that stood out during summer camp/workout programs?
CS: Colby Hoelting, Wylie Redeker, and Joel Dieker. They provided good leadership during 7on7 and in the weight room.
SEKS: Game on the schedule that you are most looking forward to?
CS: The next one up! Our first four weeks are bigger, solid opponents.
SEKS: What will define 2019 as a successful season?
CS: If we do the fundamentals(block, tackle, and execute) we will compete with people.
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Thanks to Coach Schmidt for answering our questions. Good luck to the Eagles in 2019.