Next man up.
After finishing the 2018 campaign with the best record in Humboldt High School varsity football season and Sub-State Runner-Up, the Cubs will look to a talented group of juniors and seniors to fill the voids last year’s class left behind.
“We’ve got to find new leadership with this new group we have for the upcoming season. I believe they can be very successful, just like our 2018 season, but we will struggle if we don’t have some young men step up to be leaders.” Said Humboldt Coach Wyrick.
The Cubs lost a group that included three All-State Performers and another three that were All-League.
Wyrick mentioned there is no time to look in the rearview mirror with the 2019 season on the horizon.
“We’ve got to get past no longer having that talent on our roster and embrace the group we are taking the field within 2019. We bring back a lot of upperclassmen that got a lot of playing time last season.”
Returning for Humboldt this season will be offensive lineman Josh Hull, who clocks in at 6’6″ and 255 lbs before the first snap of the season. Hull was named 1st Team Offensive Line in the Wichita Eagle and Honorable Mention in the Topeka Capital Journal.
Joining Hull will be 6’1″ senior Taylor Lassman, who was named 1st team All-League Center in 2018 and 320 lbs. 6’3″ senior Jacob Fudge.
“I think we return a lot of talent up front on our offensive line and that’s always a plus.” Said the Humboldt head coach.
However, the Cubs will be smaller in the skills position, but Wyrick feels that that could allow this year’s team stand out from the groups before them.
“Altogether, I believe (this group) could be one of the faster teams I’ve coached at Humboldt.”
Skill players on the offensive side of the ball that look to make their presence felt are senior Isiah Coronado, who stands at 5’10” and recorded 292 total yards receiving with four touchdowns, and the 6’1″ 185 lbs. senior running back Conor Haviland who rushed for 1,687 yards with 39 total touchdowns and was named 1st team All-State Running Back.
With the Power Spread/Wildcat Offense, plenty of players will get their chance to carry the rock of the Cubs Offense, but the quarterback position continues to be a question mark going into this year.
“That’s kind of been our M.O. the last few years. We’re going to have to find out who will play quarterback for us or the very least take the snap. This will also most likely dictate what we really look like offensively.”
The team will continue to deploy a 4-3 defense.
Senior cornerback Jackson Atkins recorded 47 tackles and 3 tackles-for-losses last year returns for the Cubs defense. The Cubs will also have senior defensive lineman Joe Froggatte to plug the hole for the defensive line. Froggatte is listed at 6’1″ and 305 lbs. and comes off a season that had him credited with 14 tackles.
Lineback Speed Hoepker also returns. Hoepker returns as the leading tackler from last year with 77 tackles, five of them for losses.
Coronado, Haviland, and Hull will also pull double duty on the defensive side of the ball, although that is something the three of them have become accustomed to in their years in playing as a Cub.
Humboldt will be looking towards senior linebacker Kyle Kobold, 6’1″ 175lbs, and defensive backs Cooper Jaro, 5’8″ 135 lbs., and Briar Orth, 5’8″ 145lbs., to round out the secondary on defense.
“We have a lot of athleticism on defense, but trying to find an actual position to put everyone in will be the biggest change. Similar to what I said about our strengths, we don’t have a ton of size with our skill positions, but we have a lot of quickness.” Said coach Wyrick.
Humboldt’s schedule shows the first three games on the road. Due to Eureka’s facilities still being rebuilt after the devastation from last summer’s tornado they will play in Iola. Neodesha, who will have a first-year head coach, and Fredonia will both be on the road for the Cubs.
The Cubs district is filled with teams coming off down years including Erie, Riverton, Northeast, and Southeast, but Coach Wyrick notes the “one game at a time” mentality is something last year’s group struggled with throughout the season.
“There were times in the season that we had some difficulties staying focused on the next task at hand. I know a lot of people want to look further ahead than the next opponent at times, and we had to find ways to battle against ourselves each and every day.”
Follow the Humboldt Cubs Football team results on Eastern Kansas Sports with their team page in the Tri-Valley League.