Head football coach Ethan Haworth, in his 2nd year at Leon-Bluestem High School, is hoping to avoid injuries and continue to instill a “blue-collar work mentality” in his program for 2020.
“We established that in order for us to be successful not only on the field but in the classroom and in life we have to give maximum effort in everything we do,” explained Haworth
“Do everything with a purpose.”
The Lions will rely on their youth to step up after a productive summer lifting program, which yielded the highest overall attendance in over five years.
“That will definitely help us be competitive when playing those teams that already have well established winning cultures and off-season training. “
Bluestem graduated four key seniors, three offensive linemen, and their starting quarterback. Stepping up in their place will be senior offensive lineman Mike Harrison, running back Kendall Keeton, and wide receiver Logan Walden.
In addition to those upperclassmen, Bluestem will be replacing those graduates with four freshmen.
Another focus in the off-season was tackling on the defensive side of the ball.
“After breaking down all of our season film we found that the majority of the yards gained on us were off of broken tackles.” said the Lions coach.
“I think with a combination of our commitment to the weight room this summer and an extreme emphasis on tackling this year we will get that problem fixed.”
However, Haworth is optimistic that with a full year experience under his system, Lions fans will see a team playing and not reacting.
“This is the first time in probably three years that we won’t be trying to teach a completely new offense to our boys. Which will help do less thinking about our responsibilities and allow us [to] play faster, more disciplined football.”
Bluestem will have the benefit of playing a majority of their 2020 schedule at home. Beginning week 1 and 2 against Tri-Valley rivals Humboldt and Cherryvale. In District Play, on the western side, Bluestem will face Chaparral, Douglass, and Garden Plain at home.
Plagued with back-to-back 1-8 seasons, coach Haworth is looking for “Maximum Effort” to change that.
“We never quit in any of our games which was a major improvement from years past. We will continue that same Maximum Effort policy.”