The Chetopa High School football team not only entered the 2019 season with no seniors, but first-year head coach Rick Aldridge also received a taste of the speed and different style of 8-Man football.
“I was not as prepared as I thought I was,” admitted Alridge.
“Having a team with no seniors and very little experience, coupled with my lack of 8-Man experience, was a very difficult hurdle. Most of the coaches I faced were incredible to learn from and ready to assist wherever they could.”
However, this year brings a trio of seniors on the field and more experience on the sidelines.
Senior Wyatt Vanatta, 210 lbs. 5’10”, runs the offense for the Green Hornets. The senior can run, throw, kick, and tackle. As the team’s quarterback, running back, linebacker, and kicker, he will be vital in the 2020 season.
Vanatta earned Three Rivers League All-League Punter honors last season.
Seniors Caiden Duggan, 180 lbs. 5’11”, and Dakota Pease, 195 lbs. 5’10”, also factor into the Green Hornet’s football production in 2020.
Duggan plays quarterback, wide receiver, and defensive back. Pease plays a variety of skills positions including, wide receiver, running back, and defensive back.
“Having no seniors gives us plenty of experience,” commented Aldridge.
“Everyone got plenty of playing time on both sides of the ball.”
Chetopa’s underclassmen should play a role in 2020 as well.
Corven Walker, 225 lbs. 5’6″, earned Three Rivers League Honorable Mention Offensive Lineman honors as a freshman.
The sophomore anchors the front line with fellow sophomore Blake Bryant, 212 lbs. 5’8″.
In 2019, Chetopa Football won only one game: a forfeit from Rural Vista in the season finale.
The last win on a football field for Chetopa came on October 25th, 2018, against the Heat.
That is added motivation for the Green Hornets, according to Aldridge.
“Not winning many games gives the boys even more motivation for 2020.”
Chetopa, playing in the 8M-II District 1 this season, will play fellow Three Rivers League members Altoona-Midway, Colony-Crest, and St. Paul.
Lyon County League members Southern Coffey County and Waverly round out the district.
Chetopa opens the 2020 season at home against Oswego on Friday, September 4th, 2020.