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Youth Movement In Place For St. Paul Football This Season

Youth Movement In Place For St. Paul Football This Season

St. Paul Indian Football head coach Keith Wiatrak made an observation that rarely stands out in the stat sheet.

“In the last four years, we’ve been knocked out of the playoffs by schools who have over thirty players out.”

Once again, low numbers plague the St. Paul football program, but an influx of sophomores and a transfer student-athlete hope to remedy that problem.

St. Paul’s roster on opening kick-off will list only three seniors, all of which play on the front lines. Seniors Wilson Smith, Ethan Stoneking, and Ivan Murillo are the lone senior leadership. All three combine for 703 lbs upfront and an average height of 6’2.5″.

Smith and Stoneking both return as All-League 1st Team Offensive and Defensive Linemen. Ivan Murillo earned All-League 1st Team Kicker in 2019.

Junior Austin O’Hara should be a factor at linebacker for St. Paul football. O’Hara filled in at times as a result of the low numbers and injuries, especially later in the season, as a sophomore.

A junior with a tall frame to watch on St. Paul this season is Peyton Norris. The 6’3″ 170 lbs student-athlete is listed at tight end and looks to protect the secondary.

Sophomores Vincent Smith and Kiser Wiatrak should contribute to defensive and offensive production, respectively.

Wiatrak brings 380 yards and five touchdowns of varsity experience into this season.

“We are going to start a whole new backfield and it will primarily consist of sophomores,” commented Wiatrek. “They are going to have to grow up fast, because we only have six upperclassmen playing.”

Transferring to St. Paul this year is Trey Peters. The sophomore enters the team at 5’9″ 140 lbs and should be the week one starting quarterback.

St. Paul moves into a district that includes fellow Three Rivers League members Altoona-Midway, Chetopa, and Colony-Crest. Southern Coffey County and Waverly from the Lyon County League round out the competitors in 8M-II District 1.

St. Paul’s season begins at home on Friday, September 4th against long-time 8-Man rival Sedan.

(Keep up with St. Paul Football this season on the Eastern Kansas Sports Football section)

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