Starting spots wide open headed into Kernel football campWith just four returning starters on the team, everyone at Mitchell High School’s first official football practice Monday at the practice field at Joe Quintal Stadium was battling for a spot.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
With just four returning starters on the team, everyone at Mitchell High School’s first official football practice Monday at the practice field at Joe Quintal Stadium was battling for a spot.
“It’s going to be competitive,” Kernels coach Kent VanOverschelde said. “We haven’t come in with any preconceived notions of one player over the other.”
The Kernels finished last season with an 8-3 record and won their first-round playoff game, a feat that hadn’t occurred since 2006. But this year may have a different look for MHS as it tries to fill holes left from last year’s graduating class.
“We knew coming in that this was going to be a building process and we’re up to that challenge,” VanOverschelde said.
“The process has begun, we don’t have any way of knowing what the outcome is, but I expect these kids to be successful in a lot of different areas.”
VanOverschelde said the offense may be led by a trio of quarterbacks to start the year.
Junior Alex Herrick, sophomore Matt Larson and freshman Kanin Nelson will be vying for time behind center this season.
“At this point, it really isn’t a controversy,” VanOverschelde said. “We’re working together to improve our offense and a week from now we’ll have a better idea of what their capabilities are.”
VanOverschelde said despite losing the team’s key running back from a year ago, Jason Greenway, who rushed for 1,483 yards and 11 touchdowns, the team’s backfield is a positive aspect of the team.
“We’re going to have some depth and we’re going to try and use some strengths,” he said.
Micah Hettinger and Mitch Johnson look to be the early favorites to get carries for the Kernels.
VanOverschelde said Hettinger is a power type of running back while Johnson has a combination of strength and speed.
“We’re going to take the strengths of each of these kids and implement them into our offense and see where we’re best suited,” VanOverschelde said.
With many new faces taking part in the practices, the coaching staff has spent more time reviewing basics to get the team ready but VanOverschelde said he expects his young team to be fully prepared when it plays its first game against Watertown Aug. 25 on the road.
“One way I would characterize this group is that they are attentive and an intelligent group and we’re going to capitalize on that with instruction,” he said.
“I think this group is going to pick up things fast. With time, there’s a sense of urgency where we can’t overlook things but we have to move on and move forward.”