Few, if any football teams have lost more key people from last season than the Forreston Cardinals have lost, but that doesn’t mean the Cardinals are going to be any less formidable on the football field this year.
Gone are head coach Denny Diduch and many of the key guys who were part of the state championship team two years ago, but still here are high expectations.
“We’re built for greatness here,” says linebacker/fullback Garett Badertscher. “I mean our team is…I think we’re right there with what we were last year.”
“We could make it a really good year if we just have energy, focus all the time and practice and work to get better every week, every day,” says senior two-way lineman Mitchell Heinz.
(Kyle Zick is the head coach now. He was the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator last year. He says it’s business as ussual.
“Coach (Diduch) and I, before taking the head job here, we worked really closely on a lot of different things. There will be some little things that we’ll be changing offensively, but for the most part yea it’s going to be run the ball, run the ball, run the ball and throw the ball if we have to.”
The Cardinals team speed the last couple years was off-the-charts for a 1A school. Zick says this team still has that speed element. “We still have some seniors there that have got some really good speed.”
Senior running back Evan Kelsey for one. He rushed for 680 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. Hunter Rogers also has good speed, and the Cardinals have a hammer in the backfield to go with that speed in Garett Badertscher. He goes 230 pounds from his fullback position.
“Garett is a big, big fullback,” says Zick. “The kids always kind of give him a little grief sometimes saying he should be a lineman because he’s got the size for it, but he’s got good feet.”
Ethan Mulder gives Forreston another back with size.
The Cardinals new quarterback is junior Bailey Cullor. “Bailey is doing well,” says Zick. “He’s commanding the offense.”
Up front there is a lot of competition for jobs, but the Cardinals are set with honorable mention all-conference tackle Mitchell Heinz. Heinz will also line up on defense. Badertscher will be the key guy at middle linebacker. Mulder and Cailean Davids also bring experience on that side.
Expect this to be a typical, physical Forreston football team says Heinz. “Very (physical). I think we have to be to get where we want to go.”