Mid-Prairie looks to reload for 2014
Replacing 10 starters on offense is a daunting task for any football team, but for Mid-Prairie, it will all start with the quarterback.
After the graduation of Reid Miller, who held down the starting gig for the past two years, there is a two-horse race to lead the offense on Friday night.
“It’s still undecided,” Mid-Prairie head coach Pete Cavanagh said. “We have a junior in Ryan Cortum and a sophomore in Isaiahn Powell competing for it. We graduated (Reid Miller) who started for us for two years, so it’s big shoes to fill. It’s too early to tell. They are both doing a good job (in camp).”
Last season, Cortum saw minimal action for the Golden Hawks, only attempting four passes. Of those attempts, one was completed for a 38-yard touchdown. He also rushed 14 times for six yards, while Powell didn’t record any varsity stats last season.
While both quarterbacks are competing for the top spot on the depth chart, the athletes they will be throwing to will be raw.
In the receiving corps, there are a combined five catches and 97 yards, with one touchdown returning to the team from 2013, as the top five pass catchers from a year ago have now graduated.
“I think we graduated 95 percent of our offense, and 10 of our starters on offense,” Cavanagh said. “It’s certainly an overhaul on offense, so it’s interesting to see who is going to step up for us. We are doing all right early on and it’s a learning process, but the learning curve is a little longer, though.”
Regardless of who is lining up for the first snap on Aug. 29, the mentality will be the same: set the tone.
“We just need to establish an identity on offense, where we are going to be able to run the ball and establish our offensive line,” Cavanagh said. “So that’s our key, along with playing good defense like we normally do.”
Defensively, four of the top five tacklers last season graduated, with Devon Young being the leading returning tackler with 60 tackles to his credit last season.
“We have four or five guys who played good minutes for us (last season),” Cavanagh said. “We are missing the core linebacker crew, but they are slightly ahead of our offense.”
With a lot of new players guaranteed to see more playing time, the competition level at summer camp has been high as they fight for the top roster spots.
“They’ve done a good job motivating themselves,” Cavanagh said. “They are all competing for a starting job right now, so it’s their motivation to perform well. We want to carry on the tradition of going to the playoffs like we’ve done the past couple years. I’m sure they don’t want to be a group that doesn’t get there. They just have to keep working.”
Mid-Prairie will open up its season at home against Durant on Aug. 29.