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Young But Bigger Ell-Saline Team Aims High

Mike Hammett - August 30, 2013 5:32 pm

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Last year, Ell-Saline put together a solid season which resulted in an appearance in the Class 2-1A playoffs. The Cardinals lost to LaCrosse in the first round, and finished the year 7-3.

“We lost some really good kids last year,” 15th-year head coach Terry King said. “We’re going to have trouble replacing kids like Toby Omli and Kaleb Whitehair. On the other hand, we have some younger kids that are willing to step up and capable of stepping up. I really think we have a chance to be better on the line of scrimmage this year because we have more depth.”

This year, only four starters are back on each side of the ball. However, King is optimistic.

“We’ve had very good participation in the weight room, as good of participation as we’ve had at Ell-Saline since I’ve been here,” King said. “We have a lot of younger kids that have been paying into the program. We do have some older kids back that played a lot of football last year.”

King’s team has strength on the offensive line, returning Evan Morrical, Mason DeArvil and Dylan Williams.

King looks for DeArvil to help with younger kids who have to step up on the line.

“He’s a very smart kid,” King said. “He knows the blocks on the line of scrimmage. Hopefully some of our younger kids that are playing, he can keep them tuned in as far as who they’re going to block.”

King also believes Morrical’s combination of strength and speed will make him a handful for opponents, and likes the experience Williams brings back.

In the backfield Justin Schmutz is the lone returning piece.

“He’s a very intense football player,” King said. “He’s a very smart player. He’s going to have a lot of success on our team.”

Defensively, the Cardinals will feature Morrical and DeArvil up front, along with Tanner Parker. Schmutz returns at linebacker and Louie Arceo is back in the secondary.

While some younger players will have to step up for the Cardinals, King is happy about his team’s size this year.

“We’ve never had that luxury at Ell-Saline before, to have this many kids around 200 pounds,” King said. “A lot of them can run and a lot of them can hit.”

King believes he has the makings for a good team this year.

“I could see us being susceptible to some mistakes early in the year,” King said. “I think we have a great chance to win more games than we lose this year. I think we have a great chance to win seven or eight football games this year. We’re going to have to have a little bit of luck and we’re going to have to have some things fall our way. We do have a bunch of kids that are interested, if they’re willing to come and listen and learn and get better every day.”

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