Our High School Football Preview Tour continues to roll on.
The Rocking M Media sports staff is previewing the 2020 season, venturing to different parts of central Kansas.
The latest stop was in Brookville, home to the Ell-Saline Cardinals.
A new era of Ell-Saline football has begun. Back in 2000, Terry King took over as head coach of the Cardinals. After another 7-3 campaign in 2019, coach King decided to step down.
A familiar face that’s been around since 1997 took over. Long-time assistant Joe Roche replaces coach King with an experienced staff to make the transition a bit smoother.
While Ell-Saline graduated a ton of talent from last season, the Cardinals have promising individuals for 2020.
Starting at quarterback, T.J. Morrical is back for his senior season. Morrical battled through injuries a season ago, leading to helpful lessons heading into his final campaign.
The offensive line brings back plenty of experience. The Calzada brothers bolster the group up front. Senior Jesus mans the right tackle position while junior Johnathan takes the opposite side. Senior Carter Underwood has impressed so far in practice and senior Eli Hopkins is set to help on the line as well.
Over the years, Ell-Saline developed a reputation of using multiple ball carriers. That remains the same despite the departures of Sawyner Kramer, Owen Bradley and Luke Parks. Senior Keenan Drees didn’t carry the ball a ton a season ago. However, whenever Drees did record a carry, he made the most of the opportunity, averaging six yards a tote. Senior Peyton Powell is prepared to help out in the rushing attack.
Juniors Taegan Bradley and Kayden Goddard both are ready to make the jump as upperclassmen. While Goddard is still searching for a position defensively, coach Roche likes him at tight end. Bradley can do a bit of everything, but stars as a safety for 2020.
Many of the offensive starters play defense, too. In the eyes of coach Roche, he believes this team will go as far as the linemen can take them. With a good chunk of big fellas back, Ell-Saline is setting the bar high for 2020.
2020 schedule for Ell-Saline Cardinals (all kickoff times slated for 7 pm w/games on FM 104.9 & ksal.com):
Sept. 4 – at Marion
Sept. 11 – at Sacred Heart*
Sept. 18 – Oakley*
Sept. 25 – at Plainville*
Oct. 2 – Sedgwick
Oct. 9 – Inman*
Oct. 16 – at Smith Center*
Oct. 23 – Ellinwood*
Oct. 30 – PLAYOFFS
*1A District 3 Game
Day 1: Abilene Cowboys
Day 2: Bennington Bulldogs
Day 3: Ellsworth Bearcats
Day 4: Solomon Gorillas
Day 5: Smoky Valley Vikings
Day 6: Minneapolis Lions
Day 7: Southeast of Saline Trojans
Day 8: Ell-Saline Cardinals
Day 9: Sacred Heart Knights (on Aug. 27)
Day 10: Salina South Cougars (on Aug. 28)
Day 10: Salina Central Mustangs (on Aug. 28)