Our High School Football Preview Tour continues to roll on.
The Meridian Media sports staff is previewing the 2021 season, venturing to different parts of central Kansas.
The latest stop was at Sacred Heart, home to the Knights.
Shane Richards’ first year as head coach started off in a peculiar way. Sacred Heart’s week one opponent had to cancel because of COVID-19. After a thorough search for a replacement, the Knights dropped down to eight-man football, opening the season at Kinsley.
After returning to 11-man play, the Knights picked up a pair of wins, finishing 2-7. That young Sacred Heart squad is a bit more experienced with a few extra bodies available for 2021.
Jacob Gormley is gone, but sophomore Evan Bogart is familiar being under center. Gormley suffered an injury early last season, forcing Bogart to take his spot. Bogart did well for the Knights and will look to build on that in his second season as the signal caller.
The loss of Mason Richards is back a multiple accounts. The son of Shane was solid at fullback and was the leader of the group. Senior Izeyiah Rodriguez will slide to that position this year after playing offensive line in 2020.
Junior Adrian Panuco will be the anchor in the trenches for the Knights. Panuco had an excellent sophomore campaign and will be the leader for this year’s group. Senior Julian Torres is one of two returning senior starters for the Knights. Sophomore Cooper Ivey will join Torres and Panuco up front as well.
On paper, sophomore Mikey Matteucci doesn’t look imposing. However, the 5’10” 150 pound receiver is quite explosive. The athletic Matteucci impressed in 2020 and he’s prepared to take it a step farther this season.
Cameron Yohe was injured last year, but he’ll be available for 2021, making coach Richards very happy. Yohe will be involved on the offensive side of the ball, but you’ll see him fly around in the secondary for the Knights. Bogart and Matteucci will be in the back end of the defense as well.
The linebacker group should be the main defensive strength with Panuco leading the charge. Rodriguez is back as well.
The defensive line has coach Richards pumped up. That group will be bigger, highlighted by Torres and Ivey.
Sacred Heart is still in the same tough district as last season. Still, plenty of underclassmen were used in those games. If the Knights can use what they learned in those contests, they can be better in 2021.
2021 Sacred Heart Knights Football Schedule:
Sept. 3 – Ellsworth
*Sept. 10 – at Ell-Saline
*Sept. 17 – at Inman
*Sept. 24 – Smith Center
*Oct. 1 – Ellinwood
Oct. 8 – at Wichita Independent
*Oct. 15 – at Oakley
*Oct. 22 – Plainville
Oct. 29 – PLAYOFFS
*Denotes 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
Day 10: Salina South Cougars (on Aug. 27)
Day 10: Salina Central Mustangs (on Aug. 27)