Our High School Football Preview Tour is about to come to a close.
The Rocking M Media sports staff is previewing the 2019 season, venturing to different parts of central Kansas.
The latest stop features the Salina South Cougars.
Last year’s first play from scrimmage was an omen for 2018. Senior starting tailback Kyle Quill injured himself against McPherson, and missed a good chunk of the season. The injury bug combined with youth resulted in South’s second 1-8 campaign in the last three years.
Still, the squad competed. In five of the eight losses, South was within a touchdown in the fourth quarter and was down by 14 in another defeat. That has head coach Sam Sellers optimistic going into 2019 with 10 returning starters on offense and five on defense.
Highlighting the group is junior quarterback Terran Galloway. In his sophomore season, Galloway threw for 1,144 yards and six touchdowns. The sophomore-to-junior jump caught the eye of coach Sellers in the offseason.
The signal caller has no shortage of weapons on the edges. Senior receiver Ty Garrett is back after 50 catches for 647 yards. Garrett has tied the single-season school record for receptions and was an all-league pick. In his career, Garrett has 88 receptions for 1,137 yards and four touchdowns.
Seniors David Ollenberger and Jace Varela plan to be threats for Galloway. Ollenberger was second on the team in receptions and top dog for receiving TD’s. Challenging for that spot is newcomer Colin Schreiber. The junior basketball standout made a nice transition to the gridiron, setting him up for a potentially exciting 2019 season.
Salina South continues to focus on line play. Injuries plagued this group a season ago, but four guys are back with a least five starts. Gio McCall, Zach Isaacson, Chris Williams and Ethan Sankey all look to pave the way for the South offense.
While losing Quill for a good portion of the season hurt Salina South, it also helped, allowing sophomore tailback Brandt Cox to receive reps as a freshman. Cox started eight games last year and can run 10.95 seconds in the 100.
The defense suffers a couple big blows, losing Jayden “The Fridge” Miller and the “Big I” Isaac Mitchell. Sophomore Kayson Dietz was a tad bit overlooked because of the two other linemen, but as a freshman, Dietz put together a solid season. Nico Arias and Kody Ratcliff look to capitalize on the starting positions.
Linebacker is another area of concern for the Cougars, but leading the charge is senior Kam Xaysongkham. Kam had a solid offseason and plans to lead Carter Kirby, Jarrett Pittenger and Charlie Baird.
For the first time in what feels like 80 years, there won’t be a Calvert at safety. Cai graduated, but this unit could be the strength of the defense. Junior cornerback AJ Johnson is athletically gifted, senior Colby Bulleigh is adjusting nicely to safety, and junior Owen Bulleigh made plays as a sophomore. Throw in Drew Baird and this group appears to be rock solid.
2019 schedule for the Salina South Cougars (all kickoff times slated for 7 pm on Y93.7):
Aug. 30 – Preseason jamboree with Abilene, Wichita North and Hays
Sept. 6 – McPherson
Sept. 13 – at Dodge City
Sept. 20 – at Salina Central
Sept. 27 – Campus
Oct. 4 – Derby
Oct. 11 – at Maize
Oct. 18 – Hutchinson
Oct. 25 – at Newton
Nov. 1 – PLAYOFFS
Day 1: Abilene Cowboys
Day 1: Ellsworth Bearcats
Day 2: Southeast of Saline Trojans
Day 3: Minneapolis Lions
Day 4: Smoky Valley Vikings
Day 4: Sacred Heart Knights
Day 5: Solomon Gorillas
Day 5: Ell-Saline Cardinals
Day 6: Bennington Bulldogs
Day 7 on Friday: Salina Central Mustangs