QUAPAW — Head coach Brad Homer is planning on taking full advantage of District 2A-8’s returning receiver of the year.
Tyler Bacon was one of the top receivers in Class 2A with 56 receptions for 834 yards and eight touchdowns in only eight games.
“Obviously things are going to go through Tyler Bacon,” Homer said. “We are going to try to get the ball in his hands as much as we can, as often as we can and do some things to move him around to try to do that.”
“We are expecting big things out of him.”
He will be complimented by quarterback Seth Brumley, who broke his leg the day before the Wildcats’ season opener against Oswego, Kan.
“He’s done a great job to get himself back into playing shape and get that leg better,“ Homer said. “He looked really good in passing league and he went to several camps. He’s where he needs to be.”
Homer has used the same offensive philosophy that helped make his dad, Bob, successful at Miami High School: run the ball.
But that likely will change to take full advantage of Bacon.
“Believe it or not, we are going to look to throw the football to try to run the football,” he quipped. “We have two young running backs (Cole Hurley and Jordan Mate) and up front, blocking, pushing and driving people is going to be a bit of a weakness.
“Typically our best players in the past skill wise have been in the backfield. That’s not the case any more. We’ve got our best athlete out there. He’s going to run the football and he knows he’s going to. It’s just how are we going to do it. We’ve gotta make the defense wonder where he is on the field and ‘how are we going to cover him?’”
The Wildcats went 2-8 a year ago, the wins coming against Fairland - which went on to qualify for the playoffs - and Salina.
They’re hoping to get out of a rut that has seen them stuck on two wins for four of the past five seasons. The lone exception was a 6-4 showing in 2008.
Quapaw’s last playoff appearance was in 2003, when they lost in the first round to Hominy.
Numbers are a problem with the 2012 squad. There’s only 20 on the roster after several players opted not to play.
“You’ve gotta play the cards you are dealt and try to get better from there,” Homer said. “We will build off that each week and look to become a team that is strong in the kicking game, turnover margins and penalties, too. We can’t have penalties that move us backwards when we are trying to convert first downs and things like that.
“We want to take time off the clock as we are moving the ball down the field.”
The Wildcats’ offensive line will include sophomore Tyler Owens at center, senior Kyle Morisset at right guard, Colton Spradling at right tackle, senior Carter Schrader at left guard and Shawn Tune at left tackle.
Heath Glerup and Landon Corbus will alternate at Y tight end and Beau Kibel will be X.
Homer doesn’t want his team to be TOO quick striking. He would prefer some time consuming drives that will help keep the ball out of the opponents’ hands.
Defensively, the Wildcats likely will have Owens at nose guard, Morisset at tackle, Dawson and Spradling at the ends, Bailey Lassiter and Glerup at outside linebacker, Bobby Washington and Corbus at inside linebacker Bacon at free safety and Kibel and Hurley at the corners.
“The ones who are still with us are working hard and they’re getting better each day,” Homer said. “We’re just glad they had been getting those reps because now they are going to start.”
The Cats had only one scrimmage to get ready for the season opener. They traveled to Wyandotte to face Westville.
“That gave us a little more time to bring along some of those younger guys who are going to have to start up front,” Homer said.