The list of players that may contribute to the Mitchell High School football team continues to grow.
After the Kernels held an inter-squad scrimmage Friday on the practice field at Joe Quintal Stadium, head coach Kent VanOverschelde said the coaching staff still has decisions to make as to who will be on the field to start the team’s first game Aug. 25 against Watertown in Watertown.
“This past week has been about developing as a football team,” VanOverschelde said. “We definitely have to pick it up and make the commitment to the starters.”
At the quarterback position, Matt Larson and Alex Herrick continue to be the frontrunners for playing time.
VanOverschelde said Larson has shown a strong ability to run with the ball and make quick decisions in an option-style offense, while Herrick’s consistency while leading the offense has stood out to the coaching staff.
“It’s our job as coaches to allow our players, within their capabilities and skill set, to work in our offense,” VanOverschelde said.
Kanin Nelson and Jacob Cersosimo also took snaps during Friday’s scrimmage and both showed an ability to run the offense.
VanOverschelde said the starting quarterback has not been decided but the team has decided to try to stick with one person under center.
“We know what direction we need to go within our offense,” VanOverschelde said. “We’ll go in with the plan of going with one quarterback but we feel that we’re going to have some depth, which is something we haven’t had the last few years.”
VanOverschelde said the running back position was another spot in the offense that multiple players have stepped into a role where they could get some carries.
Entering the week, Micah Hettinger and Mitch Johnson stood out as the team’s leading backs. Johnson has been dealing with a minor injury that has taken away some carries in practices and his replacements have impressed the coaches.
VanOverschelde said Landon Neugebauer and Kirby Fuerst have both looked impressive when running the ball on offense.
“We’re going to have a little more depth than we originally anticipated which will give us fresh legs on the football field,” VanOverschelde said.
The Kernels’ defense seems to have more of a solid feel as to who will be on the field during the team’s first action.
VanOverschelde said the team’s linebackers have continued to shine and will be the backbone of the defense.
“The strength of our defense has always been our linebackers,” he said. “Fuerst and Hettinger are exceptionally versed on what we’re trying to achieve out there.”
The secondary also looks to be strong for the Kernels, with Evan Mastel leading the group at the safety position.
“Mastel is just a disciplined kid who fits that safety position really well,” VanOverschelde said.
VanOverschelde said the team’s scrimmage looked good and he is ready to see how the team looks in true competition.
“The key to this young football team will be how we react to adverse situations and how we react to our success,” he said.Talk about it