Big changes are underway for West Platte football, which has a new coach — Nate Danneman — and new schemes on offense and defense.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Of course, coming off a 7-5 season, the Bluejays’ expectation of success hasn’t changed.
“We had a real good summer with a lot of kids showing up for things in the summer and working hard,” said Danneman, who spent the last four years at Drexel. “They took to the offensive and defensive schemes well.”
Offensively, West Platte is ditching the pistol spread for an option-based attack, which puts added pressure on senior quarterback Jack Callahan.
Senior fullback Colton Goodlet, another returning starter, provides another weapon in the backfield along with two new tailbacks, senior Josh Rise and sophomore Justin Rhodes.
Junior Cody Guthrie, who also starts at corner with senior Kyle Hollinsgworth, moves from running back to wide receiver and will be a primary target along with junior Ben Heili, who will split time at free safety with Callahan.
Senior right tackle Riley Miller and junior left tackle Tanner Litner bookend an offensive line that has also has sophomore center Dalton Larison locked into a starting role, but competition has been intense the two guard spots going into Friday’s opener against Lincoln Prep.
“Offensively, we’re still trying to get our timing down and understand the blocking schemes a little better, but defensively we’re going to be very good,” Danneman said. “We’re tenacious and just flat like to get after you a little bit.”
The Jays are moving from a 3-4 to a 4-4 with Litner and Miller anchoring the line at the tackle spots flanked by senior Tyler Shipman and junior Connor Salmons, who also starts at tight end.
Goodlet, Rise and Larison will start at linebacker with senior twins Dylan and Brett Johnson rotating through.
“By midseason, if we’re doing the things we need to do, I think we’ll have a good shot at going deep in the playoffs,” Danneman said.