Entering this season, Smithville coach Greg Smith knows that he has a mixture of young and experienced players, so he’ll have to rely on the veterans.
Smithville leans on senior Quintin Mueller. A talented player at both wide receiver and cornerback, Mueller seems like a player his teammates can look to as an example.
“He’s got a good change of direction,” Smith said. “He’s kind of a taller kid for a defensive back on our level. He has good size, good speed and good instincts.”
Junior quarterback Mitchell Orr looks to improve as a passer and build on what he learned last year under center.
“He’s shown a lot more comfort in the pocket during the preseason,” Smith said.
The key component for Smith and the Warriors remains finding some replacements at linebacker, a process that’s fully underway.
“We graduated all of our starting linebackers,” Smith said. “But we’ve got some kids that have shown a lot of improvement and potential early on.”
However, Smith did mention Brady Sterns and Tanner Hartman as important pieces to the defense that returned to lead Smithville.
First test for the Warriors is their opener against Pleasant Hill, a team Smith knows will serve as a proving ground.
“They’re very similar communities and very similar football teams,” Smith said. “It’s what high school football is all about in my mind. They’re good kids who are blue-collar hard working.”