Players buying in at West Platte

08/19/2014 11:34 AM

08/19/2014 11:34 AM

West Platte coach Nate Danneman says his team played at both ends of the spectrum during his first year on the job. He’s not wrong, either.

The Blue Jays closed out the 2013 regular season schedule with only two victories, before winning three straight playoff games to reach the Missouri Class 1 quarterfinals.

It didn’t take Danneman long to figure out which end of the spectrum this year’s team is more likely to resemble.

“We had a much, much, much better (summer) this year than we did last year,” Danneman said. “The kids have bought into what we’re doing. We didn’t play great football for the first three-quarters of last season, but then our attitude changed, our effort changed and we started playing pretty darn good football. That’s already carried over.”

It’s carried over, in large part, because the team welcomes back seven starters on both sides of the ball.

With its spread option offense that features multiple formations, West Platte believes it offers a set of packages that will look unfamiliar to its conference foes.

Senior Cody Guthrie has slid into the starting quarterback role after serving as the team’s top wideout last season.

“We spent all summer working with him, and he’s really falling in love with the position,” Danneman said. “He can throw it, but he’s not afraid to pull it down and take off with it, and I’m not afraid to let him.”

Clayton Lambrecht and Justin Rhodes will see the bulk of the carries in the backfield.

All-conference defensive end Brett Shepardson and middle linebacker Dalton Larison will be counted on to lead the defense. Larison missed most of last season after suffering a knee injury.

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