Midway did everything it wanted to accomplish in last year’s Missouri Class 1 district title game, except score. The Vikings’ chance at an undefeated state title ended with a 7-6 loss to Osceola.
Midway won’t have to wait long for redemption — Osceola is the first team on the 2014 schedule.
The bigger questions is what this year’s team will look like.
“We lost a lot of good seniors, but we’ve got a good nucleus back. I think the motivation will be there,” Midway coach Larry Burchett said. “I think we’re going to be all right. I don’t know if we’ll be all right by Week 1 or not. We’ve got a lot of places who have a lot to learn. We need some game-time experience.”
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Tyler Wright takes over at quarterback for the departed Payton Sims, who accounted for one-third of the Vikings’ offense last season.
He’ll be joined in the backfield by Luke Boyer and Connor Hayes. Senior all-state tight end Clay Dahman figures to be heavily involved as well.
Midway’s trump card this year could very well be its defense.
“We’ve got seven of our starting defensive 11 back, and we only gave up six scores in 12 games,” Burchett said. “We’ve got a great nucleus to bring back another great defense.”
Dahman, senior Tanner Yahnig and senior defensive lineman Kessler Woods are among those starters back.
The learning curve on offense becomes easier to navigate when the opposition isn’t putting up points.
“I think when you have a good team, your defense is always going to be good. If you’re going to have a good team, you need to be able to play defense,” Burchett said. “We’ve got some size and strength. They need a few games under their belt and we don’t have that luxury.”