St. Henry has holes, but plenty of talent and tradition to fill them

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St. Henry Redskins

St. Henry had to fight through some adversity last year as injuries
plagued the team while losing three of their last five regular season
games. But things came together at the right time for the Redskins, who
were able to make the playoffs as an eight seed and make a run to the
regional finals.


St. Henry
Division V
Region 20

2009 Record: 9-4

* Players To Watch – QB Kyle Stahl (6-5, 215, soph.), WR Tyler Bruns (6-3, 185, sr.), FS Dylan Schwieterman (5-11, 185, sr.), C Trent Link (6-3, 205, sr.), G Derek Puthoff (6-3, 245, sr.), LB Jason Hess (5-10, 175, sr.), WR/LB Alex Post (6-0, 185, soph.), RB Steven Luttmer (5-10, 180, jr.), WR/OLB Cory Siefring (6-4, 210, sr.), RB Zach Gottes (5-9, 190, sr.)

* Outlook – St. Henry had to fight through some adversity last year as injuries plagued the team while losing three of their last five regular season games. But things came together at the right time for the Redskins, who were able to make the playoffs as an eight seed and make a run to the regional finals.

“I was really proud of our team’s effort, primarily because we had to battle through so many injuries throughout the course of the year,” head coach Jeff Starkey said. “We were playing with different quarterbacks and different receivers and really never had our lineup intact the whole year. We probably were about as healthy as we were all year by about Week 12 of the season. I was really proud that our kids were able to put things together and get in the playoffs and make a nice run.”

The Redskins return just five starters – three on offense and two on defense – from the 2009 team, but injuries allowed for some younger players to get experience.

“We played some young kids at different points of the year last year,” Starkey said. “We had a freshman playing quarterback and another freshman playing inside linebacker. We have to take those things as positives now going into 2010.”

The freshman quarterback in question is Kyle Stahl, a talented player who was in position to take over the reins for good before getting injured himself.

“He would have finished out the year as our quarterback had he not broken his index finger in his throwing hand,” Starkey said.

Stahl played in four games at quarterback for St. Henry, one of which was the playoff opener against unbeaten Richwood North Union. Despite being just a freshman, Stahl was able to handle the challenge well.

“He’s the youngest brother in a family that’s played football,” Starkey said. “His older brother played receiver, and then his middle brother was the quarterback for three years – Brad Stahl. So I think Kyle was mentally prepared. For a freshman, he was so poised and so composed. He’s really got some outstanding tools with him.”

Stahl will have to lead the reloading effort on offense, where the Redskins lose a valuable collection of skill players. 

“You always have to try and replace a talented group of seniors,” Starkey said. “This senior group of skill players that we graduated was probably collectively as talented as any that we’ve had since we’ve been here. Replacing those kids is going to be a difficult task, but each year you hope that your offseason and the competition that the kids are involved in in basketball and baseball and track will help them prepare for football.

“I think we’re going to have another group of good skill players, primarily led by our quarterback, who’s the most experienced of those players back, and our receiver Tyler Bruns, who was a starter last year. Those positions are so critical for our offense.”

On defense, the Redskins will be focused on getting a new group of linemen together.

“Defensively, I think what we really have to find out about our team is where we’re going to be at up front,” Starkey said. “Going into our summer season, that’s my biggest concern is where we’re going to play guys at on our defensive front and who’s going to be ready to play there. We’ve gotten by the last couple years on some smaller, athletic type of linemen that play as hard as they can possibly play, and those guys are tough to replace as well.”

* Schedule –
Schedule-wise, St. Henry faces one rough game after another. The Midwest Athletic Conference schedule is tough enough, but the Redskins have made sure to fill their two non-conference spots with tough opponents too. 

“Everyone knows just how difficult our conference schedule is, but we’ve tried to schedule great programs out of conference as well,” Starkey said. “We’ve had quite a series with Marion Pleasant, and the series will continue this year at Marion Pleasant. That’s a big game for both programs each year. Our second game will be at home against Eaton, which is the second year of our contract. Eaton was a Division III playoff team last year. You can’t overlook those two teams first. Those two games are so important to a successful season.”

8/28    at Marion Pleasant
9/3      Eaton
9/10    Rockford Parkway
9/17    at Coldwater
9/24    Delphos St. John’s
10/1    at Maria Stein Marion Local
10/8    at Minster
10/15  Anna
10/22  Fort Recovery
10/29  at Versailles

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