UDALL — Back-to-back trips to the postseason has the Udall High School football program on the upswing.
Under the direction of 14-year head coach Wyatt Williams, who has a record of 72-53 at UHS, the Eagles are looking to continue that trend in 2019 following a trip to the regional round of the Eight Man-Division I playoffs a year ago.
“The bottom line is if we can find an offensive line, we will be very good,” Williams said. “We expect to be in the playoffs once again and are excited about our team.”
Udall has some good experience returning following last year’s 7-3 campaign. That includes six defensive and four offensive starters.
Leading the way will be senior Trevor Whiteman, who will be making the move from receiver to quarterback this season. A year ago, Whiteman had 490 years receiving in earning All-South Central Border League and All-District 2 Honorable Mention on offense. He also returns as a defensive back, where he was Second Team All-SCBL with eight interceptions; as well as kicker/punter, being named all-league First Team.
Two solid players return to the offensive backfield in senior fullback Alan Garton and junior tailback Dylan Bishop. Barton rushed for 600 yards last season in being named Second Team all-district. Meanwhile, Bishop rushed for 500 yards last season despite being lost to injury for the season in week five. One year earlier as a freshman, Bishop ran for over 1,000 yards.
Also back on offense will be junior tight end Isaac Jirak.
“Trevor is a great athlete that will excel in his senior season while moving to quarterback to replace Josh Fielder, who had a great season last year,” Williams said. “Alan, Dylan and Jayce form a very talented and experienced backfield. Our skill positions are loaded, but we must replace three starters on our offensive line.”
Defensively, joining Whiteman will be Bishop on the line, Garton at defensive end and Jirak at linebacker. Other returning starters include senior Isaac Patteson at linebacker and sophomore Jayce Rieth at defensive back. Patteson recorded 100 tackles a year ago for the Eagle defense.
Williams will still need to fill some key holes in the lineup and will be looking at players such as sophomores Henry Faye, Trent Whiteman and Raymond Wyssman, as well as freshman David Otis.
The Eagles open the 2019 campaign with back-to-back road games at Flinthills on Sept. 6 and West Elk on Sept. 13. The pre-district slate concludes on Sept. 20 with a home game against Central of Burden.
Udall will once again be tested in a tough District 2. Home games with South Central on Sept. 27 and Argonia/Attica on Oct. 4 start things off. Two of the final three games will be on the road, including at Medicine Lodge on Oct. 11 and at Oxford on Oct. 25. The final home game will take place on Oct. 18 against Caldwell.
A year ago, the Eagles earned a playoff spot after going 3-2 in district play. They beat Oswego in the opening round of the Eight Man I playoffs before falling to Argonia/Attica in the regional round.