The Goessel High School football team lost three seniors from the 8-2 league championship squad of 2007, but it returns six offensive and five defensive starters for the 2008 season.
It will be Justin Coup’s sixth year coaching the Bluebirds, a span in which he has compiled a 33-18 record.
The roster will be smaller this year, but Coup will get the most out of what he called “a very talented sophomore, junior and senior class.”
“We won’t have as many numbers out for football this year,” he said. “But the potential in those few is great.”
Craig Banman (5-foot-11, 155) is among the team’s key seniors and will bring speed and skill to the wide receiver, defensive back and kick returner positions.
Banman, is “an all around threat, catching, running, returning on the offensive side of the ball,” Coup said. “His speed and effort on the defensive side will be an asset as he leads our defense.”
Senior running back Travis Fensky (5-11, 170) will power the Bluebird ground game.
“Fensky will start in the backfield again this year and will run the linebacker position, all of which he started last year and gained valuable experience,” Coup said.
Senior end Kendall Voth (6-2, 165) will be one big receiving target for senior quarterback Austin Unruh (6-3, 190) to look for in the passing game.
“(Voth) led the team in receptions and TD receptions last year and should continue to have the sure hands on offense,” Coup said.
“Austin returns at quarterback and will bring experience to the position,” he added. “All four are tremendous workers and should be great leaders for the young athletes coming up.”
Senior Nathan Walker (5-6, 240) brings experience to the defensive line.
The five seniors will be complemented by returning juniors Weston Hiebert (6-1, 180), Cameron Stultz (5-10, 170), Bryant Miller (6-1, 230) and Austin Cooper (6-2, 178).
Miller and Cooper will be of particular importance, as Coup looks at the offensive line as the biggest question mark entering the season.
“Finding five guys to work hard on the offensive line will be important,” he said. “Offensively, speed and athleticism will be a strength.”
The defense will be in a similar boat, having ample speed and skill but lacking certainty when it comes to the line.
“We will be very fast, but our depth could be a question if people don’t step into roles,” Coup said.
Coup anticipates that eight-man newcomer Canton-Galva will be a stronger competitor in the league than Little River.
Goessel opens at Centre Sept. 5 and hosts Canton-Galva Oct. 24.