Coming off a 7-3 season, the Peabody-Burns High School football team returns four starters on both sides of the ball and will possess considerable speed on both offense and defense.
Coach David Pickens, 18-11 in his first three years at PBHS, said “with some hard work we should be competitive.”
Junior Jacob Simmonds (6-foot-1, 155 pounds) will move from split end to quarterback to replace graduated standout Nathan Bishop. Simmonds will line up at free safety on defense, a position formerly occupied by Trevor Hamm.
“We’ll have new faces in a lot of positions,” Pickens said. “We still have talent and speed, but will be small.”
Elliott Spechtenhauser (6-0, 165) steps in for Hamm in the offensive backfield, which will also feature junior Daniel Brassfield (5-10, 165) and senior Henry Hammann (5-9, 175) in various roles.
Brandon Pickens (6-2, 190), the team’s only returning all-league selection, will line up at wide receiver opposite fellow senior Brian Wingert. Sean Jones (6-1, 165), a junior, will start at tight end.
The offensive line will feature only one senior: starting guard CHris Brooks (5-9, 185). Sophomores Trevor Foth (5-9, 175) and Clint Jones (6-3, 240) will start in the center of the line, with Foth snapping the ball and Jones lining up at guard. Juniors Justin Fistler and Isaac Hilliard line up at offensive tackle.
Several positions are less certain on the defensive side of the ball. Even with know quantities in Hilliard, Brooks and Jones along the defensive line, Spechtenhauser and Brassfield at linebacker, Brandon Pickens at corner and Simmonds at safety, five starting jobs on defense are up for grabs.
Two of the deepest and most competitive positions are in the secondary, as Pickens has yet to select a corner to pair with Brandon Pickens and a safety to pair with Simmonds. But four candidates have emerged: Storm Pickens, Caleb Hilliard, Derek Price and Brian Wingert.
The Warriors will try to secure their eighth straight winning season this fall. They begin the quest Friday at home against Ell Saline. A road contest at Hutch Trinity (Sept. 26) and home games against Sedgwick (Oct. 3) and Moundridge (Oct. 24) will likely to pose significant challenges.
According to Pickens, Moundridge may be the best team in the district. The Warriors face the Wildcats in the regular season finale Oct. 24.