Goessel High alum Garrett Hiebert ascends to the helm of Bluebird football this season, and is looking to the skills of returning seniors to help the team take flight after going 1-8 in 2011.
“Over last year, we have a few more numbers, so it’ll be a lot better for us to practice,” said Hiebert, an assistant coach last season and a 2007 GHS graduate. “This year we should be able to be more competitive in practice.”
Hiebert said the Bluebird offensive line should be improved over last year and, combined with the skill players returning, will give GHS a much-needed boost.
Leading the list of returning skill players is senior quarterback Trey Schmidt, who also plays defensive back.
“He’s probably our leader on both sides of the ball,” Hiebert said. “Obviously at quarterback, he knows what’s going on with offense and defense and gets people to the right positions.”
Also returning is senior tight end and defensive back Nic Buller, who saw significant playing time in 2011 and was the Bluebirds’ leading receiver.
“He has good hands and runs great routes, gets himself open and catches the ball well,” Hiebert said.
Also pulling in passes will be Shane Goerzen, who is also a return specialist. Goerzen missed a lot of playing time last year due to injury, Hiebert said, but knows the game well and will be an asset.
“All three of those guys really lead by example,” Hiebert said. “None of them are really huge vocal leaders, but they know what’s going on and get people to the right places—which to me is more important than yelling and screaming all the time.”
Mark Schmidt and Zach Showalter also played both ways last year, rounding out a solid set of upperclassmen whom Goessel will look to for leadership.
GHS welcomes some freshmen to the mix, but Hiebert said he didn’t know if they would be contributing immediately on varsity.
“We look to them for at least special-teams help throughout the year,” Hiebert said. “We need guys like that, younger guys to step in and give some older guys a break, especially on special teams.
“Last year we couldn’t get any of our starters off the field and we got really tired toward the end of games.”
The Bluebirds will hone their skills against a set of teams Goessel has not played in recent years.
Hiebert said he anticipated their toughest opponents will be White City and Hope, the last two games on the schedule.
“It’ll be nice to play some other teams first,” he said. “We’ve been working hard so far, and I think if we keep it up we have a chance to surprise some people.”
The Bluebirds will get their first chance to do that when they take on intra-county rival Centre in a 7 p.m. road game Aug. 31.