Experience, speed raises expectations for GHS football

The Goessel football team returns 11 seniors, eight starters and 12 letter-winners in 2006. Pictured are: front row (from left) Dustin Peterson, Nick Cooper, Wade Wilson, Travis Buller, Kurtis Duerksen, Sheldon Goerzen, Brett Goerzen; back row, Zach Frey, Jordan Voth, Bubba Holder, Alex Drake, Nathan Amstutz, Garrett Hiebert, Grady Stultz.

The Goessel High Bluebirds football team graduated eight players last season, but with 11 returning seniors, coach Justin Coup’s squad will be very competitive this fall.

After an 8-3 season in 2005, the Bluebirds have eight starters and 12 letter-winners coming back to build on last year’s successes.

Coup’s team, earning a berth out of Class 1A Eight-Man Division I District No. 5, finished last year as bi-district champions and runner-up at regionals.

Led by senior quarterback Garrett Hiebert and senior running backs Brett Goerzen and Travis Buller, the Bluebirds will attack opposing defenses with their speed.

“We will be a very fast offensive and defensive team, not as big as last year, but faster,” Coup said.

At 6-feet-3, 245 pounds, senior Alex Drake will bring size and veteran leadership to the offensive line.

According to Coup, “Solidifying an offensive line will be essential before we begin difficult district play.”

Working with Coup will be assistant coaches Jeff Penner and David Goerzen.

Penner works with the offensive and defensive lines, and Goerzen is defensive coordinator.

The Bluebirds’ defense will have four returning starters: senior linemen Kurtis Duerksen and Bubba Holder will apply pressure in front of senior linebackers Jordan Voth and Buller.

“Defensively, we need to find a team leader and enforcer; hopefully the summer workouts will pay off and some young men will step in and do a great job,” said Coup.

“Several (newcomers) have stepped up that we’re going to need after graduating such a big senior class.”

Among the new faces will be senior Zach Frey and sophomores Craig Banman, Travis Fensky, Austin Unruh and Kendall Voth.

“They will compete and play significant parts during the game, whether its special teams, offense or defense,” Coup said.

Coup is in his fourth year at Goessel and has compiled an overall record of 17-14.

The Bluebirds open the season Friday with a game at Norwich. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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