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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Wildcats' belief in system leads to 5-0 start

  • There is always one football team every season that comes out from the shadows and surprises the area with their unexpected great play.
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  • There is always one football team every season that comes out from the shadows and surprises the area with their unexpected great play.
    This year's team is the Minneola Wildcats, a team with a new coach that is unbeaten in five games in 2012 after a combined 4-14 the previous two seasons on the gridiron.
    "Our guys have just bought into the program," said Minneola head coach Rego Hann, a former assistant at Dodge City High who became the Wildcats' coach this summer. "What these kids starting this summer was to lifting the weights and doing what they needed to do before the season. I must admit it's the darnedest thing I've ever seen.
    "These kids want to win and know what they need to do — to put the time into it — and they've just taken it to the next level. They have just grown up in the past five to six weeks."
    The Wildcats are under their third coach in four years with seven seniors starting on both sides of the ball.
    The offense has been led quarterback Matt Mcclaren. Mcclaren has 1,394 rushing yards (a 12.56-yard per carry average) and 26 touchdowns; and also has the ability to throw the ball when needed.
    As a team, the Wildcats average 388.4 yards and 53.6 points a game and Hahn said a big contribution of how successful the offense has been goes to the four offensive linemen.
    "Our offensive line are buying into the blocking schemes," Hahn said. "A lot of times, it's not just the quarterback and receivers running routes; these guys are working on the fundamentals of blocking. By doing that, they've seen the results into their hard work."
    What is even more impressive of the Wildcats' defense. Minneola has allowed only six points in their last three games (zero to Ashland and Bucklin and six to Deerfield), and have been a wall against opposing offenses, giving up only three yards against Bucklin and seven against Ashland.
    The Wildcats opened up the season with road wins at Kiowa County (40-20) and Fowler (66-22) and have never really been challenged this season. Minneola has averaged four sacks a game with senior Jacob Dreiling recording six sacks this season and leading the team in tackles with 25.
    "Our defensive coordinator, Randy Shumate, makes sure our kids know what they are going to be looking at Friday night," Hahn said. "He does a good job of repping those kids during the week and I've never seen any coach put more effort into his gameplan.
    "The kids do a nice job of getting where he wants them in position to a point where the kids want to bring it."
    That all means nothing Friday night as the Wildcats travel to South Gray to face the defending Eight-Man Division I runner-up Rebels. Hahn knows this game will be the toughest challenge Minneola has faced all season with a seasoned-coach in Jeff Blattner directing the Rebels. South Gray is 3-2 overall, but are coming off last week's 70-20 victory at Satanta.
    Page 2 of 2 - "Jeff Blattner is right in the mix with those great 11-man football coaches," Hahn said. "When you look at the programs he's had in the past and then to go over there (to South Gray) and in two or three years put them as state runner-up, you know he's going to bring it. He will definitely have his players ready to play and they have a lot of talent over there, too."

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