The Dodge City Red Demons football team opens the season at 7 p.m. tonight in Wichita. Their opponent will be the Wichita West Pioneers, a team which finished last season 3-6 and failed to make the state tournament.
It’s a game Red Demons head coach Dave Foster said he thinks his team can win, and it’s far from the only one on their schedule he thinks that about.
“I told the kids, I said ‘With the mix of kids we got back and the kids that came up out of that freshman group that are sophomores, we’re capable of playing with every team on our schedule and winning out,’” Foster said. “That’s the type of tools that we have.”
But for that to happen, there will also have to be some growth from that youth.
“Now some of them are young tools, and they’re going to have some positive experiences early in the season for us to be able to take those kinds of steps,” Foster said. “We play (Wichita) West right of the bat (today), they’re a very competitive football team that two years beat us. That’s our only season-opener that we’ve lost since I’ve been in Dodge.”
Some of the players on this season’s roster remember that, and that can be helpful, especially in the case of that game, which Foster said the Red Demons should have won.
“This group of kids does remember that that can happen,” Foster said.
Absent from this year’s roster is former star-running back Taylor Garcia, who graduated after last season. Star-quarterback Dawson Williams, however, does return. Williams had 25 touchdowns last season, nearly breaking the school-record of 26. Just like last year, Williams will be one of the key players on the offensive side of the ball this season.
But Foster said one of the biggest questions will be whether or not the offensive line can play well enough to help that Demons move the ball on the ground. If they can, Foster said this offense will extremely dangerous.
“If we’re able to achieve what we were a year ago, then the magic x-factor is how well can we disperse this ball to the perimeter to a more athletic group of skill kids,” Foster said.
Those wide receivers and skill players could have a major impact if the offensive line is able to hold of opposing defensive lines and set the offense up for potential big plays, Foster said.
“Now, all of a sudden, a line-of-scrimmage fast-screen can go 80 (yards) because that’s what this group of kids is capable of,” Foster said. “If we’re not able to consistently get that ball out there we’re going to have everybody in the box at the party that we had last year, and now it’s a dogfight to see who can do that consistently. At some point you can’t just be a run-only team, somebody’s going to have better Jimmy’s and Joe’s in the box.”
The Dodge City Red Demons take on the Wichita West Pioneers at 7 p.m. tonight in Northwest Stadium in Wichita.