In an election year, the question is, are you better off now than you were four years ago?
For the Kenai Kardinals, that answer is shaping up to be a yes.
"We're probably further along and doing better than we have in the past couple of years," said Kenai coach Jim Beeson.
Kenai went 2-6 overall last year and 1-5 in the Northern Lights Conference. The Kardinals were able to move the ball and score points, posting 129 in eight games last season, but a lack of size along the defensive line hurt as the Kardinals were ranked last in the conference on defense.
The Kardinals have four of five starters along the offensive line returning from last season in Dominic Plasencia, Steven Campanella, Dane Myers and Justin Hogue, giving Beeson a solid foundation.
Colors: Red and black
1999 RECORD: 2-6 (1-5 NLC)
HEAD COACH: Jim Beeson (11th year)
ASSISTANTS: Jim Dawson, Al Hull, Jim Montgomery, Ken Roser
CAPTAINS: Justin Hogue, Dominic Plasencia, Jeff Jackson
2000 VARSITY SCHEDULE
Aug. 12 at Eielson 3 p.m.
Aug. 18 KETCHIKAN 7 p.m.
Junior Varsity -- Juniors: Jason Young, Derek LaShot, Travis Carroll. Sophomores: Michaek Tunseth, Drew Cramer, Jason Brown, Jacob Stanfield, Josh Franklin, Casey Crowder, James Haddock, Patrick Vanheck, Brandon Stromberg, Chase Townsend, Dan Weisz, Logan Manser, Matt Mayer, John Hall, Austin Boyd, Shaun Fallon. Freshmen: Jacob Madrid, T.J. Hancock, Cole Chappell, Tyler Morris, Brandon Reed, Cameron McGahan, Luke Pierce, Geordan Main, Kenny Dormady, Mike Figalo, Savala Swearingen, Kyle Stanton, T.J. Soares, Steven Blunk, Brian Tweedy, Brad Barton, Carlito O'Dell, Jason Anderson.
Aug. 25 NIKISKI 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 at Bartlett (AFS) 3 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Homer 2 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Soldotna 2 p.m.
Sept. 23 SKYVIEW 3 p.m.
Home games in CAPS
Beeson has senior Jeff Jackson penciled in at halfback and senior Mike Brown at fullback.
"On the offensive side, the biggest question mark is quarterback," Beeson said. "We've got three kids trying out there. We just have to find someone who can hand the ball off -- we're going to be running the ball a lot."
Senior Ross Baldwin, junior Wally Ward and sophomore Cory Janson are all up for the position.
Beeson said that if Janson isn't calling the signals, he'll still be on the field.
"As a freshman he started on both sides of the ball -- he's a talented kid," Beeson said.
Kenai running backs should find some bigger holes this season as the Kardinals have been able to put some decent size along their line.
"This is the first year we have some decent size," Beeson said. "It's as good a group in terms of size, tenacity and just wanting to line up and play football as I've had in four or five years."
Kenai assistant coach Jim Dawson had the same observations concerning the Kardinals defense.
"We're stronger than we were last year," Dawson said. "We've got a solid front line, a good corps of linebackers and some experienced defensive backs."
Hogue will anchor the defensive line and Plasencia will play linebacker.
Beeson said that realignment of the Northern Lights Conference has had a positive effect on the Kardinals program.
"Overall, we're a little more excited about being able to have a chance," Beeson said. "Any of the peninsula schools could end up being in the playoffs. I think it's going to be a very competitive season. With the changes, we play Skyview last. It'll come down to the last couple weeks of the season, which is probably the way it should be."
Beeson said that he hopes the Kardinals will continue to improve throughout the season.
"I think we're ahead of where we were last season," Beeson said. "Hopefully, that will translate into a better season in terms of wins and losses."
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