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Loaded Kards take nothing for granted

Posted: Friday, August 20, 2004

Two-time defending small-schools state champion Kenai Central head coach Jim Beeson knows his team is the one to beat this season. He also knows Kenai's previous success means nothing when it comes to winning football games.

KENAI CENTRAL KARDINALS

COLORS: Red and black

2003 REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 7-1 (4-0 Northern Lights Conference)

HEAD COACH: Jim Beeson (16th year)

ASSISTANTS: Jim Dawson, Rocky deMello, Clayton Holland, Al Hull, Jim Montgomery, Ken Roser

CAPTAINS: Michael Scheffert, Dakota Craig, Josh Bennett

2004 VARSITY SCHEDULE

Aug. 14 EIELSON 2 p.m.

Aug. 21 LATHROP 2 p.m.

Aug. 28 at Colony 7 p.m.

Sept. 4 KODIAK 2 p.m.

Sept. 11 at Nikiski 2 p.m.

Sept. 17 at Homer 2 p.m.

Sept. 25 SKYVIEW 2 p.m.

Oct. 2 at Soldotna 2 p.m.

Home games in CAPS

"We're not going to win by what we've done in the past," Beeson said in an interview during the Kardinals' first week of practice.

Kenai dominated Northern Lights Conference play last season, leading the conference in both total offense and defense en route to a perfect 5-0 conference record. Kenai ended up going 9-1 on the season, with its only loss coming in a 16-10 defeat to large-school West Anchorage in the first game of the season. Kenai went on to humble the rest of the small-schools division, eventually winning the state title in blowout fashion over Eielson.

But the Kards won't win games this season because they're the defending champs. Beeson said they'll have to do it on the field.

Judging by the early season, Kenai should be in good shape. Kenai has 72 players out for the team this season, including a slew of returning players on varsity that makes this year's squad one of the deepest Beeson can remember. In fact, Beeson said this year's team is so deep, Kenai will likely play most of its linemen just one way a huge advantage in small-schools play.

"We've got so many kids, tough kids, that can play on the line," Beeson said. "It's nice to have the ability to play kids one way."

Kenai's offensive line will include a number of solid players who've seen time in the trenches, including seniors Zach deMello (second-team all-state at guard in 2003), Michael Scheffert (first-team all-state at center) and Sonny Nelson as well as junior Clint Keener.

That line will be much the same as it was last year, when Kenai rolled over opponents with its trademark running game. This year should be much the same. Not only is most of the line back, but the same players will be running through it. Included in that group is the state's small-schools offensive player of the year, Dakota Craig.

The bruising Craig averaged more than 6 yards per carry last season to lead the Northern Lights Conference in rushing as a junior, and Beeson makes no secret that Craig will be the focus of the offense again this season.

"Obviously, (Dakota) is a good place to start," Beeson said.

However, Craig isn't the only weapon in the Kenai backfield. Senior fullback Ryann Hansen (the conference's fifth leading rusher) also returns this season, as does backup tailback junior Brandon Miles, a quick, explosive runner who scored four touchdowns last year and averaged nearly 9 yards per carry in limited action.

When Kenai does look to throw the ball, it's a good bet most of those passes will go the way of senior tight end Josh Bennett, an all-state performer who caught five touchdown passes last season.

The only real question for the Kardinals on offense is at the quarterback position, where Kenai will be looking to replace Cole Chappell.

"That's the one real question we have right now," Beeson said.

Junior Tyler Chappell will get the chance to take over for his brother. Luke Oliver also is available should Chappell falter. Oliver led the junior varsity squad last season, while Chappell has varsity experience though mostly on defense.

On defense, Kenai will look to smother opposing offenses.

Led by all-state linebackers Craig and Scheffert, Kenai's linebacking corps will be expected to make a number of plays for the Kardinals. In addition to the two returning all-state selections, the Kardinals should benefit from the addition of Logan McKay, a senior transfer from Skyview whose muscular 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame was the talk of early season practice.

Up front, a solid corps of returning linemen like the hulking Papapa Nicholas (a junior who is certainly bigger than his listed size of 6-2, 240 pounds), junior Les Krusen and senior Ronnie Rainey should provide a solid line of first defense.

Kenai's line play may be so good, in fact, that Beeson said some of the stiffest competition Kenai will face may be in practice.

"(Josh) Bennett said to me, 'If I can block (Nicholas), I can block anybody,'" Beeson said.

In the secondary, the Kardinals will be tasked with replacing the state's defensive player of the year T.J. Hancock at safety, a position Beeson said Miles is expected to fill. At the corners, seniors Micah Lillard and Marcus Reemstma both return to give Kenai plenty of experience in the defensive backfield.

On special teams, Hansen will again handle the punting duties, while junior newcomer Ju Kim will take over for the departed Jose Araya, who holds the Kenai school record for most extra points in a season. Like Araya, Kim comes from a soccer background, and Beeson said he's coming along nicely as a placekicker. The Kardinals only two sophomores, Stuart Stretch and Michael Dormady, also could step in immediately to make plays on defense and special teams.

With key players returning at so many positions, it looks as if Kenai should be flying high again this season. However, Beeson said he's not taking anything for granted, and continually tries to let his players know how important it is to stay focused on playing one game at a time.

"One of our words this season is 'action,'" he said. "You don't just go out and have it happen."

By MATT TUNSETH

Peninsula Clarion

Two-time defending small-schools state champion Kenai Central head coach Jim Beeson knows his team is the one to beat this season. He also knows Kenai's previous success means nothing when it comes to winning football games.

KENAI CENTRAL KARDINALS

COLORS: Red and black

2003 REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 7-1 (4-0 Northern Lights Conference)

HEAD COACH: Jim Beeson (16th year)

ASSISTANTS: Jim Dawson, Rocky deMello, Clayton Holland, Al Hull, Jim Montgomery, Ken Roser

CAPTAINS: Michael Scheffert, Dakota Craig, Josh Bennett

2004 VARSITY SCHEDULE

Aug. 14 EIELSON 2 p.m.

Aug. 21 LATHROP 2 p.m.

Aug. 28 at Colony 7 p.m.

Sept. 4 KODIAK 2 p.m.

Sept. 11 at Nikiski 2 p.m.

Sept. 17 at Homer 2 p.m.

Sept. 25 SKYVIEW 2 p.m.

Oct. 2 at Soldotna 2 p.m.

Home games in CAPS

"We're not going to win by what we've done in the past," Beeson said in an interview during the Kardinals' first week of practice.

Kenai dominated Northern Lights Conference play last season, leading the conference in both total offense and defense en route to a perfect 5-0 conference record. Kenai ended up going 9-1 on the season, with its only loss coming in a 16-10 defeat to large-school West Anchorage in the first game of the season. Kenai went on to humble the rest of the small-schools division, eventually winning the state title in blowout fashion over Eielson.

But the Kards won't win games this season because they're the defending champs. Beeson said they'll have to do it on the field.

Judging by the early season, Kenai should be in good shape. Kenai has 72 players out for the team this season, including a slew of returning players on varsity that makes this year's squad one of the deepest Beeson can remember. In fact, Beeson said this year's team is so deep, Kenai will likely play most of its linemen just one way a huge advantage in small-schools play.

"We've got so many kids, tough kids, that can play on the line," Beeson said. "It's nice to have the ability to play kids one way."

Kenai's offensive line will include a number of solid players who've seen time in the trenches, including seniors Zach deMello (second-team all-state at guard in 2003), Michael Scheffert (first-team all-state at center) and Sonny Nelson as well as junior Clint Keener.

That line will be much the same as it was last year, when Kenai rolled over opponents with its trademark running game. This year should be much the same. Not only is most of the line back, but the same players will be running through it. Included in that group is the state's small-schools offensive player of the year, Dakota Craig.

The bruising Craig averaged more than 6 yards per carry last season to lead the Northern Lights Conference in rushing as a junior, and Beeson makes no secret that Craig will be the focus of the offense again this season.

"Obviously, (Dakota) is a good place to start," Beeson said.

However, Craig isn't the only weapon in the Kenai backfield. Senior fullback Ryann Hansen (the conference's fifth leading rusher) also returns this season, as does backup tailback junior Brandon Miles, a quick, explosive runner who scored four touchdowns last year and averaged nearly 9 yards per carry in limited action.

When Kenai does look to throw the ball, it's a good bet most of those passes will go the way of senior tight end Josh Bennett, an all-state performer who caught five touchdown passes last season.

The only real question for the Kardinals on offense is at the quarterback position, where Kenai will be looking to replace Cole Chappell.

"That's the one real question we have right now," Beeson said.

Junior Tyler Chappell will get the chance to take over for his brother. Luke Oliver also is available should Chappell falter. Oliver led the junior varsity squad last season, while Chappell has varsity experience though mostly on defense.

On defense, Kenai will look to smother opposing offenses.

Led by all-state linebackers Craig and Scheffert, Kenai's linebacking corps will be expected to make a number of plays for the Kardinals. In addition to the two returning all-state selections, the Kardinals should benefit from the addition of Logan McKay, a senior transfer from Skyview whose muscular 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame was the talk of early season practice.

Up front, a solid corps of returning linemen like the hulking Papapa Nicholas (a junior who is certainly bigger than his listed size of 6-2, 240 pounds), junior Les Krusen and senior Ronnie Rainey should provide a solid line of first defense.

Kenai's line play may be so good, in fact, that Beeson said some of the stiffest competition Kenai will face may be in practice.

"(Josh) Bennett said to me, 'If I can block (Nicholas), I can block anybody,'" Beeson said.

In the secondary, the Kardinals will be tasked with replacing the state's defensive player of the year T.J. Hancock at safety, a position Beeson said Miles is expected to fill. At the corners, seniors Micah Lillard and Marcus Reemstma both return to give Kenai plenty of experience in the defensive backfield.

On special teams, Hansen will again handle the punting duties, while junior newcomer Ju Kim will take over for the departed Jose Araya, who holds the Kenai school record for most extra points in a season. Like Araya, Kim comes from a soccer background, and Beeson said he's coming along nicely as a placekicker. The Kardinals only two sophomores, Stuart Stretch and Michael Dormady, also could step in immediately to make plays on defense and special teams.

With key players returning at so many positions, it looks as if Kenai should be flying high again this season. However, Beeson said he's not taking anything for granted, and continually tries to let his players know how important it is to stay focused on playing one game at a time.

"One of our words this season is 'action,'" he said. "You don't just go out and have it happen."

Loaded Kards take nothing for granted

By MATT TUNSETH

Peninsula Clarion

Two-time defending small-schools state champion Kenai Central head coach Jim Beeson knows his team is the one to beat this season. He also knows Kenai's previous success means nothing when it comes to winning football games.

KENAI CENTRAL KARDINALS

COLORS: Red and black

2003 REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 7-1 (4-0 Northern Lights Conference)

HEAD COACH: Jim Beeson (16th year)

ASSISTANTS: Jim Dawson, Rocky deMello, Clayton Holland, Al Hull, Jim Montgomery, Ken Roser

CAPTAINS: Michael Scheffert, Dakota Craig, Josh Bennett

2004 VARSITY SCHEDULE

Aug. 14 EIELSON 2 p.m.

Aug. 21 LATHROP 2 p.m.

Aug. 28 at Colony 7 p.m.

Sept. 4 KODIAK 2 p.m.

Sept. 11 at Nikiski 2 p.m.

Sept. 17 at Homer 2 p.m.

Sept. 25 SKYVIEW 2 p.m.

Oct. 2 at Soldotna 2 p.m.

Home games in CAPS

"We're not going to win by what we've done in the past," Beeson said in an interview during the Kardinals' first week of practice.

Kenai dominated Northern Lights Conference play last season, leading the conference in both total offense and defense en route to a perfect 5-0 conference record. Kenai ended up going 9-1 on the season, with its only loss coming in a 16-10 defeat to large-school West Anchorage in the first game of the season. Kenai went on to humble the rest of the small-schools division, eventually winning the state title in blowout fashion over Eielson.

But the Kards won't win games this season because they're the defending champs. Beeson said they'll have to do it on the field.

Judging by the early season, Kenai should be in good shape. Kenai has 72 players out for the team this season, including a slew of returning players on varsity that makes this year's squad one of the deepest Beeson can remember. In fact, Beeson said this year's team is so deep, Kenai will likely play most of its linemen just one way a huge advantage in small-schools play.

"We've got so many kids, tough kids, that can play on the line," Beeson said. "It's nice to have the ability to play kids one way."

Kenai's offensive line will include a number of solid players who've seen time in the trenches, including seniors Zach deMello (second-team all-state at guard in 2003), Michael Scheffert (first-team all-state at center) and Sonny Nelson as well as junior Clint Keener.

That line will be much the same as it was last year, when Kenai rolled over opponents with its trademark running game. This year should be much the same. Not only is most of the line back, but the same players will be running through it. Included in that group is the state's small-schools offensive player of the year, Dakota Craig.

The bruising Craig averaged more than 6 yards per carry last season to lead the Northern Lights Conference in rushing as a junior, and Beeson makes no secret that Craig will be the focus of the offense again this season.

"Obviously, (Dakota) is a good place to start," Beeson said.

However, Craig isn't the only weapon in the Kenai backfield. Senior fullback Ryann Hansen (the conference's fifth leading rusher) also returns this season, as does backup tailback junior Brandon Miles, a quick, explosive runner who scored four touchdowns last year and averaged nearly 9 yards per carry in limited action.

When Kenai does look to throw the ball, it's a good bet most of those passes will go the way of senior tight end Josh Bennett, an all-state performer who caught five touchdown passes last season.

The only real question for the Kardinals on offense is at the quarterback position, where Kenai will be looking to replace Cole Chappell.

"That's the one real question we have right now," Beeson said.

Junior Tyler Chappell will get the chance to take over for his brother. Luke Oliver also is available should Chappell falter. Oliver led the junior varsity squad last season, while Chappell has varsity experience though mostly on defense.

On defense, Kenai will look to smother opposing offenses.

Led by all-state linebackers Craig and Scheffert, Kenai's linebacking corps will be expected to make a number of plays for the Kardinals. In addition to the two returning all-state selections, the Kardinals should benefit from the addition of Logan McKay, a senior transfer from Skyview whose muscular 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame was the talk of early season practice.

Up front, a solid corps of returning linemen like the hulking Papapa Nicholas (a junior who is certainly bigger than his listed size of 6-2, 240 pounds), junior Les Krusen and senior Ronnie Rainey should provide a solid line of first defense.

Kenai's line play may be so good, in fact, that Beeson said some of the stiffest competition Kenai will face may be in practice.

"(Josh) Bennett said to me, 'If I can block (Nicholas), I can block anybody,'" Beeson said.

In the secondary, the Kardinals will be tasked with replacing the state's defensive player of the year T.J. Hancock at safety, a position Beeson said Miles is expected to fill. At the corners, seniors Micah Lillard and Marcus Reemstma both return to give Kenai plenty of experience in the defensive backfield.

On special teams, Hansen will again handle the punting duties, while junior newcomer Ju Kim will take over for the departed Jose Araya, who holds the Kenai school record for most extra points in a season. Like Araya, Kim comes from a soccer background, and Beeson said he's coming along nicely as a placekicker. The Kardinals only two sophomores, Stuart Stretch and Michael Dormady, also could step in immediately to make plays on defense and special teams.

With key players returning at so many positions, it looks as if Kenai should be flying high again this season. However, Beeson said he's not taking anything for granted, and continually tries to let his players know how important it is to stay focused on playing one game at a time.

"One of our words this season is 'action,'" he said. "You don't just go out and have it happen."



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