The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

Football team adapts to new leadership, pushes underclassmen

Usually, the start of the season means filling in spots left by graduated seniors. While this is still a factor for the 2023 Yutan football team, the surplus of seniors is what makes this change so easy and is setting the tone for a successful season.

“Last year we only had five seniors, and this year we have 12, which makes a big difference when you’re installing stuff,” said head coach Dan Krajicek.

Since there are so many seniors on the team, open leadership roles and positions from the past years are easy to fill.

During the homecoming game, the seniors run towards the student section after defeating North Bend. The Chieftains won their homecoming game 28-20. (Loganne Barta)

“We have a lot more leadership on the team this year,” said senior Jesse Kult, who plays safety and fullback. “Lots of depth on the team is a plus to have a lot of backups.”

To step up as leaders, one thing the seniors have been doing is conditioning every day outside of practice. This is because of the large number of players who got injured from cramping during the hottest weeks of the year, which included the first game of the season. 

“Part of the reason we lost to Malcolm was how many guys went out because of cramps. They’ve taken it on themselves to condition out of practice and have pre-game hydration,” said Krajicek.

Along with having many senior leaders, many of the underclassmen have positive skill sets that the coaches can implement in games and in practices.  

“We have a lot more younger guys stepping up, which is nice,” said senior running back Cole Smith.

One of the main places they have stepped up is by filling positions in practices. This helps everyone on the team to practice important skills to maximize everyone’s abilities.

Senior Braxton Wentworth looks to throw a pass downfield at a game against Malcolm. Wentworth has 550 total passing yards and 5 total passing touchdowns so far this season. (Jade Lewis)

“We’ve been able to run two scout teams and have everybody play both sides of the ball,” said senior quarterback and safety Braxton Wentworth.

While having a surplus of skilled players this year is a plus, the Yutan football team still needs to adjust to their new roles, like every new season.

“We’re still figuring out our positions a little bit, which could leave us vulnerable to opponents right now,” said senior Derek Wacker, who plays fullback and linebacker.

Once they are able to figure out their positions, Wacker is looking forward to the progress they will make until the end of the season.

“I’m most looking forward to the opportunities to get our names out there because not a lot of people believe in us right now,” Wacker said. 

Krajicek agrees, as his goal in this season is to achieve the most with the players’ abilities. While this may not be winning state, to Krajicek, he still has high hopes for this football season.

“My goals are just to squeeze every bit of opportunity and talent out of the kids,” said Krajicek. “The goal is to achieve what we are capable of.”

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About the Contributors
Loganne Barta, Junior writer
Loganne Barta is a junior and in her third year of journalism.  She enjoys writing features and sports stories.  Outside journalism, Loganne is involved in FCA, NHS, FFA, student council and showing livestock through 4-H.
Jade Lewis, Junior writer
Jade Lewis is a junior and is in her second year of journalism.  She enjoys writing stories and taking photos. Outside journalism, Jade is involved in NHS,  basketball, and lifting at Saunders County Medical Center.
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