An improved offensive line and the health of returning junior quarterback Collin Sutton provide optimism for the Winfield Warriors as they look for improvement in 2017.
The Warriors, under the guidance of Keith McGlasson, believe they have the players to improve on their 3-7 record. Graduating was Josh Cook, Joey Marko, Bobby Blunt and Chase Wright.
McGlasson has all-purpose Collin Sutton back and healthy to lead the offense.
“We are hoping to limit Collin to offense only this season,” said McGlasson.
Sutton, in six games before being sidelined due to a high ankle sprain, rushed for 780 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also threw for 1,445 yards passing and 17 touchdowns with only four interception.
“Collin is an all-around quality kid who excels in sports he participates in,” said the coach. “He is one of our team leaders. We look for good things when he touches the ball.”
Key returnees in the backfield will be Branden Resto, Carter Bauer and Lane Moody.
Anchoring the offensive line will be John Hogan, Zach Perkins, Anthony Heintzelman, Charles Lindsay, and Jake Colbert.
“Overall, they are smaller than last year’s line but I think more athletically,” said McGlasson. “They have been working very hard during early season drills.”
McGlasson added that several of the players will see duty both ways but he is buoyed with a larger number of players out for the team. “We have approximately 50 kids grades 9-12 competing which should allow us to alternate players in and out,” he said.
Some other key players on defense will be Kiyah Christensen, Drew Smith, Hogan, Perkins and Bauer, as well as Dillon Dildine.
Competition continues to see who will handle the kickoff and punting chores now open to the graduation of Turner McGlasson.
The Warriors open their season Aug. 18 when they travel to Wright City for a non-conference tilt with the Wildcats at 7 p.m.. Their home opener is the third game of the season when they host Confluence Academy.
Winfield competes in the North Division in the Gateway Athletic Conference. They haven’t fared that well with Sutton’s absence felt primarily in those games. That division includes Orchard Farm, St. Charles, St. Charles West and Warrenton.