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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Greenbacks looking to rebound

  • Following a 2013 season marred by tragedy and marked by less success than one might have hoped for, head football coach Jamie Cruce looks to turn things around in his second season at Pratt High School.
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    • PHS football schedule

      Sept. 5 — @ Lyons


      Sept. 12 — v. Plainville


      Sept. 19 — @Hoisington


      Sept. 26 — v. Kingman


      Oct. 3 — @Nickerson


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      PHS football schedule

      Sept. 5 — @ Lyons



      Sept. 12 — v. Plainville



      Sept. 19 — @Hoisington



      Sept. 26 — v. Kingman



      Oct. 3 — @Nickerson



      Oct. 10— v. Hesston (H)



      Oct. 17* — @ Hugoton Oct. 24*- v. Holcomb(S)



      Oct. 31* — @ Larned



      Nov. 7 — Regional



      Nov. 14 — Sectional



      Nov. 21 — Sub-state



      Nov. 29 — State *District games



      (H) Homecoming (S) Senior Night

  •  Following a 2013 season marred by tragedy and marked by less success than one might have hoped for, head football coach Jamie Cruce looks to turn things around in his second season at Pratt High School.
    “We are better now than we were at this stage of the season last year,” Coach Cruce stated.
    One area of concern is numbers, as the freshman and junior classes are unusually small. “We expect our numbers to shake out in the low 40s when it’s all said and done,” Cruce projected. “We are not a large squad in terms of numbers, but I like the kids we have. They have bought into the system. We’ll have a tough team. We’re going to compete.”
    One change Greenback fans will notice this season is more of an emphasis on ball control on offense. Last year, off-season preparations had focused on the spread, and when tragedy took the life of Drake Evert, the projected starting QB, it was too late to implement a change of direction on offense— even though that style may not have been quite as appropriate in the absence of Evert.
    This year, Brandon Ruckle is back at QB, but he will not be asked to sling it around as much. Fullback Sean Noel will get more touches and Hunter Kaufman and Derek Barnard will be expected to make plays. TE Ethan Sharp will be in the mix as well.
    The offensive line has some experience returning. Jared Theis will move to center, where Cruce says he is looking good in early workouts. Adam Bartel and Chance Henke are seniors who return to the OL. One projected returner, Matt Loomis, has been lost to shoulder surgery. As a result, one area of concern for the Greenbacks might be depth on the O-line.
    Defensively, the Greenbacks look solid up front with Hunter Doyle, Josh Ash, Traik Peltier and Theis returning. At linebacker, Noel and Sharp will join Spencer Sullivan as returners. The secondary has experience returning as well with Tyler Skaggs at safety, and Barnard and Kaufman also in the defensive backfield.
    Last year, the youthful Greenbacks started a lot of sophomores, and even some freshmen. With that year of experience under their belts, this year’s sophs and juniors will be expected to perform at the same level of maturity as the corps of seniors— which is solid.
    There are some new foes on the schedule this season, as Hoisington (a new CKL member) and Plainville have been added. The district will consist of Larned, Hugoton and, new to 4AII, Holcomb who is preseason ranked #5.
    Coach Cruce isn’t focusing on his opponents just yet, however. “We are more concerned with ourselves,” he explained. “We need to improve and get ready to compete.”
    Page 2 of 2 - “We just assume that everyone is going to be good that we play,” he said. “So we have to be able to execute. We’re going to have to play our best to be able to win games. So our focus is on getting to be the best we can be.”
    Cruce did admit that one of the team’s goals is to reach the playoffs this season— something that has eluded the Greenbacks in recent campaigns. “But,” he commented, “our players can’t be thinking so much about making the playoffs that it causes them to flub their assignments.”
    “We’ll worry about doing things right first,” he continued, “then see where that gets us at the end of the season. Our first goal is to improve and play our best. We’ll just take it one game at a time. We don’t want to get caught looking too far ahead.”
    Cruce is assisted this year by Bob Smith, Tyler Strong, Steve Landry, Lance Fuller, Levi Poindexter and Jason Gallagher. The Greenbacks will open the season on the road at Lyons September 5 at 7 p.m.
     
     

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