Archive for Friday, September 5, 2008

Veritas kicks off season today against Flint Hills

The high school football season opens this week in the state of Kansas. And on the eight-man gridiron, the Veritas Christian Eagles are preparing for a Friday home opener with Flint Hills Christian. That's the first step to ready Veritas for another postseason run.

September 5, 2008


Veritas Christian High football players won't awe opponents when they step off the bus.

Only one member of the Eagles' 15-man varsity roster weighs more than 200 pounds, and 6-foot-2, 246-pound sophomore Winston Miller isn't listed as a probable starter.

"Our lack of size is a little concerning," Veritas coach Doug Bennett said. "But I'm a strong believer it doesn't take big guys to make big blocks."

Bennett will find out tonight when the Eagles open against Flint Hills Christian.

Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. on the Eagles' home field behind First Church of the Nazarene on 1000 Road about a quarter-mile west of Haskell Avenue.

Bennett has another concern as the Eagles embark on their fifth season of eight-man football as members of the Kansas Christian Athletic Assn.

"We have a couple of players nicked," Bennett said.

Running back Jeremiah Johnson and fullback Ethan Scott are nursing groin and hand injuries, respectively. Johnson, a 6-2, 155-pound senior, is expected to be the Eagles' primary offensive weapon, both as a ball-carrier and a receiver.

Then there's the unsettled quarterback position. Bennett has Neal Daniels, a 6-0, 185-pound senior, but Daniels is a transfer from Olathe Christian and did not play football last year. Behind Daniels is Nick Bennett, a 5-9, 145-pound freshman who led the Veritas junior high team to a 5-1 record last season.

On the offensive line, the Veritas starters are Daniel Metcalf at center, John Smerchek and Hogan Randall at the guards and Ethan Kay and Jacob Reynolds at the ends. Most of the offensive starters will also play on defense.

After tonight's opener, the Eagles' biggest problem may be avoiding an accumulation of rest. They were scheduled to play Springfield, Mo., Christian next week, but the Missouri school had to cancel for lack of players. And Bennett couldn't fill the Sept. 19 slot.

Thus Veritas has only seven games scheduled, plus a KCAA playoff game in early November.

Veritas started 0-4 last season on the way to a 5-5 record, and Bennett hopes to avoid a similar sluggish start this time.

"Our early schedule was extremely tough last year," he said. "It's been shuffled a little bit to start the season. We still can't take anyone for granted, but hopefully we can build some confidence."

Flint Hills Christian initiated its football program in 2006. Also known as the Eagles, the Manhattan-based school compiled an 0-5 record last year.

- Sports writer Chuck Woodling can be reached at 832-6348.


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