Coach: Dan Henderson
Looking Back at
Season Record: 7-5 Overall Record, 4-3 District
At Home: 7-1
On the Road: 0-4
PF: 426 PA: 390
This is not the same Osage Indians team as 2012. This 2013 class of football players doesn't have a large group of seniors.
The Indians' biggest opponent in the 2012 season was not any of the teams on the field, but the injuries. A number of starters fell victim to the injury bug before the first game of the season, so a number of positions were filled by young and inexperienced players.
That being said, they still managed to battle past the injuries to return to the district championship game, where they were outplayed by Eldon.
The mistakes of 2012 have been analyzed many times over, both by the coaching staff and the players themselves. They know what they need to do now.
This year's squad is still a young one, but the potential is there for something big to happen.
The Indians' offense is not the same as the last season. They have adjusted some of the plays to fit the skills sets they have. There are many new faces in the starting roles.
The offense will be led by Austin Riley, the second-string quarterback last season. He has the arm and good mobility. And he has the support of his team, evidenced at practices. They follow his commands. He is their guy.
Dylan Jeffries is the All-State receiver returning to the offense in his senior year, and will be the focus of opposing defenses. Double coverage MIGHT slow him down, but it will open up other players, such as fellow wide out Collin Samuelson, who started to show some great potential last season with big plays, or to Jake Ulmer at tight end.
And with teams focusing on trying to shut down the passing game, it will take guys out of the box and open up the run-game for Seth Crooks, who will take over the role of tailback, which was a role Donald Hudlmeyer was expected to hold in 2012 before injury removed him for the entire season. The team searched for a spark at that position for the majority of the season, and in 2013, they finally have someone to bring another threat to the offense.
Defensively, the Indians had trouble stopping the run last season, and with a number of players graduated from the defensive side of the ball, one would expect them to struggle again. But Coach Henderson thinks this season's defense might already be better than the previous year's, with a number of younger players picking up valuable experience.
"We've got 6 or 7 guys who are returning to our defense," Henderson said. "We can't afford to lose anyone. We're not very deep. We'll still have to take care of the football, and do all of those coaching clichés, like protecting the ball."
Page 2 of 2 - Coach Henderson has been working the team hard to make sure they're prepared, with plenty of conditioning drills. He wants his team to play all four quarters with everything they've got.
"This is where it matters," he tells them. "We can't get into one of those high-scoring track meets. If we can get to the 4th quarter, we feel that if you give us a chance, we'll find a way."
The team's motto is a simple one: get better every day.
"I hope this is one of those teams that just keeps getting better and better," Henderson said. "It's about confidence, and you want to find a way to get that win, and build up that confidence. Our kids will compete with great effort. We just have to do it consistently and keep getting better."