Banner County football team enters new division
     2013-08-29      By Jerry Purvis    newsatgeringcitizen.com
Courtesy photo - The 2013 Banner County football team includes, front row from left, Abby Russell, Cresencio Castillo, Jeremy Gevara, Robby Fonseco, Kaden Huber, Dalton Jordan and Garrett Grubbs;back row, Coach Johnson, Bryce Olsen, Wyatt Nielsen, Brenton Soule, Tyson Dahlgrin, Ben Hostetler, Cole Blanke and Coach Jackson. Not pictured: Michael McKown. 
The Banner County football team enters the 2013 campaign in a new division and with a new head coach.
This year, the Wildcats will play 6-man football in Division D-2 and high school principal Heath Johnson has taken over as head coach.
Johnson has five years experience in coaching 6-man football and this year he’ll be in charge of 14 players.

“This is the first year Banner County has played 6-man ball and I think practice is going well,” Johnson said. “It’s nice that we’re all in this boat at the same time. We have four seniors and six juniors returning so we have some experience there.”

He added the team he has is quite agile and is built for the style of football played at the 6-man level.
The Wildcats have an eight-game schedule this year with four at home. “We couldn’t be happier with how that turned out,” Johnson said. “The distance we travel will increase a little with Hyannis as the nearest away game.”

Johnson said he’s talked with the team and told them this was their season, asking what they want out of it. “This is new for us, so we what to be as competitive as we can. Obviously we want to win every game.”

Johnson has experience with the same type of situation Banner County faced last school year. He was an assistant coach at Rock County High School when their football team switched from 8-man to 6-man.
“The team had struggled in 8-man ball,” he said. “Once we made the switch, no one knew exactly what to expect. I expect some apprehension in our early games, just like what we had at Rock County.”

Although the Wildcats have played Arthur before, many of their opponents will be new for them, including Minatare, Hyannis and Wauneta-Palisade. “We play most our games in the afternoon, so I’ll put a lot of emphasis on conditioning and making sure the team is ready,” he said.

Johnson is also pleased with what he’s been seeing in the first weeks of practice. “I’m surprised by their football IQ,” he said. “They have it figured out as how they respond to different plays. We can run a bunch of different sets with different kids. This team allows us to run an I formation, a spread formation or about anything we want to do depending on the defense we see.”

Banner County schedule

Aug. 30 at Hyannis, 2 p.m.
Sept. 6 at Cody-Kilgore, 2 p.m.
Sept. 13 vs. Sioux County, 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Maywood, 6 p.m.
Sept. 27 vs. Arthur County, 1 p.m.
Oct. 4 vs. Minatare, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Wauneta Palisade, 3 p.m.
Oct. 18 vs. Lindsey Holy Family, 3 p.m.

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