It was the first time in 39 years the Notre Dame Knights appeared in a state championship game…
The Knights came up short in the Division III state title game last year…falling to Hill Country 66-50
But not before a district championship, though, finishing the season with a 9-3 record.
“It was a fun year, a good year, I think it’s going to make us hungrier this year to go even farther and possibly win the whole thing,” says Notre Dame head coach, Don Carlson.
The Knights lose big names David Salazar and Jake Abernathy, but Carlson is excited about this year’s group, which includes senior, two-way All-State, Skyler Whitten, who rushed for 1500 yards in 2015 and tallied over 700 yards receiving – 37 of those times for touchdowns.
And senior, all-district Clayton McElroy had 68 tackles and 4 interceptions last year. The Knights return eleven starters and will have five freshman suited up in navy and gold in 2016, the best numbers the Knights have seen in Coach Carlson’s 8 years of coaching.
Carlson says their biggest challenge this year will be their non-district schedule, going up against teams such as Forestburg, Bryson, and powerhouse, Crowell, who’s looking to make their fourth consecutive state title appearance.
“Our main objective is to get through the pre-district district schedule, play as hard as you can, yeah we’re trying to win every game that we can, but if we don’t win, and we grow from the loss, and we stay injury free, it’s just going to make us that much better of a football team when district gets here and when the playoffs get here.”
A change for this district: the addition of two more teams, adding Plainview Christian and El Paso Jesus Chapel, making this a five-team district now.
“I think it’s going to make it a lot more exciting, when you win the district championship, when there are five teams in the district it’s going to be a little bit more prestigious winning the district championship than when there are three teams in the district.”
The Wichita Christian stars finished 7-5 last year, winning the most games in the history of the school…
Head Coach Josh Johnson is excited about his second year as head coach for the Stars,
“Second year of coaching is like year one. Year one is like year zero. on the job and coaching. So, we’re excited about the chemistry and the continuity that we have with the coaching staff and rapport that we have with our student athletes so we’re looking forward to kicking off the football season.”
Wichita Christian returns three All-State players: Kraig Towry, Jackson Landes, and Riley Pipes, as well as Josh Skipworth, who returns this year from an ACL injury, and Johnson is looking at those four to lead the team.