BIG SANDY — The Big Sandy Pioneers have become regulars in the 6-Man football playoffs the past two seasons, making it to the second round each time.
But with some big-name returners and Larry Jappe in charge of the program once again, the Pioneers are thinking bigger in 2019. And for good reason. Start with their skill and depth at every position.
"Offensively, we’re very skilled. They’re ready to play. Everyone’s looking for some time. We’ve got a lot of juniors and seniors this year," Jappe said. "We’re loaded with juniors and seniors. It’s a good problem to have, but there’s going to be a lot of guys standing on the sideline that want to play."
With 18 players on the roster, Jappe, who has coached the Pioneer program in the past but is back in charge for 2019, has enough for three complete lineups.
"I put together three different teams this morning, and I had running backs, quarterbacks, linemen at every position, all three teams," Jappe said.
If you had to pick one name to watch for, start with junior running back Kade Strutz, an all-conference selection last year. He says this team’s experience will be a huge factor this season.
"It’s going to help us a lot, because you come in here and you already know the basics and what you need to do. It gives us an advantage," Strutz said. "Yeah, we’re going to hit the ground running. I have no worries at all."
Add in players like Parker Proulx and his brother Brock, another all-conference talent, and Big Sandy should be a force to be reckoned with.
"Can’t underestimate anybody, but I think if we come out, strap up, and play like we have, I think we have the potential to do great things this year," Brock said. "I don’t think we have a particular weakness. We have an air game in my little brother. He can throw like nobody’s business, so I’m not too worried about it."
But just how far do the Pioneers think they can go?
"We’re going all the way," Strutz said. "We’re going to win a state championship this year."