Butler County high school football: What we learned on the third day of practice

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette

We're churning down the first week of high school football here in Butler County and with help we did make it to the final four schools in Butler County, wrapping up week one's football coverage. 

Here's what we learned from the third day of the 2021 season:

Douglass finally gets outside

From Ethan Denton, contributor to Butler County Times-Gazette

Wednesday may have been the third official day of practice for all of the high school football teams in Kansas, but it really served as day one for the Douglass Bulldogs who had been kept indoors due to showers and storms.

Needless to say, head coach Kelley Sayahnejad was thrilled to take the field with his 2021 squad, which will rely on experience.

“From our standpoint, we feel like it’s an opportunity to have a good season just because we have some veterans mixed in with some youth,” Sayahnejad said. “Anytime you have a bunch of veterans, especially on the offensive line, it makes life pretty good.”

On that O-line is senior Joe Martin, a three-year starter who will serve as the leader of the unit. Sayanejad also mentioned senior Hunter Alexander, who has stepped up and had a really good summer leading into the fall camp.

“Hopefully we can all work hard and work together and fight our way to a winning season,” Martin said.

In 2020, the Bulldogs started strong at 3-0, but finished 3-4 and had two games lost due to the pandemic, but now they are poised to make a strong run in 2021.

Stoffel and Hilyard's chemistry 

While Dalton Hilyard is a senior and Jordan Stoffel is a junior, the two are building a chemistry that's needed between your top two ball handlers. 

"Their chemistry is huge for us," Coach Sayanejad said. 

While it was only one year together in the backfield, the two spent every game together and that bond has resonated in the offseason as they continued to work on their games together. 

"They both had really good summers," Sayanejad said.

Hilyard, the senior, had a heck of a season last year with 848 rushing in only seven games. He flew out of the gate with big games his first three of the season.

Stoffel. who was only a sophomore last season, threw for over 600 yards, helping the Bulldogs last season.

More:2021 Football Preview: Butler County's upperclass football players to watch this fall

Remington excited for the future

After making the playoffs in Class 2A last season and winning a game, the Remington Broncos are fired up heading into the 2021 season. It helped they ended 2020 on a strong note, winning 3 of 5 games before losing to Inman in the playoffs. 

They understand it's going to be some hard work but they are confident, they can top last season's success.

"We're trying to make practice really fast and physical," fourth-year head coach Simon McKee said. "We're just trying to keep our intensity high and play as hard as we can."

It's easier said than done but with a strong upperclassmen leadership with the likes of Angel Lopez, David Fasnacht and Braden Scribner, the outlook is bright heading into Week 1 against Douglass.

"We've got a lot of returns coming back from that successful team last year," fourth-year head coach Simon McKee said. "We've got to utilize their leadership and put them in a position to bring those young guys along."

Sometimes, it's as easy as just knowing you can win. 

"We finally found out that we're good enough to win football games," McKee said. "We've had some struggles my first couple of years here but now the kids that were freshman are now seniors and it's kind of come full circle and they believe in themselves now."

More:Butler County high school football: What we learned on the first day of practice

Angel Lopez has strong summer, will lead line

When you talk of unknowns heading into the summer, for those outside of Brianerd, Angel Lopez was one of those unknowns. 

Not anymore. 

An old fashioned workhorse that works a part-time job, goes to school and stars on the football team, he's the prototypical kid you want helping to turn around a program.

Standing 6-3, 280 lbs., he's a towering force to be reckoned with on the line. He was able to attend a Kansas State camp this summer, upping his exposure and learning from a top Division I school. 

"He's one of those kids that's bought in 100 percent," McKee said. "Whether's it's on the field or in the weight room, it's exciting for us as a program to know that some of our kids are taking that next step."

"It's a step in the right direction for our program."

More:2021 Football Preview: Top underclassmen Butler County football players to watch for this fall

Goodnight expanding role, responsibility for Andover

When Ashton Ngo graduated, the Trojans needed someone to fill the fullback role in the run-dominant offense of coach Ken Dusenbury. 

That's where Chandler Goodnight comes into play.

"Yeah, it's not every year you get two talented players like that back-to-back," Dusenbury said. 

The senior all-league linebacker will move from the offensive line to the backfield this season and will fill that role this season. Ngo had big moments in key situations on the fullback dive and the Trojans hope that Goodnight can carry that tradition this season.

"We still we still use a fullback and not everybody does these days but we still use a fullback and the tight ends," Dusenbury said.

Goodnight is a talented athlete who was the Gannett Kansas AVCTL-II preseason Player of the Year and with his move to the offensive side, that should just help boast his resume.

Dusenbury praises Goodnight as a leader and said his ability to take on responsibility helps set him a part.

"He's even texting me right now on helping the younger guys getting their HUDL set up," Dusenbury said.

Andover hoping to control the controllables

Whether it is inclement weather or getting into the weight room, the Andover Trojans are hoping they can just focus on what they can control and not worry about the rest. 

"It started back in January," Dusenbury said. "It's our winter program and then it's our spring program. Then, it's summer and now it's preseason. We try not to look at the big picture. We try to focus on having a good practice, having a good drill session and get into focus on what they can control because there is a lot of our your control."

That's a great life lesson for most and as coach Dusenbury said, it's easier said than done even as an adult.

"We're focused on right now and then the other stuff will sort itself out," Dusenbury said.

Controlling what you can and not worrying about what you cannot should help the Trojans get prepared for Avery Johnson and Maize in Week 1. The two had a tough fought game last year and the Trojans are looking to get their say this time.

Central focused on main goal: Winning that day

It's easy to get caught up in the glamour of social media posts and everyone maybe ranking your team a little higher than you expected — or the other way. For Andover Central, their main goal throughout the first three days of practice is to remain focused on the goal in front of them. That goal? Winning that day.

"We've had some weather issues but when we came out everyone was focused and ready to get after it," third-year head coach Derek Tuttle said. "It could be easy for them to be out of it after being in the gym but when we came out, they were focused."

Weather in Butler County disrupted many schools early practice opportunities and Central was forced to go inside on the first day and partially on Day 2.

"We're able to remain focused and that's a good sign right now," Tuttle said. 

Remaining focused with the slate of games ahead may be easy for Tuttle, the group of seniors helps keep their teammates focused in practice.

"We have a good group of seniors that are doing their job," Tuttle said. "They've kept their focus pretty well."

More:Butler County high school football: Second day of football practice highlights

Effort is key for Jaguars

The Jaguars face lofty expectations heading into the season but coach Tuttle is looking for 100 percent effort. When after practice, not everyone rose their hand saying they gave 100 percent effort. 

It's not always bad. The heat beating down on you; the lack of routine due to the weather; it can all bear down on a player. 

"We got to make sure we get 100 percent effort on every single play and that we do every single rep," Tuttle said. "That's a big priority for me."

With a large senior class with folks like Ashton Barkdull, Drew Daniels and Nate Peak to name a few, the accountability will be held within the players. You hear it at practice as players tell others to pay attention or as one said to "lock it in."

"If we can make sure that effort is there," Tuttle said. "Then, we can focus on the mental things, like scheme and things go along with effort."

Andover Central begins their season on Friday, Sept. 3 at home against Newton. 

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.