The 2019 version of the Pawhuska Huskies football team was hard at work last week, getting in shape and working to develop the team cohesion that will be necessary for success in the fall.
The 2018 Huskies finished 6-5, including a playoff berth, in head coach Matt Hennesy’s first year at Pawhuska. The season marked a rebound from a 0-10 campaign in 2017.
The 2019 team will feature more seniors — there are about 15 right now, as opposed to just two seniors in 2018. There will also likely be more linemen and more overall depth. The number of players in spring camp has been about 40. The 2018 Huskies typically dressed fewer than 30 players for games and many of the players spent the entire game on the field.
Hennesy said he anticipates having enough depth this year to allow players more time to catch their breath on the sidelines and work with coaches to make in-game adjustments.
“It’s going to freak out the kids because they’ve never had a game where they came off the field,” Hennesy said. Players will still routinely play on both sides of the ball, but they won’t have to stay in games as constantly.
The offensive and defensive schemes will be much the same as they were in 2018, Hennesy said. Last season, the Huskies ran a speed-oriented spread offense and featured a swarming defense.
No offensive players from 2018 graduated and 10 starters will be back on defense. Lineman Gabe Letzkus, who was out last season with an injury, figures to be back, and the schedule will be almost the same as a year ago. The only difference Hennesy cited at this point is that Langston Hughes Academy will no longer be among the Huskies’ opponents. Hennesy said Pawhuska is planning to play the Tulsa Union High School sophomore team during the week when Langston Hughes would have been on the schedule.
Another difference between 2018 and 2019 will be the confidence level of the players. In 2018, Pawhuska was just trying to go 1-0 each week; just trying to stay in games and win some. Coming into the 2019 campaign, the Huskies know they have talent and so do their opponents.
“We’re not going to sneak up on anybody now,” Hennesy said; but they won’t be trying to, either. They’ll be gunning for another and deeper trip into the playoffs.