August 26, 2010
What does it mean to buy into the program? For Kapaun Mount Carmel coach Dan Adelhardt, it’s players exhibiting a work ethic which develops a winning mentality.
“We were really trying to stress to our kids to be blue collar and have that ‘nothing is given to us’ mentality,” Adelhardt says. “It’s not just our kids, it’s society. There’s entitlement and we’ve got to get over that.”
At its core, Kapaun has the necessary talent to win games. Keaton Lewis orchestrates big plays from nowhere at quarterback; Michael Reynolds is an effective pass-rusher at defensive end; and William Hutton provides much-need size on the offensive line.
But a football team requires 11 pieces on each side of the ball. Kapaun has question marks at many positions, especially after the graduation of two-way playmakers Jonathan Truman and Dyllon Knox. Just as he did with Truman and Knox in the past, Adelhardt again will be forced to play many players on offense and defense.
“Now the question is, can they do well in the fourth quarter like they need to do?” Adelhardt asks. “Can they finish games?” Kapaun led or was within a score at halftime of all four losses in 2009.
How fast the supporting cast can develop will likely hold the answer to Adelhardt’s questions. Eric Peters and Skyler Krehbiel will team up to handle the carries out of the backfield. Nick Cook and Austin Griffith will be targets at receiver, with Reynolds also being a threat at tight end.
All will be made better by Lewis.
“(Lewis) has made us a better football team,” Adelhardt says. “He’s got, what I like to call, great ‘escape-ability,’ meaning when he runs, he’s quicker than what you would think. I think you’re really going to see his arm strength come through for us this year.”
One more major question is how Kapaun’s defense will make up for its lack of size. Adelhardt is confident in the players, but admits they will have to become a scrappy team to win.
“We still struggle with size,” Adelhardt says. “Our defense is based on getting after people. We have to have that mentality.”
Kapaun has consistently qualified for the state playoffs under Adelhardt but hasn’t done damage in the postseason since making sectionals in his first season as coach in 2005. Kapaun’s streak of playoff berths might be in jeopardy with a new district, featuring incomers Andover and Andover Central in addition to holdover Arkansas City. It makes for a challenge, something Adelhardt embraces.
“A lot of our kids know the Andover kids,” Adelhardt says. “Some go to church together. I think it’s a natural rivalry between the east-side teams. We’re excited about the changes.”