As the Mavericks take the field for their home opener on Friday against the Wildcats of Minneola they will take a pair of previous season opening losses along with them, but a switch in opponents might bring the season first win.
The Mavericks have faced the South Grey Rebels in their past two season openers. The Rebels, helmed by former Haviland Dragons coach Jeff Blattner, finished the 2010-2011 season with a 6-and-2 record and finished the 2011-2012 season with an 11-and-1 record.
You’d have to go a few chapters back in the history book to find an opening season loss for the black and blue, when they lost their 2005-2006 season opener 56-to-36 to Deerfield on the road.
While statistics are not the definitive barometer for the notoriously fickle gridiron, Maverick nation should breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing that they will not face the Rebels this season, who have gone 6-and-0 in their past six openers, averaging 39 points per game, limiting their opponents scoring to an average of only 17 points per game.
The Wildcats however have struggled in their openers, going 5-and-1 over the same six season, with their only opening season win, a 36-to-24 squeeker against Hodgeman County to open their 2009-2010 campaign. That same season the Wildcats finished 9-and-1 behind a strong season performance by Jason McClaren who passed for 750 season yards and rushed 1,330 yards in his senior year.
The Wildcats have under performed at the top of their previous season with a nearly opposite scoring record than the Rebels.
The ‘Cats have averaged only 17 points and their opponents have averaged 39 points in start-of-season play.
While Kiowa County has lost a key component of their offense with the graduation of QB Ross Binford, there are startling similarities between the two teams’ projected offensive players this season.
The Wildcats are hoping for a repeat performance of their 2009 season behind #3 Matt McClaren, a senior with a Minneola football legacy (he is the younger brother of former Wildcat Jason McClaren). McClaren is expected to hit his stride this season after he led the Wildcats in rushing yards last year (723), averaging more than six yards per rush.
Number 11 Brandy Shumate is also expected to contribute to the offensive battery this year after a 2011-2012 season, where the 6’2” senior passed for 205 yards with three TD’s.
The Mavericks will also take players onto the field with solid previous season experience.
Number 8 Trever Powell is expected to step in to fill the offensive shoes of Binford. The fast-footed junior was second in rushing (985) and also second in tackles (41 durinf the 2011-2012 season.
Maverick nation had a sneak peak at some possible secondary offensive player at the end of last year, when Binford was DL’ed with a foot injury. We might see a bigger role for #22 Keenan Behee and #18 Trevor Tyree in the upcoming season, with both player showing flashes of things to come in the last couple of contests of last season.
Page 2 of 2 - The Kiowa County Mavericks take one the Minneola Wildcats at 7 p.m. on Friday at home.