“We have 24 juniors and seniors,” Burkdoll said. “Iola won (the league) last year with a bunch of seniors and a new coach, so we kind of trying to do the same this year.”
Wellsville capped off last year with an explosive 64-15 win over Burlington in the first round of the state playoffs, followed by a loss to Caney Valley in the second round. The team finished 6-5 overall and won six of their final eight games.
This year, Brad Burkdoll, who is also the new athletic director at Wellsville, emerges as the new head football coach after serving four years as an assistant coach at Anderson County.
Burkdoll noted that, despite the coaching change, Wellsville’s offensive attack will remain the same.
“We are going to still run the wishbone and single wing,” Burkdoll said. “We want to keep continuity and mix in some speed this season. We are going to run the football.”
Last year, Wellsville was an explosive team on the ground.
Wellsville has made the postseason five out of the last six years according to Burkdoll, and one of the keys for a playoff return this year is the team’s depth. Landyn Holtwick, senior running back, Brett Osbern, junior running back, and Trevor Heckman, junior fullback, will all see time in the backfield this season.
The team also returns two all-league players from a year ago in Luke Meyer, senior quarterback and linebacker, and Carter Mann, senior wide receiver and punter.
“This is (Meyer’s) third year at quarterback and linebacker,” Burkdoll said. “He was an all-league linebacker last season. (Mann) was an all-league wide receiver.”
Mann had 11 receptions for 245 yards and seven touchdowns.
He made his presence felt on defense at free safety. He had 47 tackles, four interceptions, five passes defended and a fumble recovery.
Both were members of the Herald all-area football team.
Wellsville opens the season at 7 p.m. Sept. 6 at home against Baldwin.