Central Plains coach Chris Steiner was a player for some of Greg Webb’s great Claflin teams in the early 90s and embraced the smashmouth running game that Webb used with great success.
When Steiner took over the Claflin program five years ago he employed a similar downhill running attack, but then he welcomed Braedan Crites and Layne Bieberle to the newly consolidated Central Plains varsity football program and recognized the two would lead to an offensive change.
Crites’ arm and Bieberle’s pass catching ability would force Steiner to employ a wide open passing attack that would ultimately yield an 8-Man I state championship victory last year.
Now, standout receiver and d-back - and 2014 Kansas Pregame coverboy - Bieberle has moved on to the Fort Hays football program, and second leading pass catcher Michael Lamatsch is also lost to graduation. Fortunately, Crites returns for his senior season, and as one of the best quarterbacks in all of Kansas, he’ll look to get the Oilers back to the title game. Crites threw for 2,100 yards with 39 TDs and only five interceptions last year as a junior to follow up a near identical 2,000 yard, 38T D, four interception performance as a sophomore. Crites has also rushed for over 1,200 yards and 31 touchdowns in his career and was the second leading rusher on the team a year ago.
With the loss of his top two receiving targets to graduation, Crites will look to fellow senior Jacob Warken - who transferred from Hoisington after his freshman year - to help alleviate the pressure of a title defense. Warken was the team’s leading rusher last year as a junior and tallied 615 yards rushing with 13 touchdowns. He’ll likely be looked to more in the passing game this season as well after catching 10 passes out of the backfield last fall.
But Warken and Crites are not just a dynamic offensive duo, they are also two of the best defensive players in all of 8-Man football and will lead the back half of the Oiler defense. Warken was the team’s second leading tackler a season ago, posting 61 solo tackles and 46 assists along with five tackles for loss, two interceptions, two recovered fumbles and two forced fumbles. He capitalized on the turnovers as well, returning one interception for a score, and taking one fumble back.
Crites is no slouch on defense either, posting 48 total tackles with three interceptions last year to bring his interception total to six for his career.
Statewide delivery of the 2015 issue of Kansas Pregame is complete . The 10th-annual release of the only statewide high school football preview in Kansas is a 144-page comprehensive look at all levels of football in Kansas with a number of new features including All in the Family (a look at some of the top father-son coach-player duos), Down on the Farm (a look at some of the best farmboy football players in Kansas), and Dynamic Duos (a look at some of the top pairs of players in the state). See more at: http://kpreps.com/kansas/news/?id=5859&t=10th-annual-issue-of-kansas-pregame-out-now#sthash.lPNSmFk9.dpuf. For a complete list of businesses carrying free copies of Kansas Pregame, visit http://kpreps.com/uploads/2015KPGCompleteDistributionList.pdf.