The great unknown is taking place tonight, when Great Bend High School makes the short trip to Hoisington’s Elton Brown Field to play the Cardinals to open the 2012 season.
Like a box of assorted chocolates, a football coach isn’t quite sure what he’s going to get.
“I think we just want to find a way to be successful and find out a lot about ourselves on both offense and defense,” Panthers head coach Bo Black said. “We’ve sat around and talked about our potential for a long time.
“We’ve done some good things in practices and scrimmages, but I’m sure I have repeated this 20 times … you never really know until you’ve go play a game, and we’re excited to get out for the opportunity to play Game 1 and get into our normal routine.”
The Panthers return seven starters on defense and four off an offense that finished 4-4 last season. They narrowly missed the Class 5A playoffs after losing their district finale.
Defensive end-turned-defensive tackle Jayce Brack, defensive end Chad Touslee, head-hunting linebackers Hunter Harrison and Matt Marshall, and defensive backs Brock Ibarra, Greg Burley and Chris Burley headline returning starters in their 4-3 defensive alignment.
Panthers playmaking running backs Josh Lopez and Jonathan Allende return as starters on offense, along with offensive tackle Wyatt Bayless and offensive guard Lucas Westhoff.
“Our kids have gone out and prepared well this week and they’re looking forward to the game,” Black said. “It’s a high level of excitement to finally go play.
“It’s been eight months of work that lead up to nine games, and the first one is on the table.”
Hoisington’s second-year head coach is Jason Ingram, who served capacities as a freshman and junior varsity coach, along with being a varsity assistant at Great Bend, before accepting the Cardinals’ post prior to last season, where they finished 5-4.