By Chris Parker
Cody Carney takes over as the head coach of the Osceola Football program this year after serving six seasons as an assistant. This will be his first head coaching job.
“I had been the assistant coach for six years. We have great kids and a great community. So when the head coaching job came open I was happy to step up and be a leader for them,” Carney said.
Osceola enters its second season as an 8-man football program with three offensive and four defensive starters returning.
“We have not had to adjust too much offensively; 8-man is really no different than 11-man other than your playbook is a little thinner,” Carney said. “Defensively we have had to make a several adjustments, but are kids are responding well.”
Offensively, Carney thinks his team will be more adept in the passing game this year.
“We feel like speed will be one greatest strengths this year. I feel we are much improved on throwing the ball from last year,” Carney said.
Junior Tyler Guerin will take the snaps at quarterback again this season. He threw for 872 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. He is also the team’s leading returning rusher after rushing for 721 yards and 11 touchdowns last year.
His top targets in the passing game will be senior Justin Neale and sophomores Joe Guerin and Reid Byrne. Neale is the top returning receiver in that group after hauling in seven passes for 148 yards last year.
Guerin will be joined in the backfield by running backs Hunter Noakes (junior), Killian Halloran (sophomore) and Mason Sutter (sophomore). Naokes accounted for 617 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground in 2017.
Up front, junior Donald White and Gregory Brouwer will be the key offensive linemen.
Many of these players will be new to the varsity football field, which will require a bit of a learning curve for the Indians.
“We are very young and untested. A lot of our kids are first year starters or first year players, but they have been working very hard and picking up on the offense quickly,” Carney said.
The defense will be similarly young, but he secondary looks to be a strength with Noakes returning on that unit. He led the team with 95 tackles last year. Halloran, Neale and Sutter all will play in the secondary as well.
White will slide off the line and to linebacker on defense. Tyler Guerin will be in the middle of the defense with him.
Up front on the defensive line will be seniors Jakob Edwards and Josh Billings along with sophomore James Sole.
“Our expectations are to go out and compete every game. We feel that we have a much better understanding of 8-man this year,” Carney said. “It took us until halfway through the season last year, when we finally felt we were getting things figured out. Also our kids are very excited and really enjoy playing 8-man football.”
Osceola opens the season on Aug. 24 at home against Appleton City.