Castleford High School
Conference: Sawtooth Conference West Division
Classification: 1A D2
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Head Coach: Russell Burnum
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: 25+ years youth to college level. Head coach at Filer.
Record Last Year: 1-7
State Titles: 2002
Caleb Knudson, OL/DL, 12
Adrian DeKruyf, OL/DL, 11
Keegan Myers, TE/LB, 11
Kohner Burnum, DB, 11
Michael Rich, RB/DB, 11
Key Players lost from last year:
Lost five seniors, one of which was an All-Conference running back as a junior. Really tough kid that ran over his opponents in Tony Hunsaker. Another returning starter from the offensive line suffered a head injury during the summer from an ATV accident. Only two seniors returning and one is a foreign exchange student. The rest are juniors and freshmen.
Incoming impact players:
Coach Burnum: "I have one big kid [Adrian DeKruyf OL/DL Junior] that is 6’5" and 270 pounds and has worked really hard in the weight room all summer. In fact, from the first day the weight room was open at the first of June he has not missed a day. He has really transformed his body and has had huge gains in his maxes. With his improved strength he should be able to dominate at O-line and D-line. Has worked really hard at his foot speed."
"We also have a foreign exchange student from Norway coming to play and in Norway they play 9-man American football. He comes to us with three years of experience and could be an unexpected surprise for us."
Written by: Sven Alskog
New Head Coach Russell Burnum steps onto the sideline in Castleford this season looking to turn around the results of a football program which went 1-7 in the 2015 campaign.
The task ahead for Burnum and the Wolves is going to be a major rebuilding effort, however there are some pieces in place to shed some light into what he hopes will be a promising future.
It will be the offensive line which looks to be the biggest team strength.
"We have three kids that are over 200 pounds on the line, and after that we get small in a hurry," said Burnum.
Caleb Knudson is the only returning senior on the roster, with junior Adrian DeKruyf joining him to form the staples of the line.
The position players will need to step up in a big way for Castleford to get some points on the scoreboard, something that has been a struggle as of late.
"[We have] two juniors [with] decent speed, Michael Rich and Keegan Myers. We will be running the single wing with a lot of misdirection," said Burnum.
There are multiple areas offensively the Wolves are going to focus on for improvement.
"Ball control, scoring and being competitive. Last year they had numerous games where they only scored a single touchdown and one where they only had a safety. All but one game the clock was running in the fourth quarter," Burnum added.
He mentioned special teams and winning the field position battle as especially important.
Defensively Castleford will run a 3-3-2 look, fairly standard for the 1A classification. DeKruyf and Knudson will again provide the size on the line.
"We will focus on mixing it up with a lot of pressure to compensate for a lack of team speed."
Stopping big plays was an issue last season, which the new head man knows are morale killers. He hopes to see a decline in that department in the upcoming year.
The defensive backfield has a chance to be improved, with Kohner Burnum and Michael Rich leading the group.
Changes on the sideline are not the only thing coming to Castleford this season, as Burnum looks to implement his new system, something he is excited to do with the group in place.
"We only have 14-15 kids this year, but they are all excited to play and feel good about the offense we will be running. We had a minicamp a few weeks ago where I introduced the offense to them. It has a lot of wrinkles to it which should cause a certain amount of confusion and the kids like that."
It will be a rivalry matchup with Hagerman right out of the chutes for the Wolves in 2016, something the team hopes to use as a proving ground for the new offense.