Night Hawks are Burwick’s ‘best-looking team’ in yearsHettinger-Scranton head football coach Randy Burwick feels this is the best team he has had in a long time.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Night Hawks’ upside: Hettinger-Scranton has a good collection of
talented and experienced skill players as well as experienced linemen.
Night Hawks’ downside: Depth is a question and there are several young and untested players stepping into the varsity level.
Hettinger-Scranton head football coach Randy Burwick feels this is the best team he has had in a long time.
To his credit, the Night Hawks have many players coming back with experience, as well as some talented up-and-comers.
“We feel real good,” Burwick said. “The kids came into camp looking really good and really fit. I’ve got five very good seniors. They are good leaders.
“To be honest, this is the best-looking team I’ve had in a long time. These kids have some good cohesiveness.”
The Night Hawks, in their first year as a co-op, finished the 2011 season with a 4-5 record in 9-man, Region 4. This season’s aspirations have been lifted, but Burwick doesn’t want to look too far down the road.
“I think we are on the right track, but we have a long ways to go,” Burwick said. “If we look at it on a basis where we are seeing improvement as a unit every single day — I do believe that.”
Hettinger-Scranton returns 5-foot-10, 165-pound junior quarterback Kye Erickson in the backfield.
“He’s smart, he’s great athlete and he loves the position,” Burwick said.
The graduation of 1,000-yard rusher Dalton Reitz means the Night Hawks will turn to multiple running backs.
Burwick said each has their own attributes to bring to the table.
Hettinger-Scranton will rely on junior Christian Hughes, senior Chandler Miller and freshman Tanner Sanford.
“We’ve got some kids that can definitely run the ball,” Burwick said. “It’s going to be kind of a running back situation by committee.”
When the Night Hawks aren’t running, they will look to seniors Stephen Kristy and Brandon Hill through the air.
“Stephen Kristy is looking the best he’s ever looked,” Burwick said. “He came into fall camp and he’s definitely has a great attitude. He’s looking forward to his senior year. He realizes hard work is the only way to get there.”
The offensive and defensive lines haven’t changed much after a year.
They’re still big.
Denby Lueck, a 6-foot, 225 junior, returns as a third-year starter at center. Sophomore Kevin Sandgren (6-3, 200) and juniors Daniel Prezter (6-1, 215) and Ben Pearson (5-9, 175) are also back.
“These kids are big, they are pretty athletic,” Burwick said. “We’ve got a good feel. It’s a good feeling knowing these guys have been through the battles. Anytime you can kind of keep your whole offensive line in place it makes a big difference for you.”
Not only are the upperclassmen performing at a high level, but Burwick said sophomores and freshman are making bids for playing time early in the season.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids on the team this year who show up to practice and are trying to get those spots too,” Burwick said. “Everybody is battling for position. We’ve got some kids that are doing an awesome job right now and really look good.”
Hettinger-Scranton Night Hawks
Head coach: Randy Burwick (10th season)
Last season: 4-5, missed playoffs
Returners: Kye Erickson, Jr., QB/DB, 5-10, 165; Stephen Kristy, Sr., TE/DE, 6-3, 180; Brandon Hill, Sr., WR/DB, 6-0, 175; Ben Pearson, Jr., LB/OL, 5-9, 175; Daniel Pretzer, Jr., DL/OL, 6-1, 215; Denby Lueck, OL/DL, 6-0, 225; Kevin Sandgren, So., OL/DL, 6-3, 200; Christian Hughes, Jr., LB/RB; Jordan Sanford, Sr., TE/LB; 5-9, 175; Chandler Miller, Sr., RB/LB, 5-9, 200.
Newcomers: Tanner Sanford, Fr., RB/LB.
Losses: Justis Caldwell, RB/DB; Ben Laufer, WR/DB; Dalton Reitz, RB/LB; Dalton Williams, DL/OL.