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Cougars instituting spread offense under new coach Wyant

BELFIELD -- After taking over for Mike Williams, new Heart River head football coach Jamie Wyant inherited what he deems to be a team of athletes. And he intends to use them. With an experienced offensive line and some tremendous speed at the ski...

Heart River junior quarterback Trace Jacobson, left, hands off to sophomore running back Cauy Shypkoski during Thursday's practice in Belfield. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)
Heart River junior quarterback Trace Jacobson, left, hands off to sophomore running back Cauy Shypkoski during Thursday's practice in Belfield. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)

BELFIELD - After taking over for Mike Williams, new Heart River head football coach Jamie Wyant inherited what he deems to be a team of athletes.

And he intends to use them.

With an experienced offensive line and some tremendous speed at the skill positions, Wyant hopes his spread offense will improve the Cougars' record from 3-5 last season.

"They work hard, they have good discipline, and they're athletic," he said. "They're very athletic, that's kind of the exciting part for me as a new coach - kind of putting in some of the new things we're going to do. It's going to be fun."

The Cougars offensive line returns five players who had a lot of playing time last season: senior Aaron Kuntz and juniors Jayden Krivoruchka, Andy Hodell, Sam Poland and Jesse Canode.

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Behind that group, junior Trace Jacobson will orchestrate Heart River's offense at quarterback. He'll have senior Zack Bebee and sophomore Cauy Shypkoski available out of the backfield while seniors Dion Madler and Tristen Schuhrke and junior Zane Besler will be at wide receiver.

"We'll be a spread - four-wide, run the football," Wyant said. "Use that athleticism as much as possible. ... They ran a different system, but a lot of the kids that we project as our starters have played a lot, which is a benefit for us."

For the offense to operate as planned, that starts, Wyant said, with Jacobson.

"Trace, he's got to play well. He's put in a lot of work and understands what we're trying to do," Wyant said. "He makes good decisions with the football, and that's really what it comes down to."

On defense, Wyant - who helped coach football at Dickinson High from 2012-14 - hopes his team's athleticism transfers to that side as well.

"They fly around," he said. "We stress, 'Get 11 guys to the football every play,' and I think they'll be physical."

Of the three tiers of the defense, Wyant said he's most excited about his linebackers group - Besler, Bebee, Shypkoski and junior Ty Buckman - where he sees the most returning players.

"All four of them are very athletic and kind of interchangeable - take the outside kids and put them inside, take the inside kids and put them outside," he said.

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In his first year as the head coach, Wyant is leaning heavily on assistants James Duletski and Billy Weiss - both holdovers from the previous staff.

"Having two staff members from last year helps a little bit," Wyant said. "(The players) kind of know them and at least have somebody they can kind of go to."

Elsewhere, with only six seniors on the team, Wyant is pleased with the leadership they've displayed in the earlygoing of the season.

"One of the things I'm stressing is, 'Team, team, team,' and they get along together great," Wyant said. "Our older kids have been really good at teaching the younger kids while we're practicing."

The Cougars will scrimmage at Beulah at 6 p.m. Friday, giving the team a final tune-up before starting the season Aug. 27 against Fargo Oak Grove in Bismarck.

"Just playing against somebody besides us will be nice," Wyant said. "Our (starters) go against younger kids so it's our chance to go against some better competition and more our ability and then we can see and make adjustments from there."

Heart River Cougars

Head coach: Jamie Wyant

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2015 result: 3-5 overall

Returners: Dion Madler, Sr., Tristen Schuhrke, Sr., Gabriel Rodakowski, Sr., Zack Bebee, Sr., Aaron Kuntz, Sr., Zane Besler, Sr., Jayden Ewoniuk, Jr., Trace Jacobson, Jr., Logan McMahen, Jr., Ty Buckman, Jr., Jesse Canode, Jr., Sam Poland, Jr., Brayden Obritsch, Jr., Jayden Krivoruchka, Jr., Andrew Hodell, Jr., Cauy Shypkoski, Soph.

Aug. 27 - vs. Oak Grove in Bismarck, 6 p.m.

Sept. 2 - vs. Lewis & Clark-Berthold, 6 p.m.

Sept. 9 - at Des Lacs-Burlington, 6 p.m.

Sept. 16 - vs. Southern McLean, 6 p.m.

Sept. 23 - at Killdeer, 6 p.m.

Sept. 30 - at Hazen, 6 p.m.

Oct. 7 - vs. Garrison-Max, 6 p.m.

Oct. 14 - at Standing Rock, 6 p.m.

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