Richardton-Taylor-Hebron Raiders to rely on QB Butterfield, experienced defense in 2016

RICHARDTON -- A year after going 7-4 overall and 4-2 in 9-man's Region 5, the Richardton-Taylor-Hebron Raiders enter 2016 with new challenges.All-state running back Denver Colgrove has graduated -- he rushed for 2,862 yards and 40 touchdowns last...

2092245+1022 RTH.jpg
Richardton-Taylor-Hebron quarterback Brendan Butterfield looks to pass during a game against Bowman County Sept. 20, 2015, in Richardton. (Press File Photo)

RICHARDTON - A year after going 7-4 overall and 4-2 in 9-man’s Region 5, the Richardton-Taylor-Hebron Raiders enter 2016 with new challenges.
All-state running back Denver Colgrove has graduated - he rushed for 2,862 yards and 40 touchdowns last season. But the Raiders’ second-leading rusher from last season, Jayden Olson - who had about 700 yards rushing - broke a leg competing in high school rodeo in July and will be out of commission for the foreseeable future.
“We’re not expecting to have (Olson), but if he comes back and is able to go, it’d be a blessing for this team,” Raiders head coach Travis Olson said. “He’s doing everything he can to get healed up, but it’s a pretty severe break.”
Travis Olson will call on the combination of juniors Mathew Naumann and Ryan Woroniecki to carry the ball for the Raiders, who saw their 2015 season end to the eventual 9-man state runner-up North Prairie in the state playoff quarterfinals.
“What I like about them is they’re very willing to do it and very skilled,” Olson said. “They have good speed. They’re good-sized kids. They got some skills, and they’re eager and ready to be a full-time back.
“We’re pleased with the growth we’ve seen from last year to now. They’re working hard and have come in faster and stronger. They’re just developing. … They’re tall kids that can get out and run catch the ball out of the backfield too.”
Senior Kyle Kuntz could be in that mix also, and Tony Kolar will see some time at fullback.
Olson added that an experienced offensive line and tight end group should give the new backs a chance to succeed.
Included in that bunch are Beau Frederick, Gabe Vaagen, Andrew Perrin, Adrian Hauck, Kolar at times and Braden Wehri - all are seniors save for Kolar, a junior.
“I think especially early on it’s going to mean everything,” Olson said of the experienced line. “We have a couple of young backs that will be good football players and good backs, and to have confidence in the guys ahead of the them, that’s huge.”
The Raiders will have to replace the graduated Abe Axtmann at wide receiver as well, a spot Olson said Naumann will also see a lot of time.
Senior quarterback Brendan Butterfield will be the straw that stirs the drink, though.
“Brendan, not just the experience but the wherewithal of the football game, he’s very intelligent that way,” Olson said. “We will lean on him to make some good decisions for us. For a senior quarterback, he needs to make good decisions, and we feel that he will. … He’s going to have to take charge.”
Butterfield, at safety, will also lead a defense that returns seven of nine starters.
Much of the offensive line transfers over to the defensive side; Kolar, Kyle Kuntz and Woroniecki will serve as linebackers; and Ethan Kuntz, Naumann and a yet-to-be-determined fourth member will man the secondary alongside Butterfield.
“Those are all guys that have experience on that D-line, so we have a little bit of depth there also,” Olson said. “It’s really good to have a guy like Brendan back there who’s so smart in the secondary. He’s a very intelligent football player. Ethan Kuntz came on so well in the secondary also. They’ll have good guidance back there.”
Richardton-Taylor-Hebron Raiders
Head coach: Travis Olson
Returners: Brendan Butterfield, Sr., Ethan Kuntz, Sr., Kyle Kuntz, Sr., Ethan Goetz, Sr., Beau Frederick, Sr., Gabe Vaagen, Sr., Derik Billman, Sr., Andrew Perrin, Sr., Adrian Hauck, Sr., Braden Wehri, Sr., Matthew Naumann, Jr., Ryan Woroniecki, Jr., Tony Kolar, Jr., Gannon Reinbold, Jr., Zach Schmalenberger, Soph., Preston Floberg, Soph., Logan Kuntz, Soph., Elijah Vogle, Soph., Logan Hoff, Soph., Collin Kuntz, Soph., Wyatt Kuhn, Soph., Jesse Bjerken, Soph., Collin Wehri, Soph.
Aug. 19 - vs. Linton-HMB, 6 p.m.
Aug. 26 - at Hettinger-Scranton, 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 - vs. New Salem-Glen Ullin, 8 p.m.
Sept. 9 - vs. Mott-Regent, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 - at Bowman County, 6 p.m.
Sept. 23 - at Drake-Anamoose, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 - vs. Beach, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 - at Grant County-Flasher, 6 p.m

Related Topics: PREP SPORTS
What To Read Next
The Midgets’ win came with an injury to All-State Beam title holder Addison Fitterer that could see her out for an extended period of time.
Members Only
Dickinson's Michael McChesney helps lead Team USA to a silver medal finish in the World University Games, inspiring young athletes to strive for greatness
Members Only
Midgets’ late goal would only serve as a consolation, falling to the Demons 2-1 in gritty performance highlighting signs of season-long improvement
With talented players from 6 different states, including North Dakota and Montana, the Blue Hawks are poised for another winning season with key additions to the team's roster.