OSAWATOMIE — The Osawatomie Trojan football team has some weapons with quarterback Jake Whitaker behind center, a power back in Albert Lopez, the speed and quickness of Sutter Conrad, the hands of tight end Matthew Fanning and a vertical threat in wideout Nolen Noel.
The Trojans also have size and strength up front on the line, in the trenches, where games are won and lost.
Osawatomie returns lineman Kaden Fields, who was first-team All-Pioneer League on both sides of the football. Fields was first-team offensive line and first-team defense at linebacker. He led Osawatomie with 93 tackles. Fields made 16 pancake blocks on offense. Fields was named to the Tri-County Spotlight Football Team on both sides of the football as well.
The Trojans also have senior linemen Toby Wilson, Quinton Lea and Drake West who have been tough in practice. Both can open holes on the line.
Another lineman in the trenches for Osawatomie is junior Gavin Brewer.
Junior defensive back Chance Mitzner has speed, good hands and is a hard hitter. The Trojans also return a fast cover-defender in junior Jay Filipin.
The Trojans practice behind the high school in a place called “The Pit.” It is a long walk down a hill to an open field where the Osawatomie players put in their time, sweat and blood to get better and come together as a team.
One of the longest walks in Miami County is the one from “The Pit” back to the back parking lot of the high school following two to three hours of football practice.
Osawatomie coach Rod Madden is in his 26th season, pacing the sideline for the Trojans.
He is all about building his team on a strong foundation.
“Fundamentals are the foundation the house is built on,” Madden said. “Why are we working on the basement, we have to build the foundation.
“We have to work hard to get better every day,” he said. “You can’t just put up the chandelier. You have to lay the foundation first.”
Also on the Trojans roster are junior defensive back Wade Tigner, sophomore linebacker Kaiden Gravatt, sophomore defensive back Jackson Lowe, sophomore wideout Duke Hanysack, Japin Scales, Kali Calderwood, Prestyn Wendt, Aiden Gould, Grant Kilborn, Trenton Smith, Mike Clark, Jace Wilkins, Chris Razo, Waylon Eslick, Kyson Hayes, Seth Carrow, Kolton Gleason, Gavin Hall and Leo Flores.