After losing three games in a row, Hickman coach Gregg Nesbitt challenged his team.
Tonight the Kewpies (3-3) take on the Webb City Cardinals (4-2) at Hickman High, while attempting to establish a winning streak after last week’s victory against Parkway South.
After a loss to Blue Springs South on Oct. 3, Nesbitt told his team he was looking for players who would do anything for him and the team.
Players have embraced the challenge Nesbitt set for them.
“It’s finding the guys who will fight,” said Ryan Nesbitt, a wide receiver and safety. “Finding the people that care about Hickman football and Hickman tradition. We’ve found the guys who want to jump on the boat.”
Now that the Kewpies have found the players who are willing to contribute, some have been asked to deliver on offense and defense.
“In most cases, players are two-way players if they are good players,” coach Gregg Nesbitt said. “It’s that way all around the country.”
The Kewpies feature five skill players playing offense and defense: Ryan Nesbitt, Scottie Guthrie, Cedric Alvis, Reggie Hatton and Kyle Nuelle.
Nesbitt, a junior who also returns punts, said the team isn’t interested in determining positions until it can find enough fierce competitors.
“Positions mean something,” he said. “But we find the guys that are going to fight first and then we decide positions.”
One of the benefits to playing both sides is learning an offensive position, although a player is on defense.
“It gives you an advantage,” Ryan Nesbitt said. “Knowing the secondary and what coverages really helps finding the soft spots in the zone.”
Gregg Nesbitt said he agrees that players can learn from playing both sides, but there is another advantage.
“I think as an offensive guy it helps you understand defenses from a defensive perspective,” he said. “It also keeps you in the flow of the game and competition.”
Gregg Nesbitt said rotating players keeps players from becoming tired. Although staying on the field for a prolonged period can be tiring for some players, Ryan Nesbitt said preseason conditioning helped get the team in shape.
“We worked pretty hard in the summer and during two-a-days,” Ryan Nesbitt said. “That way we don’t have to worry about fatigue come game time.”
Hickman will test its philosophy against Webb City, which runs the option. The Kewpies were familiar with the Cardinals’ attack last year because Hickman also ran an option. This year, the Kewpies operate out of a spread offense. Because the Kewpies’ defense does not see an option every day in practice, Gregg Nesbitt said he believes it will be harder to stop.
“The biggest concern is their offense, which is an option-style split back veer,” he said. “We’ll see option three of the next four weeks. Getting ready in one week, particularly as well as they execute, is going to be a chore for us defensively.”