Normally a football team that goes 13-1 and wins a state championship would be favored to win the next season, but it’s a whole different ballgame when moving up a classification.
That’s the case for the Windsor High School football team as it moves from Class 3A to 4A. The Wizards will now compete in the Northern Conference against what will likely be bigger and better competition. Windsor is ranked eighth in the first Denver Post coaches and media poll.
Coach Chris Jones sees most of his key players return and has been putting the team through rigorous workouts that he feels have put his team in top shape. The players go through 12 stations, four times each, in the weight room before putting in work at another 24 stations on the field.
The system is designed for efficiency. The combined weight room and field workouts bring the equivalent of 72 plays in a practice around 75 minutes.
That workout regimen, combined with a platoon system that has players working on both sides of the ball, is something Jones thinks will help negate any size disadvantage his team might have.
* Offensive outlook: It’s all about the run game for the Wizards. Windsor runs a triple-option attack with devastating results. The team rushed for 4,000 yards last season at a clip of 286 per game. Star offensive lineman Joey O’Connor has graduated and is now on the roster at Ohio State, but the Wizards return most of last season’s production.
Players who accounted for more than 3,000 of the rush yards last year return and every yard in the passing game is also back for another year for an offense that averaged 32.5 points per game.
Jones said the use of the triple-option forces opposing defensive lineman, traditionally not the most athletic defenders on the field, to have to make a play before the Windsor runner makes a big gain. That attack, which has historically helped level the playing field for smaller teams, will again be the key to Windsor’s success.
* Defensive outlook: Another interesting plot line for Windsor is if its defense can remain as dominant in 4A as it was in 3A during the 2011 season. The Wizards allowed just less than nine points per game and only four times did opponents score in double digits against them.
The points allowed per game is even more impressive considering it allowed 41 points to Silver Creek in Windsor’s only loss of the season, a defeat that was avenged in the state title game when Silver Creek scored only seven points.
* Impact players: Senior Joe Sanger will be at quarterback again after throwing for 725 yards and rushing for 1,318 last season, leading the team in both categories. Sanger accounted for 28 total touchdowns.
The Wizards second- and third-leading rushers also return in senior Jordan Porterfield and junior Wil Dressor, who rushed for 741 and 695 yards, respectively.
Ball-hawking defensive back Lance Cox will lead the secondary. He has played cornerback, but Jones said he plans to play Cox at safety this season. The senior recorded 13 interceptions last year.
Sean Glenn, second on the team in sacks last year, will help anchor the defensive line while Lucas Watts will be one of the top linebackers. Watts was second on the team with 128 tackles a year ago and also recorded 7.5 sacks.
* The lingo: “The first thing I tell the kids on Friday night before the game is ‘what’s our No. 1 goal? It’s to finish in the top 50 percent of the state tonight.’ Half the teams win, half the teams lose. They love that. We don’t have to be No. 1 today, we just have to be in the top 50 (percent).”
Windsor High School football coach
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