Pioneers will shift back to power-running game
The Providence football team is ready to get back to the foundation of its previous squads.
After employing a spread passing offense for most of last season, the Pioneers are going back to a run-oriented Power-I formation.
“We’re going back to the roots of Pioneer running football,” said coach Larry Denison. “Personally, I’m more comfortable with running the football. It’s an attitude. It’s an attitude you have to have to run the football.
“We went back to power football toward the end of the year and had some success with it.”
In the backfield, the Pioneers will be led by running backs Kaden Williams and Micah Oberhausen. However, both Williams and Oberhausen missed some work over the summer.
Williams helped the baseball Pioneers win the Class 2-A state in June. Oberhausen, meanwhile, went to Australia in July to participate in an international track and field meet. Oberhausen owns the school record for the long jump. He also runs the 100 and 200 meters.
“They’re both getting caught up to speed,” Denison said of his two running backs. “At our school, we have to share the athletes. That’s the key to the success of all our programs.”
At quarterback, the Pioneers will look to junior Caleb Lindquist, who started more than half of the season a year ago before breaking a collar bone.
“He put on some good weight and strengthened his upper body,” Denison said of Lindquist.
Denison said he has confidence in Lindquist and some quality receivers. One of the returning receivers is Sam Conrad, who also is the backup quarterback. Conrad, a guard on the Pioneers’ basketball team, is back to full strength after suffering a severe hamstring injury a year ago.
“I feel great,” Conrad said of his hamstring. “It doesn’t bother me at all.”
With a new offense, Denison said the team’s strength — especially early in the season — will be on the defensive side. The defense will be led by a solid linebacking corps, headed by Trevor Heldman and Jack Wagner.
Oberhausen, Spencer Purcell and Jonathan Tolentino will be among those playing both ways. Purcell, Tolentino and Carson McCain are the top returning interior linemen.
“Ideally, we’d like to have none (playing both ways),” Denison said. “Right now, until we get some experience and get some of these guys going, we’ll have six, maybe seven going both ways. At a (Class) 2-A school, a lot of players have to go both ways.”
With those numbers in mind, the Pioneers have different way to start the season — facing Class 6-A New Albany and then Class 5-A Floyd Central.
“That’s a big challenge,” said Denison.
New Albany and Floyd Central are part of what the Pioneers call the “Big Four.” The other two are Jeffersonville and Charlestown.
“Hopefully we can do well in those games,” Denison said. “Those will be the biggest challenges we’ll have during the regular season. Hopefully, it gets us ready for the playoffs.”
Providence at a glance
Conference: Independent, Class 2A, Sectional 40
Coach: Larry Denison – 26-27 in five years at Providence
Last season: 4-7 – lost to Evansville Mater Dei 41-7 in sectional semifinals
Top returners: Kaden Williams (Soph., RB), Micah Oberhausen (Sr., RB, CB), Jack Wagner (Jr., LB), Trevor Heldman (Sr., LB), Jonathan Tolentino (Sr., OL), Spencer Purcell (Jr., OL), Caleb Lindquist (Jr., QB), Carson McCain (Sr., OL), Sam Conrad (Sr., WR)
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