Verdigris has 15 experienced seniorsVerdigris will field a football team with the most seniors it’s ever had this season, adding experience to the Cardinals’ list of advantages.
Nearly all of the 15 players had key roles for Verdigris last season, so coach Dan Nickles is hopeful their experience might pay off big. Verdigris started last season with five straight losses, but Nickles continued to emphasize team togetherness and hard work. The Cardinals finished the regular season with five straight wins to make the playoffs before losing in the first round. "We improved quite a bit over the year,” Nickles said. "We weren’t the same at Week 10 as we were at Week 1. They never stopped believing they could win football games.” Nickles said he doesn’t want the team to only concentrate on the 5-1 stretch of the season — or forget the 0-5 start. "I want them to remember because I don’t want them to do it again,” Nickles said. When these seniors graduate, Nickles will lose eight starters on offense and eight on defense, but he said the players’ influence on younger teammates will help prepare the program for the future. "Last year, they learned that it’s not just about showing up but more about working hard throughout the week,” Nickles said.
CONVERTED END LEADS DEFENSELincoln Christian returns eight starters on either side of the ball from last year’s 12-2 team that made it to the semifinals.