The last two season for the South Park Burros on the football field have been heartbreaking. Not once, but twice, the Burros have been the 17th team and on the outside looking in.
Last season, the Burros were paced by seniors Daigen Springer and Camren Rullan in the running game, netting over 2,000 yards between them 24 touchdowns. The passing game for the Burros had some trouble late in the year, only finding the hands of an open receiver 47 percent of the time by seasons end, but they will be returning Michael Kelley who will have a second year in the position after limited snaps last season, and has looked very comfortable so far in the early going.
On the defensive side, the Burros are losing half of their starting defense, and 4 of their top 5 tacklers from last season. Kelley is back, and he did lead the Burros in tackles with 79 last year, and only one other senior who played big minutes on the defense side will be lost. This a group that will still have holes to fill, particularly at lineback, but should put a very similar defense to last year onto the field.
But what is the offense going to bring back this year? Well, the biggest return will be in the younger members of the team for skill players. The offensive line should be a strength, with some of the returns have worked the trenches last season, but they will have to shoulder the load quite a bit as South Parks young skill players find their roles and rhythms on the field.
The best news for the Burros, is the league this season should have some openings. Front Range Christian will still be the team to beat in the league standings, but they do lose their top two receiving targets from last year. Elbert does return their quarterback from last season, but the loss of the Morgan’s as receivers will leave questions on who to get the ball to, and the loss of seven seniors will not help. Justice and Rocky Mountain Lutheran should be winnable games as well.
The out of conference schedule for the Burros will be their real test, with games at home against Soroco, Haxtun, and Caliche, as well as a test against Del Norte on the road, the Burros will have the strength of schedule, but will they have the record? That remains to be seen.
Caleb’s Prediction: 4-5, and they should finally sneak into the 15 or 16 spot.
After only losing four seniors from last years team (and a head coach), the South Park Burros are looking to bounce back from a 5-16 season which saw them out of the regional picture.
This team will have plenty of returning talent though, with Jordan Burnett coming hot on the heels of her sister Morgan, who graduated after leading the team with 130 kills last year. Jordan paced the teams returners with 78, and will also be helped by Chloe Campbell, Piper Davis and Alyssa Davis, who all return after being options for the team on offense last season.
Alyssa Davis will be probably the biggest key for the Burros, as the now junior was the lead setter for the Burros last season, and with a full year and almost 200 assists in her first season, the knowledge gained should help in finding targets and spreading the ball around.
On the defensive end, the Burros back line will be bringing back several leaders from last season in digs, so they should have success on the back line, but the loss of Morgan Burnett in height could leave more opportunities for opponents to swing without a big block in their way.
This is a team that will be working their way through the ups and downs, but look for about a 500 season from the Burros, and a chance to build towards a postseason appearance in the future.
Caleb’s Prediction: 10-12, missing out on the postseason, but competitive.
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