Outside the Huddle’s Spring Football 2022 series will appear periodically throughout the next few months as we check in on area football programs prior to the rigors of season prep in the summer.
What are the things that teams want to get accomplished before the pressures of preparing for the start of the season? OTH reached out to coaches for some answers.
The upward trajectory of the Heritage football program continues as Coach Casey Kolkman enters a pivotal Year 3. The four victories by the Patriots last season signified the most since 2015.
With a lot of production back from 2021, where does Heritage go from here?
Outside the Huddle takes a look at the three questions atop the mind of Kolkman this spring.
1. Who is QB1?
Heritage used three different quarterbacks see action last season. Kobe Meyer began the season and started four games before suffering a season-ending injury. Fellow junior-to-be Caleb Abbott stepped up to start the final seven games. Combined, the two threw three touchdowns and nine INTs, but facts are that a pair of players got plenty of reps at the varsity level as sophomores and both show promise.
Adding to the discussion, Eli Tigulis had a standout season on the JV team as a freshman and played most of the Jay County game, throwing for a pair of touchdowns in a rout of the Patriots in Week 9.
Between the trio, Kolkman has a variety of skill sets and all have at least two years of eligibility remaining. Does Meyer step back in to the top spot now that he is healthy? Or will Abbott or Tigulis factor in?
2. Can the defense continue its positive momentum?
Last year, the Patriots allowed a touch over 27 points per contest.
While that may sound like a lot, it was down 10 points from the previous season.
With its top six tacklers set to return, Heritage is in good shape entering 2022 as it looks to move further up the league standings.
The linebacker corps is the strength of the returnees, with Rylan Whitacre back for his senior campaign after leading the team in tackles the last few seasons. He is joined by fellow senior Isaac Nagy and junior Logan Teichman. Between the three, the unit amassed 146 tackles and 18 TFL in 2021.
Trimming the points allowed per game number by another 7-9 points would put the Patriots in position to potentially finish with a winning record.
3. Bigger? Stronger? Faster?
To compete with the likes of South Adams and Adams Central in the ACAC, you must be able to match those teams physically. Neither do anything particularly special when it comes to physical training, it is just that the entire program commits to it.
That and hours on the farm help too.
Coach Kolkman has preached that there is nothing inherently different between the Adams County schools and Heritage – purely commitment to getting in football shape and perfecting the fundamentals.
Now in Year 3 of the current regime, there are no more surprises when it comes to off-season. Kolkman has set the bar and it is up to his personnel to reach it.
If that happens, another step forward in 2022 is all but assured.