Maize football: Sophomore QB works behind veteran line
Maize coach Gary Guzman is in the second season of rebuilding the Eagles. The strength of his team is right where a coach might choose the line.
The Eagles return four starters from their offensive line, a group that is especially important as is protects sophomore quarterback Conner Lungwitz.
Everything starts with the offensive line, Guzman said. Weve got a lot of seniors starting and we feel like we have some pretty good leadership out of those seniors.
Lungwitz played in a few varsity games last season. Most of his playing time came in junior varsity games. Guzman likes his progress, especially as a passing threat.
He sits in the pocket pretty well and is very poised, Guzman said. He seems to understand our offense pretty well and knows what he is looking for.
Seniors Collin Nitcher, Spencer Baalman, Blaise Fountain and Joseph Hamer lead the offensive line.
When we come together like that on the line, it really brings the rest of the offense together, Nitcher, a second-team All-Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League pick, said. We were really young last year. Were definitely stronger. Weve been in the weight room getting stronger.
On defense, All-AV-CTL safety Landon Lemuz is the top returner and must support an inexperienced secondary. Guzman considers his linebackers a strong point and likes his depth on the defensive line.
Senior Ethan Stallbaumer, an honorable-mention all-league pick, is back at linebacker. Senior Brayden Wood and junior Nick Benford highlight the line.
Guzman, a former coach at Southeast and Kapaun Mount Carmel, looks forward to his second season at Maize. He was hired in the late spring of 2011, hampering his efforts to organize.
Its been a lot easier this time around, he said. I didnt really have a chance to get to know the kids. This time around Im going through a whole year of conditioning. Its certainly a much easier transition.