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Football 2014: Circle Thunderbirds

Published August 19 at 8 a.m. | Last updated August 15 at 2:30 p.m.

Being defensive coordinator at a perennial football power such as Heights can draw a lot of attention for a coach.

But there was only one job that would even force Heath Henderson to consider leaving the Falcons.

“I told them that if Circle ever came open, that would be one I’d go for,” said Henderson, who got the job, taking over a team that went winless last season and managed one victory each of the previous two years.

For Henderson, adjustments will need to be made. For one, Circle is a big district but doesn’t have the talent pool that Heights has.

Still, he is enthusiastic for another chance to run a program after returning to Heights. Henderson coached West for four years, and even though the Pioneers managed just six victories in that span, he said his tenure wasn’t without some bright spots, thanks to the contributions of players such as brothers Jamez Jones and Arnez Jones.

At Circle, Henderson said he looking for big contributions from a group of seniors, led by quarterback Trey Davis, running back Clayton Perry and receiver Garrett Cannon.

Davis will be looked upon for leadership, Henderson said, and Perry will need to play more selfishly.

“We need him to be our bell cow,” Henderson said.

Cannon (6-foot-6, 190 pounds) will provide a good target for Davis when the Thunderbirds choose to pass out of the flexbone offense Henderson plans to install.

Henderson is also enthusiastic about senior fullback/linebacker Justin Wright.

“He might have been their best player last year,” Henderson said.

Wright will share time at fullback with senior Josh Walker, whom Henderson says is the team’s fastest player.

“The offense will center around them,” Henderson said.

And, should the players buy in to his ideas, it’s quite possible that the Thunderbird might start to resemble a Heights Falcon.

“They’re both birds of prey,” Henderson said.

A LOOK AT CIRCLE

Coach: Heath Henderson, first season

League: AV-CTL Division IV

Last season: 0-9

Last five seasons: 9-38

Projected 2013 playoff team? No

TOP SKILL PLAYERS

PlayerHt.Wt.Pos.Yr.
Clayton Perry 5-10195RB-SSr.
Trey Davis5-10170QB-SSr.
Garrett Cannon6-6190WRSr.
Justin Wright6-1200FB-LBSr.

TOP LINEMEN

PlayerHt.Wt.Pos.Yr.
Gabe Keplar6-1250G-DLJr.
Austin King6-0265G-DLSo.
Brenden Jentzen6-6220DEJr.

2013 RESULTS

OpponentScore
AugustaL,33-20
WinfieldL,29-7
CollegiateL,42-0
AndaleL,66-7
WellingtonL,43-0
ClearwaterL,27-7
HesstonL,62-20
El DoradoL,39-7
Maize SouthL,48-0

2014 SCHEDULE

DateOpponent
Sept. 5at Chapman
Sept. 12Collegiate
Sept. 19Wellington
Sept. 26at Andale
Oct. 2Mulvane
Oct. 10at Clearwater
Oct. 16El Dorado
Oct. 24at Andover Central
Oct. 31Topeka Hayden

Trey Davis on his team

What Circle does best: “We run the ball pretty well. We’ve got three or four running backs, so we’re going to be good running the ball.”

What has to improve: “We’ve just got to get more kids out. We’re down in numbers and need to improve them so we can be fresh and ready to go. ”