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Triad Knights Football Team Gearing Up For Upcoming Return To A Fall Schedule

By Anthony Jones

Change may be the best word to describe the upcoming season for the Triad football team. The Knights have been hit with a lot of changes whether it be having their offseason slashed down, to changes with their opponents, or most of their varsity starters graduating.

The most unique to this season and perhaps the most challenging of the changes in the team’s way is the shortened offseason. In a typical season, the team would have finished anywhere from late October to mid-November for about nine to ten months between games. However with the spring season of football finishing in late April last season, the squad will have just over 4 months between games.

Triad’s Head Coach Paul Bassler said when asked if the offseason change had a noticeable impact, “It did. Especially with as young of a group as we have. We had a lot of seniors graduate and we don’t have as much experience coming back so it has impacted us a little bit in addition to compounding with spring sports going later into the summer. Also not having July to work with and vacations to work with and all of that stuff it just became a nightmare. So I had to be overly patient with everybody. Summer is summer, kids go on vacation, they’re supposed to do that. We didn’t get done near as much as we normally would have done in a pre-COVID situation. It is what it is, things were just out of our control. It’s still full steam ahead, we’re going to move on and forward and do the best we can.”

Another tough change for the Knights is the majority of the team’s starters graduating after last season. On the defensive side of the ball, now seniors Roger Wolf and Kaden Marmon will be the only starters to return for Triad. The offense will certainly have big shoes to fill as their top five yard getters from last year all graduated as well.

“You’ve just gotta make things easy and go at their pace rather than being too creative. You’ve got to make it simple for them and let them play rather than think. Also let them be athletes and play football like they love to. That’s the approach you’ve got to take and be a little more patient.” Bassler said of coaching a more youthful squad.

Despite their lack of varsity experience, their coach still feels very positive about his unit,“We have a really good group of kids. They’re younger, they have a passion for football, and they love being out there, so it makes it easy to love coaching them. I’m really excited to see, I think we’ll be very, very competitive. I don’t think we’ll run roughshod over anyone, but I think we will be in every game. I don’t think people will blow us out or anything.”

Looking ahead to later in the season, another notable switch up for Triad for the year is the addition of the Lincoln Railsplitters to the schedule in place of Mt. Zion in the week nine slot. The Railsplitters have one of the oldest high school programs in the state, having played since 1899, prior to the implementation of the forward pass to the game. Playing host to the matchup this year, Lincoln is a little of 100 miles and around 1 hour and 45 minutes away from Triad.

“I think they run a similar offense, especially what we did last year more with the triple option type of attack out of the pistol or the gun, opposed to under center. Two years ago in 2019 we got to see them on film before we actually got them on the schedule. They were in the same conference as Sacred Heart-Griffin and we played them in the playoffs so we saw them on film. It’s a game I’m looking forward to and I think it’s a good game to end our season with. I like travelling, some coaches don’t, but we made sure that when we went to Mattoon we were at home against Lincoln and vice versa,” Coach Bassler said of the new opponent on the Knight’s schedule.

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