Russell Bronco Football Preview
The Russell High School football team kicks off its season on Friday, September 3 at Shaffer Field in Russell against Ellis.
It's one of two home games to begin the season for the Broncos, who host longtime rival TMP-Marian in week two for homecoming. RHS travels to Norton in week three and begins Class 3A District 6 play the following week at Southeast of Saline. The Broncos travel to Scott City on October 1 before returning home the next two weeks to host Colby and Goodland. And Russell will visit Smoky Valley in week eight.
RHS is coming off a 1-8 campaign last year, after finishing 1-8 in 2019, 3-6 in 2018 and 4-5 in 2017.
Russell welcomes a new Head Coach in Mark Baldwin. He is new to high school football coaching, but definitely not new to coaching in Russell. Baldwin has several years of experience coaching at the middle school and youth football levels in Russell. In 2020, Baldwin guided Russell's Ruppenthal Middle School football team to a 6-1 record.
Baldwin said he plans to run the wishbone offense and a 4-3 defense, but he also won't be afraid to shake it up once in a while.
The Broncos only graduated three seniors from last year, including quarterback, wide receiver and all-league punter Braydon Gibson, as well as lineman Brayden Ford.
There are 38 young men on the roster this year, with most of the team comprised of seniors and freshmen.
The most notable returning player is senior running back and all-league honorable mention linebacker Jesse Whitmer, who led the team in rushing yards last year and has led the defense in tackles the last couple years.
The key to a good run game is blocking and RHS will have some experience up front.
Senior Andrew Roth is expected to start at quarterback. He started the final game of the 2020 season against Council Grove.
Baldwin said his goal for the team is to be competitive on and off the field.
Joining Baldwin on the coaching staff are returning Assistant Coaches Christien Ozores and Luke Keller and new Assistant Coaches Chris Sohm and Cyrus Haynes.