By Steve Robinson | August 16, 2010 - 10:55 pm
Posted in Category: Olympia HS, Pekin Daily Times

FootballSTANFORD – Although his Stanford Olympia Spartans ended 2009 with a 4-5 mark, head coach Matt Koeppel was still pleased with the effort his players put in despite losing outcomes of two games toward the end last season, instead of where Koeppel was sure his crew might have finished.

“We were 4-3 going into the last two weeks,” Koeppel said. “And with the luck of the draw, we end up getting Mahomet, who was ranked third or fourth in the state, and then we get Rochester the last week, who everybody knows was number one at the time.”

But Rochester will not be a problem anymore for the Spartans, because the Rockets have switched to the Sangamon Conference. So, that still leaves the Spartans to battle remaining familiar Corn Belt foes.

Hazzard At QB: Koeppel has tapped senior Matt Hazzard to be his starting quarterback when the season opens Aug. 27. Hazzard has been stand-in to 3 1/2 –year starter Brent Williams who graduated in the spring. But the last time Hazzard was regularly under center was as a sophomore. With taking no snaps his junior year, the 2010 Spartans passer will, in effect, know the team’s system of play, but have no experience commanding it.

“(Hazzard) has been around for some victories. He’s watched how Williams handled the huddle the last couple years, and the kids respect him,” the fifth-season head coach said of his incoming senior passer. “Granted, it’s going to be new to him. He might take a couple games to get his feet wet. But he’s been working hard all summer. He’s gotten better each week this summer, so, we’re hoping that continues (improving) each week through the season.”

Stanford-Olympia SpartansHallstein To Lead Receiving Corps: Having grown a few inches to 6 foot-7, Spartans senior Mike Hallstein will have reach and be menacing for defenders to bring down as Olympia’s leading receiver. “It really helps having his height,” Koeppel said. “Last year, he had six or seven touchdown receptions, and we’re hoping he can just build on that and continue getting better.

“With the average defensive back being about 5 foot-7 or 5 foot-8, Hallstein will present problems for some teams,” Koeppel said.

Koeppel has tabbed junior Alex Slinker as a leading figure among running backs, despite his sitting out of football his sophomore season. But while Olympia will have Slinker leading the receivers, they will be without running back-defensive back combo player Chase Hainline, who opted not to play senior ball, to focus more on baseball.

Two returning fullbacks, seniors Cole Lawson and Brian Behrens, will add to Oly’s offensive weaponry, Koeppel said.

On the offensive front line, seniors Bret Wiggington and Travis Stutzman, and junior Eric Sheppleman are returning for another season.

Soccer Player Litwiler To Kick: Having graduated kicker Zack Zindel in the spring, Oly has again returned to looking for a soccer player to handle kicking chores. This season, junior Noah Litwiler, a first-season football player, will assume that responsibility, Koeppel said. He said Litwiler being a junior means two straight years of the same person kicking. Oly has had seniors kicking every year Koeppel has coached in Stanford.

McVey Leads Oly’s D: Now a senior with all-conference credentials, Briley McVey will be looked upon to guide Oly’s defense, Koeppel said. At linebacker, Koeppel said he expects to see “big things out of” senior Cole Lawson, as well.

Message For The Fans: As 2010 opens, Koeppel is aware that fans could have a tendency to expect instant positive results considering how the Spartans finished 2009. His message to the fans: “We try to tell the fans we’re going to go out there and do the best we can every Friday, and let the chips fall where they may,” Koeppel concluded.

Squib Kicks: Corn Belt Conference officials voted last winter to move up the starting time of conference games from 7:45p.m. to 7p.m. Junior varsity games, which had been played just before the varsity matchups, have had to be moved by all Corn Belt Conference schools. Oly JV home games will now be played Mondays at 6p.m., and freshman football will be played Thursdays at 6p.m. ….Olympia starts the season on the road Aug. 27 in a non-conference game against Peoria High….While Olympia’s player numbers has bounced up and down during the Koeppel era, the Spartans start 2010 with a 68-man roster….The Spartans’ first home game is Sept. 17 against Dunlap….Going into his fifth season as Spartans’ head coach, Koeppel has a record of 7-29.

This entry was posted on Monday, August 16th, 2010 at 10:55 pm and is filed under Olympia HS, Pekin Daily Times. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.