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Sterling College

Sterling College’s 1-10 campaign in 2011 gave way to a rebuilding year for the Warriors in 2012. Lots of young players saw a lot of reps as the Warrior program sought to build experience and teamwork.  With head coach Andy Lambert’s pedigree, you can bet that the Warriors won’t be rebuilding for long.  Even with a 3 win season in ’12, the Warriors still managed a #2 ranking defensively in the KCAC, surrendering only 287 yards per game and 18.6 points per game.  Tough defense in Sterling is just about as reliable as the sun coming up in the east.  It’s a given.  

Returning for the Warriors defense are senior linebackers James Morely, Colorado Springs, CO, and Kris Lehman, Smith Center, KS.  Morely and Lehman will work to fill the void left by graduated all-conference performers Brian Noller and Kirby Rice.  Expect both to come thru in a big way as both are 4-year Warriors who are extremely familiar with DC Chuck Lamberts defense.  In the defensive backfield, junior Chris Williams, Oak Grove, CA is back.  Up front, Adam Guthmiller out of St. Francis, KS returns as well.  With the consistency and continuity the Warriors have continued to show on defense year after year, improvement in 2013 is just about guaranteed.

Offense for the Warriors is a totally different story.  Last season, the offense was only able to muster 318 yards and 16.9 points per game.  Not nearly enough production to compete.  In the past years (2004, 2007) when SC was at the top of the conference, they averaged 25-30 points per game.  Not an extravagant amount of production, but effective when combined with the strong defense they play.  Sterling simply must improve when they have the ball.

Returning to aim at that goal is junior quarterback John Cardona from Los Angeles, CA.  Cardona is entering his third season in the Warrior program and will be charged with leading the offense in 2013.  In the backfield, Dentton Hudspeth, Denton, TX will settle into a running back role after leading the Sterling offense in rushing last year and making second team all-conference.  Leading receiver Jordan Coleman, North Port, FL will be back after an all KCAC honorable mention season last year.  The biggest cause for optimism is along the offensive line.  Anchored by senior honorable mention all KCAC performers Matt Schmidt, San Jose, CA at tight end, and Kyle Finder, Kingman, KS, they are joined by returners Mike Walker, Stillwater, OK, Kyle Croak, Midwest City, OK, Zach Beams, Concordia, KS and Gabe Dierkson, Sterling KS.  For the run first, ball control offense that Sterling likes to run, the depth and experience returning along the line certainly will support an improvement in production.  

Schedule wise, the Warriors open with a tough road test against NCAA Division two Panhandle State.  The HAAC matchup for Sterling is Culver Stockton, whom Sterling can compete with if they can find a way to move the ball.  Conference play starts off with three tough opponents in Friends, Tabor and Bethany.    

Taking into account the situation on the offensive line, I foresee a big improvement out of Sterling in 2013.  The quality of the coaching staff and the program that has been installed at SC just doesn’t justify them being a sub-par team for long.