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By Mark Requet
The South Shelby Cardinals enter the 2023 football season looking to build off last season’s success, but as with the case in most seasons, the Cardinals will have to do that in the always difficult and challenging Clarence Cannon Conference.
The Cardinals will return 17 lettermen this season, with eight starters returning on offense and six starters returning on defense.
Key returning starters on offense are senior runningback Kendal Hammond (6’2”, 210); senior wide receiver and runningback Cameron Wiseman (5’10”, 180); senior offensive lineman Chance Rainey (6’3”, 210); and senior wide receiver Jarron Durbin (6’3”, 180).
Defensive returning starters are Hammond at linebacker, Wiseman at defensive back, Rainey at outside linebacker, senior defensive lineman Ethan Dodd (6’0”, 220), and junior outside linebacker Cooper Elsen, (6’1”, 185).
Top newcomers this year are junior defensive back Preston Elsen (5’10”, 165); junior offensive/defensive lineman Aadon Magruder (6’0”, 190); junior Kaiden Poole (6’2”, 200); senior linebacker/tight end Jordan Timbrook (6’0”, 180); and junior linebacker Gabe Bowen (5’10”, 190).
Head Coach Adam Gunterman said the offense will run pistol, but have very multiple sets.
“The strength in our offense starts with experience. We have five lineman that started at least three varsity games last year,” said Coach Gunterman. “We return a great deal of production in the run game with Kendal Hammond. We also return our leading receiver in All-Stater Cameron Wiseman, and red zone threat in Jarron Durbin.”
Defensively, the Cardinals will mostly use a 3-4 defense.
“Our defensive strengths are returning some core players. All-State Outside Linebacker Chance Rainey returns along with Ethan Dodd who is coming off a season ending injury,” stated Gunterman. “We have great players at every level that are hungry to make South Shelby a great defensive football team. Our defense will be fast and rally to the play. We have kids that are excited to play defense.”
Coach Gunterman said one of the most important factors for his team this year is that the entire coaching staff returns from last season, but more importantly that the team executes on the field.
“We can do great things, but we have to focus on the small details and take one game at a time,” said Gunterman.
South Shelby will host Milan, Monroe City, Highland, Centralia, and Palmyra. The Cardinals will travel to Westran, Brookfield, Clark County and Macon.
The Cardinals were 8-4 overall last season with a 4-3 record in the Clarence Cannon Conference.