On The Dotte 9/24/2014

Conner Byers (Bonner Springs)

by David Brox, davidbrox@shukc.com

I got my first look live at the Bonner Springs Braves and walked away very impressed.  It is a testament to coach Lucas Aslin and his staff that they have seemly reloaded their powerful offensive attack from last year.  The team speed alone was too much for the Basehor-Linwood Bobcats on Friday night and will present a problem for any team they face this year.

Conner Byers has been the backup behind talented QB Jordan Jackson the last two seasons.  The junior has taken over the reigns and the Braves are galloping through opposing defenses.  Byers connected on 4 TD passes on Friday and showed good patience and poise running the football as well.  As it stands he is among area leaders in both passing and rushing.  Most importantly he is scoring TD’s (12) at a very high rate.

Byers is flanked by an impressive group of skill position players that will test any defenses patience and team speed.  The first is returning starter at WR, Jonah Freese who posted his second 100+ yard game Friday night.  He scored 2 TD’s and has scored in each of the first 3 games for the Braves.  He is averaging over 20 yards per reception and with his 6’3 frame, creates serious match up issues.  I asked Freese what the difference or change from last year.

Jonah Freese (Bonner Springs)

“So far the biggest adjustment was learning to be isolated by myself on one side of the ball, I had to get used to the one on one battle.”, said Freese.

The 6’3 Freese is flanked on one side and then a trio of receivers on the other forces you to go one on one with Freese or play zone.  Byers and Freese are locked in right now which has been key on deep passes. 

“It makes a big difference to our offense if I don’t get the double team. I have to do my job to help my team mates do theirs.”

If there opponents decide to play zone then this is when Hayden Hoffine, Thaddeus Glenn and Michael Amayo kick into action.  Glenn who plays offense, defense and special teams has been all over the field for the Braves.  He is also right up there with Freese in regards to number of receptions.  The thing to focus on the most with Glenn however is his ability to run after the catch.  He is catching most of his passes in the flat or in the middle of the field and turning them into big plays.  This is the case with all of these players is their ability to make things happen in the open field.

Marcell Holmes (Bonner Springs)

Marcell Holmes has taken over as the feature running back for the Braves and he was very effective on the ground and with his ability to catch screens.  He keeps defenses honest on outside contain.  There were a few runs to the left that turned into counters right.  This all do to his ability to make fast cuts and then the speed to get to the edge.

Bonner Springs has been one of the best early season teams in our coverage area.  In 2012 they came out 3-0 but suffered a heart breaking loss against Piper which started a 6 game losing streak.  In 2013 they started out 6-1 only losing to a regular season undefeated Mill Valley squad.  Bonner would drop 2 of 3 in districts ending their season.  Time will tell if this group of team leaders can take the next logical step which is getting back into the playoffs.

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