Chiefs seeking success

Published 3:59 pm Sunday, May 13, 2012

A trip to the state semifinals is something most teams look back on with pride, but for the Northview Chiefs, the achievement is something to build on with more success.

The Chiefs have been in spring practice for more than a week and are looking to move from the semifinals to the state championship in the 2012 season.

That chance will only come with hard work and for the Chiefs close to 60 players are up to the challenge.

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After seven practices, one thing that is noticeable is they want to find more success than last season, Chiefs Head Football Coach Sid Wheatley said.

“Going well,” he said. “Kids are working hard and we’ve had a decent turnout with 58 taking part in practice. They are working and hopefully building off of our past success. That will be the big thing in getting mentally prepared to come out and get better every day.”

The 2011 squad had some talented players that helped them reach the next to last round of the playoffs including quarterback Brandon Sheets, running back Montaio Mitchell and defensive tackle Sean Knight.

Even with those key players missing from this season’s squad, the chance to improve is there with several returning players, Wheatley said.

“We lost some key kids, but we have a good nucleus back,” he said. “We have three running backs coming back that really played well last year, and we also have three interior linemen returning. There are some big shoes to fill, but I think we are going to be fine.”

The big question is replacing Sheets, who led the team until being suspended for the semifinal game.

Answering that question is easy with the player that replaced Sheets in that game being able to suit up next season, Wheatley said.

“Kevin (Vaughan) is our returning leader with the most experience under center,” he said. “He’s the guy in that position right now, but we also have some other kids we are working there because it always pays to be prepared for anything to happen in that position.”

Defensively, the Chiefs plan to be just a strong as the 2011 unit.

Players stepping up into leadership roles has been a good development of the spring, Wheatley said.

“Our defense looks good right now,” he said. “We’ve had some guys step up on the line, which will be important when we replace Sean Knight. Guys are really getting after it and guys like Stetson Nash and Logan Weber really come to mind.”

The Chiefs will close out spring practice next Thursday with a game against the West Florida Tech Jaguars. Northview will host the game at 7 p.m. in Bratt, Fla.