Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Wildcats at a Glance

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Wildcats at a Glance

Article excerpt

Hayden graduated a senior class in May that left its mark at the school in multiple sports.

The Wildcats had seniors that played on a pair of state championship teams in baseball, a state champ in soccer, a state runner-up team in basketball and Hayden's 2014 football team, which posted a runner-up state finish in Class 4A Division I last November.

Hayden coach Bill Arnold is not even going to pretend his team won't miss the 24-member class of '15 this football season, but the Wildcats, who have won a state title and been to the state finals two other times under Arnold, won't lower their expectations this fall.

"They're still the same and you've got to have that," said Arnold, who is 132-42 as a head football coach and has also coached the Wildcats to two state baseball titles. "When you start the season, if you don't think that you have the potential to be a state champion, I don't even know what you're putting the effort in for.

"We're going to put the effort in. We've got talent, but it's a new year, new faces."

Hayden, which will open the season on Sept. 4 at rival Seaman, returns three starters on both sides of the ball and 30 lettermen from last year's 11-2 team.

Top returners on offense, all seniors, include wide receiver Mason Dodd (6-foot, 175 pounds), running back Daniel Gaito (5-7, 170), lineman Jack O'Neal (5-9, 220), running back Connor Schumacher (5-11, 195) and lineman Will Stringer (6-2, 235).

Schumacher was the All-City returner and a second-team All- Centennial League pick last season, rushing for 842 yards on 100 carries and catching 37 passes for 580 yards. He had nine returns for 232 yards and scored 17 touchdowns.

Gaito rushed for 548 yards on 117 carries while Dodd caught 10 passes for 62 yards. Stringer was a second-team All-Centennial League pick at offensive tackle. …

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