RED JACKET – Mingo Central head football coach Yogi Kinder says he is “so happy to be 3-1. We could easily be 2-2 with the close game with Tolsia.”
The Miners could also be 4-0, with a tough one point loss in the season opener against Wyoming East.
Kinder’s young squad has steadily improved as the season has progressed.
He has had several players that have improved their games. “Stevie (Hammond) and Deonte (Joplin) have really stepped it up,” Kinder said. “These guys are getting better every game. Also, Chance Lester, Chase Justice and Dakewon Willis are running hard. Wide receivers Alex Lee, Nathaniel Abbot and Tyler Jude have played well. We have seen them improve each week too.”
Kinder also praised several of his offensive linemen including Clay Ellis, Zach Holt, Ethan Collins and Andrew Dingess.
“Defensively, Corey Blankenship, Kebo Lester, Michael Mitchem and Austin Prater are playing well,” Kinder added. Mingo Central had its bye week last Friday and it came at a good time. Players had the chance to heal up the bumps, bruises and sprains that they normally get in action. The first two seasons the Miners had their bye week in week No. 2 on the schedule. That is very early and coaches like to have the bye in the middle part of the schedule.
“I liked having our open week now. It has given us a chance to get some early injuries healed and we will be getting players back this week - Brandon Blankenship and Cole Ellis, both of whom started last year, but haven’t played since the first of August,” Kinder said. Blankenship suffered a concussion in the first game of the season. Mingo Central, ranked No. 11 in the SSAC poll in Class 2A, will host Wayne this week. The Pioneers are coming off back to back state championships and are the Cardinal Conference champs too. “Wayne is the team to beat every year in our conference,” the longtime coach said. “They have plenty of good players and coaches.”
“In our conference we don’t have any easy games. That is why I wanted to join this Cardinal Conference. I like the competition. Our kids are getting better at knowing their competition and we have a bunch of young players that are undefeated in JV games. The kids are getting a lot of experience in those games.”
Kinder and his staff know that Wayne is one of the Class AA top programs in the state. This week’s game will be a tough one for their young squad.
The last two years Mingo Central finished 5-5, but they had enough points to finish in the top 16 and make the post season last year. That is the goal once again.
“We take them one game at a time. Hopefully we will keep improving and our goal is to make the playoffs,” Kinder concluded.