Written by Wayne Dzubak
Graduation hit the Capital football team hard following a 6-4 2019 campaign.
Seven starters, including quarterback Carson Bohning, lineman Jonah Blackman, Lucas Shepard and Jayce French along with defensive backs Isaac Walker Cooper and Tanner Leaf, left long time Head Coach Todd Simis with a boat-load of experience to replace before the 2020 season opener August 28 at Madison.
However Simis, now in his 17th season leading the Eagles, has plenty of talent returning and may well have a contender for Player of the Year in two-way lineman Charley Hastriter.
“I expect him to be a contender for defensive player of the year,” Simis said. “He is a dominant defender.”
Hastriter will have some talented company on that Capital defense. Jackson Reed was second team All-SIC in 2019 at linebacker while defensive back Justus Del Rio also earned second team honors.
Meridian transfer linebacker Kaden Reimer played on the Capital JV in 2019 and coach Simis said his fast, physical play will make an immediate impact on varsity.
“Our skill guys are experienced, so the key to our explosiveness will be how well our quarterback and line play can develop,” Simis said.
That will all depend on the productivity of junior quarterback Max Clark, the heir apparent to Bohning under center. Clark ran the Capital JV offense in 2019.
“Clark did a fantastic job leading our JV and has the skill set to be very effective as a first-year starter,” Simis said.
Simis plans to steer into Clark’s skillset, as Capital is working on a no-huddle spread offense and taking the tempo up a notch to keep the secondary on its heels.
Luckily, Clark will have some talented targets at receiver. Kody Walk, Jackson Reed, Gabe Bacon and Justus Del Rio are all capable playmakers back for another season.
And when the Eagles run the football, Sean Holstein will get the bulk of the carries after splitting duties last year.
Capital’s last state title came in 1991. The Eagles finished the 2019 regular season with a 6-3 record, losing at Eagle on the final Friday of the regular season. In a quirk of playoff seeding, Capital had to return to Eagle the very next Friday where the Mustangs handed Capital a 51-32 playoff loss.