Seniors provide Warriors with much needed leadership
By Mark Ambrogi
The number of seniors on Danville High School football team might be small, but their contributions certainly aren’t.
From Left, Chandler Schubert, Tyler Dostin. Coach K.C. Woods, Kale Payne and Tommy West. (Photo by Rick Myers)
“It’s small in numbers but big in leadership,” Warriors coach K.C. Woods. “They’ve been absolutely fantastic leading.”
The eight seniors, including six starters, have helped lead the Warriors (8-5) to a semistate championship against Class 3A No. 2 Heritage Hills at 8 p.m. Friday at Danville.
“They’re my first group when I came here,” said Woods, in is fourth season as coach. “As freshmen, they were on scout team and they played their tails off on scout team for us. Some of them did that as sophomores as well but finally got their shot as juniors to really contribute in a major way. The whole time they’ve had incredible work ethic, great kids to coach. Now that they are in charge that is what they are infusing it into the team.”
There is an undeniable senior bond, senior linebacker Tommy West said.
“This group cares a lot about football,” West said. “We play for each other and just individual. It’s a lot more fun when you play for each other and not individual stat lines. Most of us have been together since kindergarten.”
The seniors include standout running back Chandler Schubert, who leads the team with 1,896 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. Schubert also starts at strong safety.
Woods said the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Schubert has always been a workhorse. Schubert competes in wrestling and track and field as well.
“You don’t see too many three-sport athletes anymore,” Woods said. “He’s constantly working. He never disappoints. He’s quick, fast and explosive and hard to bring down. He’s always been durable. Physically, he’s a freak.”
With a small senior class, naturally juniors and sophomores have been key. The sophomore group includes Kale Payne, who became starting quarterback in the second game, and leading receiver Tyler Dostin.
Payne has competed 56.2 percent of his passes en route to 24 touchdown passes with just five interceptions.
Payne had transferred from Avon and had just 12 practices with the team. So Woods said they decided not to start him in the opener against Franklin, a solid Class 5A team which finished 8-3.
“We knew he could be a special player and week two, we decided to throw him out there,” Woods said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be any easier against Mooresville. But he played well and gave us a chance to win. He’s been good ever since. He continues to grow by leaps and bounds every week.
“His decision-making has made him more accurate. He’s playing with confidence. When he grips it and rips it with confidence, he’s pretty accurate. He’s got some great velocity on the ball.Mentally being confident in what he is doing and what seeing is probably the biggest improvement.”
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Dostin has a team-high 37 catches and six touchdowns. He had season-high seven catches in a 35-14 victory over Vincennes Lincoln in the regional.
“He’s a big physical kid and when he catches the ball he’s a load to bring down,” Woods said. “He put that on display (against Vincennes Lincoln). He was able to drag a few guys. He got some key first downs and there are some touchdowns where he is going up high over some kids.”