Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

Berthoud football ready to take the next step

By: Dan Karpiel | The Surveyor | October 08, 2020 | Football

As the old saying goes, better late than never.

After more than a two-month delay and then a week or so of back and forth, the Colorado High School Activities Association finally gave the green light for fall football. And Berthoud High School (BHS) Head Coach Cory Ticnor and his team could not be more excited.

“I’ve never experienced starting a football season when the leaves have already changed colors a little bit so that’s definitely different,” Ticnor said as his team began practice Monday afternoon on newly installed synthetic turf at Max Marr Stadium at BHS.

Ticnor acknowledged the tumultuous will-we-or-won’t-we offseason did throw a wrench into the spring and summer plans for practices, camps, conditioning work and team-building activities but also expressed confidence the team will be ready to play come Friday night.

Said Ticnor, “My message to the team when we started our belated fall camp was ‘we’ve got microwave this thing.’ As a coaching staff, we did a lot of things differently to try to get us caught up. The nice thing about what happened this summer is we’re not the only program who has to deal with this so I do believe there is somewhat of a level playing field with our league and our competition. I think we’re caching up pretty quick, the last week and a half has been big for us.”

Berthoud enters the 2020 season looking to rebound from a disappointing 1-8 campaign last year in Ticnor’s first season leading the program. While the Spartans did lose a number of key players to graduation, including All-State tailback Cooper Stratmeyer and several defensive standouts including Skyler Radloff, L.T. Torres, Colton Williams, Dalton Williams and Derek Hoffmeister, the team returns many key starters.

Despite surrendering 277 points in nine games in 2019, Berthoud’s defense was a strength for the team and the unit’s coach, Defensive Coordinator Travis Lease, and their base scheme, the 3-3 stack, remain in place with linebackers and team captains Austin Burdette and Cooper Hidalgo anchoring the unit. Speaking on the defensive scheme Ticnor said, “that’s the system I ran as a defensive coordinator at Fossil Ridge and I’m a big believer in how it applies to many different high school offenses. I’m really confident in our group on that side of the ball this year.”

Last season, Berthoud was minus-eight in turnover differential as the offense gave the ball away a whopping 23 times. Ticnor hopes that will improve this season and remade the offensive staff, which will be led by longtime Loveland High School offensive coordinator, Stan Matsunaka. “We hit it off right away,” Ticnor said of Matsunaka, “His offense has had some success at the high school level and I asked him to bring his playbook here and gave him complete control of our offense.”

“I’m really excited about our offense this year,” Ticnor said. Sophomore Tristan Youngblood is firmly entrenched as the team’s starting quarterback after taking some reps late in games last year, and Ticnor believes he is poised to have a breakout season. Ticnor is also confident the team will see an improved offensive line, with senior Peter Bullet, who will start at right guard, serving as the unit’s captain with Garrett Glasser, Easton Armitage and Garrett Purman filling key roles along the front and hopefully opening some running lanes for first-string halfback Tanner Coble.

“We’ve made a lot of strides with our culture … I think the kids are really buying in and there is just a natural excitement to being to finally play football. I’ve got some high hopes for this team,” Ticnor said. The team had to forgo some planning camping trips and hiking excursions initially planned for this summer due to the contact prohibitions brought about by the pandemic but Ticnor believes the team will have a very strong locker room and team-first culture, both of which he said have been emphasized.

Asked what will constitute a successful season for BHS football, Ticnor replied, “The expectations at Berthoud High School are always playoffs … and I would be remised if I didn’t say that was our expectations this year. We have a young team and we’ve got a couple tough teams in our amended league this year. I really expect for us to push for that playoff pool this year even though there’s only eight teams this year, if there was 16, I think we would be a shoo-in. I’m expecting us to come out and be competitive and take the next step in growth that I’ve implemented with my vision for this program that I started to implement in year one last year.”

Berthoud will travel to Lakewood this Friday night to take on Alameda for their season opener with kickoff scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

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