Gridiron Preview: Krietemeyer raising bar for veteran Unity-Pays - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Gridiron Preview: Krietemeyer raising bar for veteran Unity-Payson squad

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First year head coach Kevin Krietemeyer takes over a Unity-Payson team with 13 seniors and a line-up full of veteran experience. First year head coach Kevin Krietemeyer takes over a Unity-Payson team with 13 seniors and a line-up full of veteran experience.

MENDON, Il. (WGEM) -- In the last 13 years the Unity football program, which is now Unity-Payson, has only one playoff appearance, and the Mustangs are coming off of a disappointing two win season.

However, new head coach Kevin Krietemeyer is breathing life into a team with experience all over the field.

"I think they understand that they had some opportunities to make some plays and they understand that if they do some things such as not fumbling the ball, not throwing picks, and tackling, that we can be successful," Krietemeyer expressed.

With nearly every starter coming back on both sides of the ball, Krietemeyer may be the right man at the exact right time to turn the Mustangs struggles into a team that could burst onto the scene.

"Last year we thought we'd be decent, and this year he's making us prove it," senior wide receiver Alex Blickhan told WGEM Sports.

"Our coach this year is a lot louder and very passionate and lets you know that he is," added senior lineman Lane Davis.

"He makes you have more energy. I definitely feel like we have the potential to be a lot better than we were last year."

While most of the early chatter has been about the up-tempo offense Unity-Payson will deploy, it's the potential of a veteran defense that has caught the eye of its new boss.

"Overall defensively, we're ahead of the game and we're ready to go," Krietemeyer said.

"We're going to return about seven starters and add a couple other kids that are going to be pretty good for us."

"We're learning how to tackle, because last year that was our biggest problem on defense is that we missed tackles and didn't have proper technique," added senior defensive back and quarterback Brady Loos.

"Coach brought us some techniques from (Culver-Stockton) that I think will be a lot better."

With roughly two weeks of practice left until week one kicks off, it's hard to tell how much of a leap this team can take with so little time under the new coaching regime.

If it comes together, the Mustangs feel like they could be playing past week nine.

"We definitely have the talent to make the playoffs this year," Alex Blickhan expressed.

"It just comes down to playing hard all the time and the group of kids we have this year are great guys and really work hard."

"We want to take care of ourselves and just focus on the fundamentals and understand that stuff will take care of itself," Krietemeyer added.

"I think they do have high hopes. I came in not really understanding the (2-7 season) and not sure what they'd have, but knowing that 13 seniors and a lot of kids that have played a lot of football, with a good will, and the ball rolling the right way, we may end up in the playoffs."

The Mustangs will open up the year with an August 30th match-up against West Central.

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