The opening season for Legacy football coach Corey Heinz didn’t start the way he or his program wanted at 0-6 while being outscored 266-118 in that span. But after allowing 67 points to perennial …
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The opening season for Legacy football coach Corey Heinz didn’t start the way he or his program wanted at 0-6 while being outscored 266-118 in that span. But after allowing 67 points to perennial power, Fairview, in the sixth game, the Lightning ended their season looking like a completely new team.
Rattling off 4-straight wins to end the regular season (outscored opponents 193-130), Legacy squeezed their way into the 5A state playoffs. In the opening round upset, the Lightning defeated Mullen on the road, 33-24, before falling to Grandview, ending their season.
“I think (last season) we grew into a mature team,” Heinz said last week in a phone interview. “We played a lot of young guys late in the year, and I think that paid some dividends. I think our guys know what to expect now from the coaching staff in our schemes. So, hopefully, we can continue to mature as a football team and pick up where we left off.”
As 16-18 seniors return, filling essential positions, such as quarterback is a necessity after Nic McCarthy graduated. Senior Brayden Harris and sophomore Adarius Edwards are locked in a battle for the job with a little over a week before the regular season begins.
“We are looking for the most efficient guy to replace Nic. We have a lot of skill guys, so hopefully, we can get some guys in space as quickly and as easily as we can,” Heinz said. “Offensively, I think we will have some growing pains with some young kids, but I think we will be just fine.”
One constant for this offense will be the return of all-conference senior tailback Dakota Key, who ran for 1,799 yards last year on 297 carries (6.1 yards per carry). Despite the outstanding campaign, relieving the workhorses touches may help the downhill runner in the long-haul. Sophomore Braelon Tate may end up being that relief with the impressive offseason he’s had in this back-centered system.
Upfront, Legacy returns an offensive line that Heinz raved about athletically. Not being the most massive group, the ability to get downfield to the second level of the defense will only enhance this flexible running attack. On the perimeter, big-play junior leading receiver Jaiden Peterson anchors a talented, but young group ready to show what they can do.
“I think we know what it is like to play hard now. We know what it is like to play smart and finish games,” Heinz said. “I think that was a big thing early and I don’t think we understood what exactly it took to win at a high level. With our kids now I think they understand after a second offseason in the high 5A level.”
The Lighting improved their defense drastically from 44.3 ppg in their first six games to 29.2 ppg in their final six in part of the offense playing better and giving the defensive players a rest. More of the same results will likely follow if the Legacy offense finds a rhythm early in the season.
Seniors Hunter O’Connor and Adam Lynch take hold of the unit as last season’s leaders in sacks and tackles respectively. O’Connor recorded eight sacks and with the addition of 40 pounds gained this offseason, Heinz believes this is a guy destined to play on Saturdays. Lynch will anchor the middle at linebacker expecting to improve on his impressive 109-tackle season a year ago.
“Our goal is to win the conference. That will always be our first goal. After you win the conference, you are normally guaranteed a pretty good seed in the playoffs. Hopefully, we can make some noise in the playoffs kind of like we did last year but hopefully with a little bit easier route. If you can make a run, maybe host a playoff game, you never know what can happen,” Heinz said.
Looking to atone for last year’s loss, Legacy will host in-town rival Broomfield Aug. 30 at Adams 12 North Stadium. The contest will kick off at 7 p.m.
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