End Of A New Beginning
This 2023 football season was different with almost an entirely new coaching staff. There were five new coaches with one of them being Head Coach Landon Wright, who had a goal of changing the team’s culture with a much sturdier regiment from the start. The Rockets had more discipline and confidence coming into the season. We had a new face join the Rockets in sophomore running back Keedrin Jones, who came from Ulysses earlier this year. In regard to his first year as a Rocket, Jones stated, “My first year at Rose Hill has been good. For football season, we did okay but we have a lot of improvement to make this next year. Just for myself, I expect a lot more and we’re going to see a whole new KJ next year. This year, I feel like we ended on a good note with a lot of good memories. My teammates were really good and awesome teammates; my favorite would have to be Connor Wallis, or Qb1, because he showed me a lot and we just had good chemistry. We had a lot of ups and downs this year, like the Abilene game, which was not a good game for me. We always found a way to bounce back whether it would be the next game or the next half. With this team we always wanted to win. At halftime of the Winfield game, nobody was down and everybody’s heads were up; we were all believing that we could come out of the game with a win and that’s what we did. Coach Wright always asks who wants it more and says that we need our dawgs to be dawgs and that’s what we did that game.” The start of the season was rough with two losses to state powerhouses Collegiate and Andale, but the Rockets came back with much needed wins win against Clearwater and Mulvane with large contributions from Jones rushing the ball and receiving yards from senior wide receiver Jace Evans. The Rocket’s other regular season victory came against against the El Dorado Wildcats where senior quarterback Connor Wallis set a school record with 421 yards passing to go along with four touchdowns in that game. When asking 3-year letterman Blake Struble about his last year as a Rocket football player he said, “For my last season it was great to play with my friends that I have played with since first grade one last time. At first, with a new head coach, I was a little worried, but we played better than I ever expected and I made memories that I will never forget.” Struble is one of the many seniors that will be graduating after this school year. The other seniors include 2-year letterman Connor Wallis, 3-year letterman Jace Evans, 3-year letterman Landon Naylor, 3-year letterman Brodyn Ford, 3-year letterman Dawson Mcnaul, 3-year letterman Kallen Higdon, 2-year letterman Connor Jackson, 2-year letterman Jarret Jones, 3-year letterman Ayden Klingenburg, 1-year letterman Trevor Logan, 4-year letterman Kulton Richwine, and 3-year letterman Keegan Taylor. These seniors brought us to a 4-6 season, which is not as good as what they had hoped for, but the friendships and experience gained along the way will last a lifetime. When asking Coach Wright about his thoughts about the season he said, “There are a lot of positives to take away; the boys fought hard all year and displayed great character the vast majority of the time. Statistically, we improved significantly in many categories, but obviously we would have liked to have won more games. There are lots of positives we can build on moving forward.” While the graduating seniors will be missed, the underclassmen are determined to continue working hard as they build upon this year for what should be an exciting 2024 football season.