By The Telegram

Not since 2005 have the Syracuse Bulldogs tasted a winning season.

With 13 returning lettermen, including six starters on both offense and defense, head coach Chris Pollart is looking for better things in 2009.

"We are returning quite a bit of experience and that should help," Pollart said. "We have a good group of senior leaders ready to step it up a notch."

Among those senior leaders are quarterback Tate Housholder (6-3, 175) and lineman Tate Lampe (6-0, 275). Lampe was a second team All-Area selection by The Telegram as a junior while Housholder was an honorable mention pick.

"As with many schools our size (2A) we don't have a lot of depth," Pollart said. "We must stay healthy to be successful."

Housholder will trigger the Bulldog offense that will run multiple sets this year. The southpaw also possesses good running speed and Pollart will try to use the multi-dimensional skills of his senior leader.

Joining Lampe up front will be massive seniors Zach Seal (6-0, 290) and Aric Eichhorn (6-2, 290).

Pollart will be relying on junior running back Braeden Simon (5-10, 165, jr.) and transfer junior Casey DeVries (6-3, 215, ). DeVries lived in Syracuse as a freshman and his family moved away for a year before returning for this school year. Simon was a starter on the Bulldogs' third-place basketball team last March at the 2A state tournament as was Housholder.

On the offensive/defensive line, Pollart will also look for returning senior center Darrin Simon (5-10, 175), Miguel Gonzales (5-9, 170, jr.) and junior tight end Ben Stultz (6-2, 180) to provide strong support to Lampe and Eichhorn in blocking.

One of the top Bulldogs' basketball players a year ago, now-senior Andrew Brown (6-2, 185) is out for the team for the first time and will likely be at the wide receiver spot. Other top newcomers include wide receiver Gary Parks (5-9, 155, so.), lineman Jaime Garcia (5-10, 185, jr.) and running back Brad Weilert (6-0, 165, sr.).

The Bulldogs, 2-7 a year ago and just 1-8 in 2007, open on the road at Class 3A Ness City/Dighton, a team they defeated a year ago, 36-16.

Bulldogs notes: On Sept. 11, Syracuse will be hosting Stanton County (Johnson) to open their Hi-Plains League schedule. Also that night, the 1969 Syracuse football team will be honored in a halftime ceremony to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Syracuse's only undefeated/untied team in school history. That team went 8-0, claiming the HPL championship in the process, and just missed qualifying for the 2A state playoffs (the first year for Kansas to have playoffs).

Head coach Jerome Yeutter and assistant coach Ray Seib from that 1969 team will be in attendance as well as many others from that 40-player roster. An open house in the Syracuse High School Commons Area will follow the game.