By The Telegram

Returning to his alma mater to coach in 2008, Gary Campas had to wonder sometimes if he didn't find himself on a roller coaster.

In his debut season at the helm of the Wichita County Indians, Campas saw his team drop its first two games by a combined 66-16.

Then, in a major turnabout, the Tribe won its next four games, outscoring its opponents 88-33.

Back down the roller coast ride, they dropped their first two district games to Rawlins County and St. Francis with the margin 118-32. The Indians capped heir 5-4 season by nudging Syracuse 34-30.

Wichita County had gone 4-1 in the Hi-Plains League division for smaller schools.

"We graduated some good seniors last year so we have some sizable holes to fill this year," Campas said. "But I believe we have some kids who will step up and several of our skill positions will be back this year, so I'm confident that we can continue to improve our program."

With seniors quarterback Watson McKinney (6-0, 170) and receiver Steven Harkness (6-1, 175), Campas has one of the top passing and receiving combinations in the area. McKinney threw for 1,790 yards while Harkness 800 yards receiving and garnered all-league honors. Harkness and McKinney were both tabbed to The Telegram's honorable mention all-area team as juniors.

"We have some bigger kids coming out this year that haven't played much before," Campas said. "But if they are willing to put in some hard work they can help us greatly."

One of those newcomers is 6-7, 275-pound junior lineman Trae Bremer.

Included among the 18 returning starters (nine offense, nine defense) are seniors Trenton Weilert (6-0, 190) at center/defensive line, center/defensive line Breck Fletcher (6-0, 200), and junior running back/defensive back Alec Horton (6-2, 195) and junior Drew Smith (6-0, 185) at running back/defensive back. Campas also expects solid performances from junior Mario Mancillas (5-7, 160) at defensive back and sophomore Gabe Martinez (5-9, 160) at running back/defensive back.