Horsepower in Highland

Published 10/26 2011 09:40PM

Updated 10/27 2011 12:50PM

Highland, KS--In his first year as the head coach of the Doniphan West football team, Nick Fuemmeler never imaged he'd be in the playoffs.

"They've exceeded my expectations, i didn't know if we'd be sitting here 7-1, I didn't know we'd be sitting here talking about the playoffs."

He's driven the Mustangs to their first playoff birth since 2005, and he's doing it with  18 players, a roster smaller than  several 8-man squads throughout Missouri and Kansas.

"Early in the year, we'd come out of the locker room and teams would kind of look at our 18 guys and chuckle. I told em, shut em up."

Less is more for the Mustangs. Fuemerling's a former assistant coach at ACCHS. He took over a rusty program with rusty facilities, but he kicked the tires and changed the culture.

"I think we amped it up a little bit from what they're used to. They understand  they've gotta work hard, that they've gott be in shape. They wanted better than what they've done in recent years."    

Fuemmeler says the success is infectious, hoping this year's success turns out more players in 2012; but no matter the numbers, the message stays the same.

"There's some more interest. There's already some kids in the building talking about coming out next year. If they're willing to come out and invest and work-out in the weight room, then we'll be glad to have them. If we come out here and we have 19 guys again next year, as long as it's 19 guys that are willing to work hard and invest, then we'll go with what we got."

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