Published: Sep 21, 2011 02:00 AM
Modified: Sep 20, 2011 11:30 PM
Cary High football coach Ben Kolstad is from Green Bay, Wisc., and he played his high school football at City Stadium, the former home field of the Green Bay Packers.
Kolstad played quarterback for his father, John Kolstad, at Green Bay East High and the Cary coach later played at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The Packers' history and influence pervades the region where he grew up immersed in football.
Not surprisingly, Kolstad sees football as a tough game played by tough people.
"Frankly, if a kid isn't mentally and physically tough, he probably isn't going to get on the field for us," Kolstad said.
He describes Cary's linebacker corps as tough. "Not necessarily the best athletes, but tough kids who play physical football," Kolstad said. "You've got to love football in order to play it well."
Kolstad believes in a physical run-oriented offense, but the toughness he wants is more obvious among the defenders. The Imps have allowed just 73 yards rushing per game and
In its last 12 games, the Imps have allowed just 7.2 points per game - and that's with last week's 19-8 loss to Fuquay-Varina.
The Imps graduated four defensive starters from last year's unit, but Kolstad was confident in the preseason that the Cary defense would be strong again this season.
"I thought that we would be because of the dedication the players had shown," he said. "During the summer, we'd probably have one or two players a week miss a workout. I thought and revamped their defense a little from last year to maximized this year's players' abilities, but retained the same base alignment that can look like either a four or five--man defensive front.
Kolstad turned the defense over to his younger brother Andrew three years ago.
"Andrew is," Ben Kolstad said, "a younger me. He played for my Dad. He played at River Falls. He was a quarterback who switched to defensive back late in his career.
"He knows the way I think. We get together and he tells me the defensive game plan. We discuss it and that's it.
"He does a really good job of keeping it simple so that the kids don't have to do a lot of thinking. They can just play and do what we practice."
Kolstad believes in keeping fresh defensive linemen on the field and rotates six or seven players up front with Tristan Miller, Aaron Plynaar and Lennie Paul forming the nucleus.
Linebackers David Polletta, Anthony Konieczka and Xi Blue and rover Obed Mulenda line up at various spots.
The secondary has Anthony Sonnier, Jermaine Roberson, Landon Walton and Caleb Glass.
The unit is known for cohesiveness much more than for individual standouts and is versatile enough to handle spread offenses or straight ahead bangers.
The desire for toughnes goes back to the basic purpose of high school football, Kolstad said.
"We are helping boys become young men," he said.