Paxton Returns Core on the Gridiron
Following a season that was a bit of a struggle for the Paxton Tigers in which they went 2-6, they look to be much improved in 2023. Scott Jorgensen, entering his 7th season as head coach of the Tigers, feels optimistic about his team this season. "Our season outlook is very favorable this year. We have a core group of kids that have seen a tremendous amount of playing time since they were freshmen, along with the fact they were in some very close games that just didn't go our way. Now this group is Seniors and Juniors and we need to finish the job."
Those group of returners includes Tommy Markussen, Tanner Hebblethwaite, Gunnar Foster, Joe Eakins, and more.
Markussen, now a senior will look to build off a great 2022 season at quarterback. Markussen threw for 1,151 yards and 15 touchdowns last year. He'll return some weapons to throw the ball to also. Hebblethwaite was one of his leading pass catchers last year with 16 grabs for 278 yards and four touchdowns. Leading the team in catches and receiving touchdowns last year was Kobe Florom. He snared 21 passes for 229 yards and five touchdowns. In his senior season, he will look to expand on that.
Gunnar Foster, previously mentioned, will be another player to watch for. Foster averaged 106 all-purpose yards per game last season and had 10 rushing touchdowns.
Paxton is in the D6-4 District along with Arthur County, Brady, Southwest, Wallace, and Wauneta-Palisade. They will start the season on August 25th at home versus Hay Springs.
Paxton Looks to Upperclassmen to Lead this Fall
While head coach, Lindsey Jorgensen, has a fairly young team, she will look to her junior and senior to lead the way for the underclassmen.
Junior, Noah Connick, will return to lead the Tigers as he is coming off a 20th-place finish at the RPAC meet.
Ainsley McConnell, a senior and returning state qualifier, will lead the girl's team; she finished 6th at the RPAC meet and 14th at the D6 District. Sophomores, Ella Fote and Madilynn Mullen have a year under their belt now and will look to improve off of their 10th and 11th place finishes at RPAC.
Paxton Returns Firepower and Experience
After posting their first winning season since 2015 with 22 wins a year ago, the Paxton volleyball team will push for even more this season as the Tigers return almost all of their offensive production.
Seniors Audrey Holm (373 kills) and Jacelyn Jorgensen (236 kills) return to anchor the offense after each hit better than .200 a year ago. Holm and Jorgensen were also the top two for the Tigers in digs, stuff blocks, service winners and serve receptions. They do about everything for Paxton.
But they're not the only returners with quality varsity experience for the Tigers.
Sarah Brott, a junior, averaged nearly a kill per set from the middle a year ago. Fellow juniors Madison Hanson and Savanna McMahon provide ball-handling experience as passers and Hansen was half of the Tiger's setting duo last year. The only loss to graduation was senior setter Jayden Gartner. Jordan Clouse also had 35 kills and nearly 200 digs for Paxton a year ago.
One hurdle for the Tigers to overcome is conference rival Wallace, which defeated Paxton in all four meetings between the two a year ago.
Those matchups may become important as the season enters the conference tournament and eventually subdistricts.