2018-11-07 ssl-btw_ss4

Sand Springs senior quarterback Caden Pennington, right, threw two touchdowns and ran for one in a 48-21 loss to No. 3 BTW Friday, Nov. 2 at S.E. Williams Stadium. DYLAN CAHWEE/Leader

Caden Pennington had a hand in everything Sand Springs did on offense in 2018. But the former Sandite quarterback had plenty of help en route to his success on the ground and through the air.

The offensive line paved the way for Pennington, and it’ll be up to the guys up front to usher in a new era for Sand Springs.

With Braden Foster and Ty Pennington competing for quarterback snaps, Sand Springs coach Dustin Kinard knows at least he’ll have some returning pieces up front to get the offense in a groove this season.

“Those guys are going to have to step up since we’ll have a newer or younger quarterback,” Kinard said of trio of seniors, Nick Hancock, Ryan Johnson and Josh Fincannon.

“We’ll have to protect the quarterback because it’ll be a first-time starter on Friday night.”

Hancock (6-foot-3, 280 pounds) will handle the left tackle duties, and Johnson (6-2, 285) will be positioned next to Hancock at left guard. Fincannon (6-2, 240) will anchor the right tackle spot for the Sandites.

The center spot has two candidates heading into preseason practices — junior Santana Naugle and sophomore Morgan Eubanks. Junior Jacob Weathers figures to slot in at right guard, and Kinard mentioned junior Lane Webster as another lineman who figures to see extensive time somewhere on the offensive front.

“We need the three returners to really step up,” Kinard said. “We’ll need to establish the run, and then take some shots with play action.”

In 2018, Caden Pennington and running back Joel Mackey combined for 1,815 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. Pennington also added 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns in the passing game.

And Kinard knows the passing game will only be successful if the Sandites can create opportunities with several ball carriers first.

“We’re looking forward to those guys up front establishing our physical run game,” Kinard said. “And I’m hoping we can establish more depth along the offensive line as we go along.”

Rachel Snyder 918-581-8315