New Mustang QB ‘ready to be the next guy’

New-look Mustangs primed to build on success of 2021 season


The 2022 Salina Central Mustangs will have a new quarterback in junior Gunnar Gross, and Head Coach Mark Sandbo has reasons to be confident in him.

Even though this is Gross’ first year as the starting quarterback, he did get playing time at different positions during his sophomore year.

“Gunnar has been ready to be the next guy. He’s got some experience,” Sandbo said. “He played against a really good Andover Central team as an inside backer last year as a sophomore, so the lights won’t be too big for him.”

Kenyon McMillan, who averaged 11.7 yards per carry while splitting carries with Micah Moore, will be starting at running back.

“I think he’s gonna get more touches, which I know Kenyon likes,” Sandbo said. “I think Kenyon with those additional touches and a really good backup running back in Elijah Wilson, I think you could see an even more impressive senior year from Kenyon.”

The Mustangs have new quality players to offset the loss of players from the class of 2022, Sandbo said.

“(Defensive lineman) Hunter Swolensky sat out last year, but he’s playing this year as a senior and he’s a physical presence,” Sandbo said. “(Linebacker) Ty Young is a sophomore and we have Donovan Johnson at inside backer, so we’ve got some guys coming up that we’re excited to see play on a Friday night.”

After questionable special teams play over the past few seasons, it’s looking like that unit is being improved greatly this year, Sandbo said.

“I think we’ve been kind of lackluster in that just because we haven’t had a true kicker,” Sandbo said. “But we’ve had some guys plug in and some really good coaching going on that has made us pretty effective in the special teams phase of the game.

“This year we have a soccer kid (Abram Jennings) coming over who can really thump the ball, so we’re excited about our special teams.”

After finishing last year with a regular season record of 7-3, The Mustangs made it past the first round of the playoffs with a 42-10 win over the Liberal Redskins but lost in the second round to the Wichita Northwest Grizzlies.

“If we’re playing to our best, then we’re an awfully good football team,” Sandbo said.

The Mustangs open the season Friday night at Salina Stadium against crosstown rival Salina South.