WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Wichita Northwest Grizzlies finished last season with a trip to the quarterfinals of the KSHSAA playoffs and an 8-3 record. For most schools, that’d be considered successful, but it was the most losses the Grizzlies have had since 2016.

They have been a 5A and 6A powerhouse the last couple of years but have yet to come home with a state title. That may change this year, but it’ll be up to a new starting quarterback, junior Jayce Glasper.

“His job is to get the ball to playmakers in space,” explained head coach Steve Martin. “This offense could be one of the best we’ve had, but it’s going to take some growing pains. We have a new guy, so we’re going to keep the playbook simple for him and let him get comfortable, and then open it up as he gets more comfortable.”

However, he is paired with one of if not the most talented backfield in the state, which should help Glasper transition into the starting 11.

“It’s fun, and it makes your job easy,” said senior running back LJ Phillips. “Knowing that I have Cencere Thompson right next to me, I know I may miss a block, but he’s so athletic that he can make a play on his own and save my butt, so it helps a lot.”

The talent of the two running backs does not go unnoticed by their teammates.

“I’m very excited,” added senior offensive lineman Jacob Lamb. “We have LJ coming back. Cencere coming back. I mean we have the best backfield in 6A at least. I’m ready.”

Nor does their leadership go unrecognized by their head coach.

“They’re dictating what’s going on at practice,” said Martin. “Now, instead of us forcing the culture and forcing the issues, they’re teaching, and they’re learning, helping those young guys learn and keep progressing.”