SHELBINA, Mo. -- The South Shelby football teams under Rob Wilt have a reputation of playing smashmouth offense in between the tackles.
This season, the Cardinals are adjusting that by picking up the tempo and wanting to play sideline to sideline.
The personnel in the backfield allows South Shelby to do that.
"There are three guys I'm comfortable carrying the ball 15-20 times a game," Wilt said. "Our skill guys are pretty solid."
It starts with the running back tandem of junior Brock Wood and senior Cody McKenzie, along with senior quarterback Dylan Threlkeld. Those three have speed -- all run the 40-yard dash in less than five seconds -- that Wilt wants to use to the Cardinals' advantage.
McKenzie returns after gaining 1,124 yards on 192 carries with 11 touchdowns last season, while Wood rushed for 832 yards on 88 attempts and a team-high 13 touchdowns on a team that went 6-5 and loss to Monroe City 28-22 in the district semifinals.
"I think we all complement each other really well," Wood said. "I can go around the edge. Cody can go up the middle. You don't really know what's going to come."
The key will be getting Wood out in space on the outside, which will open up the middle for McKenzie.
South Shelby's offensive line is smaller up front with players like seniors Phillip Hercules and Luke Farrell, who are both less than 6 feee tall, but do have junior Gage Rainey at 6 feet, 2 inches. A smaller offensive line, however, allows the Cardinals to get blockers on the outside to help Wood.
"That's something we're definitely looking at this year and get people out in space," Wilt said. "We want make people to cover us sideline to sideline maybe more than we have in years past."
The Cardinals won't be run-heavy, either.
Threlkeld, whose cousin Brett Threlkeld quarterbacked South Shelby to a Class 1 quarterfinal berth in 2014, takes over under center after the transfer of Alec Patterson. Threlkeld will be used in misdirection runs, but will also have the ability to throw the football.
"He's not your protypical quarterback, but he gets the job done," Wilt said. "I don't think he has the speed as Brett does, but he has a lot of similarities in terms of playing smart."
He has targets that can contribute.
South Shelby returns senior Ransom Chapin and senior Donivan Wilkerson at wide receiver. The duo combined for 14 catches and three touchdowns. The Cardinals also welcome sophomore wide out Guy Timbrook, who stands in at 6-2.
"I'd like to think we'll be tough to defend," Wood said. "We can keep defenses on edge because they don't know what we'll hit them with."
For what Wood brings offensively, Wilt wants him to help anchor South Shelby's defense from the secondary. Last season, Wood made 30 tackles and nine pass deflections, but Wilt wants more production.
The Cardinals allowed 20.2 points per game last season.
"He was a great cover man, but wasn't the ballhawk we want out of him," Wilt said. "We're really preaching to him he should be a guy that has 8-10 interceptions this year."
SOUTH SHELBY: AT A GLANCE
Coach: Rob Wilt (83-43 at South Shelby, 11th season)
2016 record: 6-5 (4-4 Clarence Cannon Conference)
Offense -- RB Brock Wood, 6-0, 165, Jr.; RB Cody McKenzie, 5-10, 170, Sr.; QB Dylan Threlkeld, 5-8, 165, Sr.; WR Ransom Chapin, 5-9, 170, Sr.; OL Phillip Hercules, 5-11, 200, Sr.; OL Gage Rainey, 6-2, 255, Jr.; OL Luke Farrell, 5-11, 195, Sr.
Defense -- LT Brett Hall, 5-9, 210, Sr.; FS Donivan Wilkerson, 6-1, 210, Sr.; LB Threlkeld; CB Wood; CB/LB McKenzie; SS Chapin; DE/LB Farrell.
OL/LB Cason Wilt, 5-10, 210, Soph.; WR/CB Guy Timbrook, 6-3, 180, Soph.; DL Jorden Garza, 6-1, 275, Sr.
Aug. 18 Brookfield
Aug. 25 Louisiana
Sept. 1 at Monroe City
Sept. 8 at Palmyra
Sept. 15 Centralia
Sept. 22 at Macon
Sept. 29 Highland
Oct. 6 at Clark County
Oct. 13 at Scotland County
LAST TEN YEARS
Year Overall (Conf.) Coach
2016 6-5 (4-4) Rob Wilt
2015 6-7 (2-6) Rob Wilt
2014 10-3 (6-2) Rob Wilt
2013 7-5 (5-4) Rob Wilt
2012 8-5 (5-4) Rob Wilt
2011 10-5 (3-4) Rob Wilt
2010 11-2 (6-1) Rob Wilt
2009 10-2 (6-1) Rob Wilt
2008 8-3 (5-2) Rob Wilt
2007 7-5 (3-4) Rob Wilt