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Ames • Ballard

C-M • Colo-NESCO • Gilbert

Nevada • Roland-Story

South Hamilton

From farm to phenom Roland-Story sophomore Zach Twedt plays with a maturity that is way beyond his years, and that’s drawn the interest of college recruiters and a scholarship offer from Iowa State Page 4

Ames Tribune

Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 Ames Tribune Mid-Iowa High School Football Preview


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Table of contents

AMES: The Little Cyclones will depend on their defense in 2018. Page 10 BALLARD: Bombers are ready for a fresh start. Page 9 GILBERT: Tigers are aiming to rebound from a rare down season. Page 6 NEVADA: Inexperienced Cubs must learn quickly. Page 18 COLO-NESCO: Royals must overcome youthful squad to maintain winning ways. Page 17 COLLINS-MAXWELL: The Spartans are hoping to make big strides in second season. Page 14 ROLAND-STORY: Norsemen will follow the lead of large, experienced senior class. Page 13 SOUTH HAMILTON: Hawks looking to capitalize on historic season. Page 19

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From farm boy to phenom Only a sophomore, but Roland-Story’s Zach Twedt is mature beyond his years By Hayes Gardner

Staff Writer hgardner@amestrib.com

Roland-Story’s Zach Twedt. PHOTO BY NIRMALENDU MAJUMDAR/AMES TRIBUNE

In the spring of 2017, Iowa State linebackers coach Tyson Veidt paid a visit to Roland-Story High School to meet with some of the program’s older players. Roland-Story coach Aaron Stensland told Veidt that, just for kicks, he was also going to bring over a kid from the middle school. Veidt spoke with the players and, after the meeting, turned to Stensland, confused. “Hey, I thought you were bringing an eighth-grader over?” he said. “I said, ‘I did! He’s right there!’” Stensland recalls. That eighth-grader was Zach Twedt, and less than a year later, the Cyclones offered him a scholarship. At 6-foot-3 and with an athletic body type, Twedt stands out among his peers. But what might be even more striking, and likely why Veidt mistook him for a highschooler, is his charisma.

“I was just a lowkey farm kid in Iowa, just raising my cows. The next thing I know, I got a D-I college sport in the same room as I am. It was quite a pleasure and a blessing.” Zach Twedt, Roland-Story sophomore

“It’s like you’re talking to a 25-year old kid. He’s a different maturity level for someone who’s not even 16 yet,” Stensland said of Twedt, now a sophomore and one of the most talented athletes in Class 2A. Twedt remembers that meeting with Veidt, remembers his eyes widening in the moment, remembers it as “breathtaking.” “I was just a low-key farm kid in Iowa, just raising my cows,” he said. “The next thing I know, I

got a D-I college sport in the same room as I am. It was quite a pleasure and a blessing.” Stensland, who teaches English and physical education at the middle school, always suspected Twedt would be a standout. “When I mistook him for a teacher, as a seventhgrader, I knew then that there was a potential that he was going to be very good,” Stensland said. Then, that spring, Twedt ran the 100-meter dash in nearly 11 seconds. “I thought, if he can keep his head on his shoulders, this kid has the potential to be one of the best to every play here at Roland-Story,” Stensland said. So far, he’s been pretty impressive. Shortly after finishing eighth grade, he pitched for the varsity baseball team, posting a 6-1 record and a 1.44 ERA. Last fall, he notched 40 tackles as a freshman and also excelled as a kick returner, where he averaged


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32 yards per return and ran one of his nine touches back for a touchdown. By January, ISU had offered him as an outside linebacker. “I still remember the day I was sitting there in coach (Matt) Campbell’s office,” Twedt said. “I was pretty speechless. A few tears came to the eye.” He might look like he could be the main character in a high school TV show — think Zack Morris from “Saved By The Bell” — but Twedt insists he’s just a farm boy. Born and raised in Story City, Twedt’s family raises cows and grows crops. That keeps him busy, which, he says, is why he doesn’t have time to have a girlfriend or watch many college or professional sports. The only major sporting events he’s ever attended are ISU football and basketball games. “I learned to drive a little tractor at five years old, a little stick shift tractor,” he said. “Heck, ever since then, I’ve always been scooping cow manure or doing whatever.” His responsibilities now include waking up at 5 a.m. (“after awhile, you just get a natural alarm in your head”) and making sure the cows are fed. He always, always showers before heading to school for weightlifting. “I don’t wanna be that kid in the weightroom that smells like cow poop,” he said. This season, Twedt is expected to have an expanded role on offense and defense. He’ll play safety and outside linebacker and, on offense, a variety of positions, including wide receiver, tight end and tailback to create favorable mismatches. “Like any coach does when you have a great player, you just try to find a million ways to get that guy the ball,” Stensland said. Last season, Twedt played about only half of

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Roland-Story’s Zach Twedt made 40 tackles last season as a freshman.

the offensive snaps, but he won’t rest nearly as much this year. Stensland expects to play him essentially every play, except on punt return. “That might be the one time that he’s off the field for a break,” Stensland said, adding: “We’ll use him until he’s exhausted every Friday night.” That’s fine by Twedt. “I’m always trying to be out there the whole time,” he said. “I hate coming off for breaks.” Last season, RolandStory had a disappointing 4-5 finish, including four losses by eight points or less. But this season, led in part by Twedt, the Norsemen are hoping for a much different result. Twedt is one of six players with college scholarship offers — quite a few for a school with just 182 male students. One of those, junior lineman Nic Hansen, is out for the season with a torn ACL, but the other four are

AMES TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO

Roland-Story’s Zach Twedt averaged 32 yards per kickoff return last season, including one he returned for a touchdown. AMES TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO

seniors who are healthy and eager. There’s Ben Chelsvig, who set a school record with 1,502 rushing yards last year, Nathan Bell, who finished third in 2A with 101 tackles, Colby Gray, an elite punter and cornerback, and Drake Day, a quarterback and safety who transferred from West Burlington. All have offers from a mixture of jucos, NAIA and Division II schools. The group — part of a

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senior class of 20 — has heard legends of the two Roland-Story state championship teams from the 1980s, and remembers the 2008 team, which lost in the state semifinals. As a kid, Bell attended that game at the UNI-Dome. “It would be pretty cool if we could get there some day,” he remembers saying at the time. This year, the loaded senior class hopes to leave

its mark. That’s why they chose the team slogan as, “Defending Our Tradition.” “In the past, RolandStory football has been really good,” senior running back Jakob Pittman said. “That’s kind of the tradition of Roland-Story football, so we want to, in a sense, bring it back.” Said Twedt: “This year is about setting the tone and starting a tradition, as well as defending our tradition.” Stensland, now in his fifth year at Roland-Story, grew up in Iowa Falls, where his team perennially admired Roland-Story. “We used Roland-Story as the pinnacle. That’s who we talked about,” he said. “We gotta be like Roland-Story.” Recently, Norsemen in the football program have become more serious, more focused. Players are participating in 7-on-7 training and spending their summers visiting colleges. They’ve become closer off the field. Some seniors

have even asked for advice from Twedt as to how to talk to colleges and to best approach recruitment. “It’s been a contagious spread throughout the whole team,” Twedt said. The Norsemen have 15 returning starters and two instant-impact transfers in Day and lineman David Downs, so a return to some of the school’s storied history could be in the cards. “(With) 20 seniors, as a coach, you’re kind of grinning inside because you know seniors have that little bit of attitude, have that little bit of edge, have that confidence that you don’t have as a junior and sophomore,” said Stensland. Well, most players might not. But Twedt certainly does. “It’s like he is kind of a senior,” Stensland said. Twedt said this year has a different feel than the disappointing 2017 one. “Last year, we kind of had a leadership issue. Our senior class last year wasn’t the best, and this year, for sure, nothing but great senior class. “All great kids to look up to for all these younger freshmen and sophomores,” Twedt said, before remembering that he is one of those sophomores: “Oh, myself, too.” When asked about his leadership role, Twedt admits that, yes, even with so much valuable experience around him, he does act as a team leader. Still, he understands how essential the seniors will be this season. Said Twedt: “They’ve always been a really dominant class for Roland-Story. I’ve gotten to be really good friends with them because of last year. Honestly, just looking for a season to remember.” For Stensland, his time coaching Twedt has already been memorable. “He’s one of those that a coach has probably once in a career,” he said.


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Gilbert aims to rebound from losing season By Luke Manderfeld

Special to the Tribune

The Gilbert football program isn’t very familiar with losing, and that’s what made 2017 all the more tough to swallow. The Tigers struggled with inconsistency and an inability to close out games, finishing last season with a 2-7 record, the program’s worst mark since it finished 2-8 in 2011. As the losses piled up, the year become more and more trying for the coaches and players alike. “It took a toll on use mentally,” senior receiver, tight end and defensive end Anthony Porter said. “That was the biggest problem, and it was tough on us, knowing that each week we had the potential to win those games. It was taking that potential and putting it on the field.” But Gilbert is trying to take last year’s woes and turn them into the fuel for 2018 success. Coach Scott Auderer has seen some extra motivation after a week of official team practices. “Last year did not go the way we wanted it to go. We’re not used to that

at Gilbert,” Auderer said. “They learned a lot from last year’s season, and they learned about what it takes to be successful. I think they are taking that to heart, and they’ve approached every practice with great attitude and great effort.” The Tiger offense will be led by a core group of seniors, with some experienced players returning to skill positions. Senior Matt Barragy went through a rough season himself at quarterback, throwing 16 interceptions to just 12 touchdowns. He completed passes at a 48.5-percent clip. Going into the new season, Barragy seems to have turned a new leaf. Auderer has seen a shift in Barragy’s focus and leadership during the offseason. “He’s light years ahead of where he was last year,” Auderer said. “He’s good. As far as improvement, he might be one of the most improved players, not just on this year’s team, but on any team I’ve ever had. “His confidence level is up and his ability to be a leader has improved.” Receiver Landon Howard is another senior on the

Gilbert’s senior returning starters are, from left, Cole Steenhoek, Landon Howard, Mitchell Johnson, Anthony Porter and Jacob Gildehaus. PHOTO BY NIRMALENDU MAJUMDAR/AMES TRIBUNE

Gilbert Aug. 31 vs. Webster City Sept. 7 at Roland-Story Sept. 14 at Boone Sept. 21 vs. Greene County Sept. 28 at Ballard Oct. 5 vs. Carlisle Oct. 12 at North Polk Oct. 19 vs. BondurantFarrar Oct. 26 at Norwalk

offensive side of the ball who will be expected to step up. Howard caught 31 passes for team-leading 613 yards last year, an average of 19.8 years per reception.

His six receiving touchdowns paced the team as well. Howard said he made some strides both physically and mentally in the offseason. “I’m trying to step up my game this year,” Howard said. “I think we can be more explosive as an offense.” Howard’s role will increase because of the loss of fellow receiver Keegan Sturdy, who amassed the second-most receiving yards on the team in 2017. Sturdy, who was entering his senior year, moved to Kansas City after his father, Todd, a former Iowa State assistant coach, was tabbed as the head coach

of MidAmerican Nazerene University. “(Sturdy) was a playercoach,” Auderer said. “He could coach 80 percent of what our receivers needed to learn. He was a general on the field and knew how to lead. He didn’t worry about himself and the player he was going to be, but he wanted to play hard and be the best. That part we will miss.” On defense, Gilbert is inexperienced. The Tigers have just two starters returning, Auderer said. It’s going to take an all-around effort from that unit to make stops and get the offense back on the field. “We’re going to be extremely young, in age and

experience,” Auderer said. “Some of the seniors on the team are going to have to step up. If we’re going to have some success in the win-loss column, our young players need to step up as well, there’s no doubt, especially when our defense is almost all new.” However the lineup shakes out before the Tigers’ season-opening matchup against Webster City at home on August 24, there’s an aura around this squad that seems different than at this time last year. They’re ready to change the narrative. “I’ve seen the level of focus,” Porter said. “We’re ready for a winning season this year.”


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Ballard’s returning starters, clockwise from front left, Joe Hofbauer, Blake Henga, Connor Drew, Brenden Vincent, Kegan Odden,Jesse Hugee, Jake Smith, Skyler Noftsger, Sam Andrews, Brooks Fleischmann and Reece Huen hope to have Ballard contending for the Class 3A District 8 title under first-year co-head coaches Corey Vespestad and Kyle Howard. PHOTO BY JOE RANDLEMAN/AMES TRIBUNE

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Vespestad, Howard take over as co-coaches at Ballard By Joe Randleman Staff Writer

Ballard

The 2018 season will mark a fresh start for the Ballard football program, and the Bombers are hoping to make an immediate impact under new co-head coaches Corey Vespestad and Kyle Howard. Vespestad has 20 years of experience coaching as an assistant at Ballard, including as the defensive coordinator. Howard had coached at Ballard the previous three seasons, helping out with the freshman team. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work together in the roles of co-head coaches,” Vespestad said. “We have similar coaching philosophies and balance each other well. “We are both dedicated to developing young men to succeed on and off the football field.” They inherit a team returning 10 starters off last year’s 5-4 squad. On offense, Ballard will run multiple formations. The Bombers will be led by five senior returning starters in running back Skyler Noftsger, running back/receiver Reece Huen, receiver Kegan Odden and offensive linemen Jesse Hugee and Jake Smith. Noftsger ran for 852 yards

Aug. 24 at Boone Aug. 31 Carroll Sept. 7 Dallas Center-Grimes Sept. 14 at Winterset Sept. 21 Gilbert Sept. 28 at Bondurant-Farrar Oct. 5 at Carlisle Oct. 12 Norwalk Oct. 19 North Polk

and 10 touchdowns last season. Huen caught 22 passes for 358 yards, ran for 462 yards and totaled seven touchdowns and Odden made 19 grabs for 339 yards and five touchdowns in 2017. Also looking to contribute at running back for Ballard in 2018 are Donovan Bertrand, Wyatt Borg, Carson Finch, Blake Henga, Blaine Hermann, Paxon Jobe, Aaron Kinshaw, Braiden Marlatt, Mason Murphy and Sam Petersen. Henga ran for 156 yards and two scores a year ago. Helping out at receiver will be Hayden Bentrott, Reece Boer, Jim Chism, Nic Edwards, Conner Finch, Brooks Fleischmann, Logan Harmeyer, Lucas Johnson, Max Johnson, Brendan Kaldenberg, Jack Luster, Kade Miller, Nolan Schonhorst, Henry Thompson, Alex Upah, Brenden Vincent and

“We are excited for the season. We have an awesome group of kids that work hard and are surrounded by great senior leadership.” Corey Vespestad, Ballard co-head coach

Kyler Watson. Luster made two catches for 54 yards last season. Potential candidates to join Hugee on the offensive line this fall are: Sam Andrews, Nick Archibald, Mason Askelson, Rylee Davidson, Breck Doddema, Cory Hennick, Joe Hofbauer, Thomas Locker, Lucas Maire, Tony Miranda, Riley Neel, Austin Nelson, Sam Salasek, Marshall Sheldahl, Gabe Shelton, Kenny Smith, Drew VanZee, Nick Vasey, Logan Volkmann, Donny White, Jeremiah Wilkerson and Andrew Williams. In contention to replace dual threat Isaac Schafbuch at quarterback this fall are Connor Drew, Edwards, Henga, Huen and Caleb Hartsook. Ballard will go out of a 3-4 on defense. Hofbauer, Andrews, Fleischmann and Henga — all seniors — are the returning

defensive starters for the Bombers. Hofbauer made 32 tackles and recovered a fumble last season. He will anchor the defensive line this fall and others looking to fill the other spots up front are Davidson, Doddema, Hugee, Maire, Miranda, Neel, Nelson, Logan Nosekabel, Sheldahl, Jake Smith, Kenny Smith, VanZee, Vasey, Volkmann and White. Andrews is back at linebacker after making 44 tackles in 2017. Archibald, Askelson, Finch, Hartsook, Hennick, Tomas Locker, Sam Salasek, Shelton and Williams could also see time at inside linebacker. At outside linebacker, Ballard will have Borg, Chims, Finch, Harmeyer, Jobe, Lucas Johnson, Wilkerson, Volkmann and Luster competing for playing time. Henga and Fleischmann both return with experience in the defensive backfield. Henga made 33.5 tackles and returned two interceptions for touchdowns at safety and Fleischmann recorded 12.5 tackles at corner. Looking to fill the other safety spot will be Broer, Huen, Marlatt, Oden, Petersen and Upah. Bentrott, Edwards, Finch, Hermann, Kaldenberg, Murphy, Petersen and Watson will compete for time at corner.

Vincent is back at kicker and Drew returns at punter for the Bombers. Vincent made 33 extra points and one field goal last year as a junior and Drew averaged 33 yards on 25 punts as a freshman in 2017. Ballard moves to Class 3A District 8 this season. The Bombers will face familiar foes in Bondurant-Farrar, Carlisle, Gilbert and old rival North Polk, along with a powerhouse Norwalk program. “Top to bottom, we feel it is one of the best districts in 3A,” Vespestad said. “It will be a great opportunity to see how our kids match up against them week after week.” Vespestad said he thinks the district title will be up for grabs. “We feel the district is wide open and it is hard to say who is favored, since we haven’t played three of the five teams in recent years,” Vespestad said. “But we know they are all well-coached and have strong football traditions. We know we will need to bring our ‘A’ game every week.” In non-district competition, North Polk faces off against Boone, Carroll, Dallas CenterGrimes and Winterset. “We are excited for the season,” Vespestad said. “We have an awesome group of kids that work hard and are surrounded by great senior leadership.”


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AMES HIGH’S ‘NASTY’ BOYS The Ames High football team expects to field an improved defense this fall, led by returning defensive linemen, from left, Cal Wild, Marshawn Smith and Kiaeem Mosley. Bernard Bell says the Little Cyclones’ defensive line is “nasty.” PHOTO BY NIRMALENDU MAJUMDAR/AMES TRIBUNE

Teammate


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Ames’ senior retuning starters are, front row, from left, Jared Braun, Bernard Bell, Marshawn Smith, Gage Ante, Kiaeem Mosley a nd Christian Griffin; and back row, from left, Jake Schmidt, Will Krapfl, Bryce Merges, Branden Woodsmall and Cal Wild. PHOTO BY NIRMALEMNDU MAJUMDAR/AMES TRIBUNE

Defense will lead way for Ames By Hayes Gardner

Staff Writer hgardner@amestrib.com

In five losses last year, Ames gave up an average of 58 points. None of those games were particularly close. But this year, the Little Cyclones believe defense will be their forte, and it starts with their front four. “Oh my gosh, the D-Line is nasty. They’re gonna be really good this year and bring a lot of sacks in. I’m ready for that,” senior defensive back Bernard Bell said. Ames returns seniors Cal Wild, Kiaeem Mosley

Ames Aug. 24 vs. Cedar Falls Aug. 31 at Fort Dodge Sept. 7 at Iowa City High Sept. 14 vs. Marshalltown Sept. 21 vs. Des Moines North Sept. 28 at Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln Oct. 5 vs. Council Thomas Jefferson Oct. 12 at West Des Moines Valley Oct. 19 vs. Urbandale

and Marshune Smith on the defensive line.

“I’m excited. Cal and Kiaeem and Marshune, those dudes, they got it figured out,” senior linebacker Christian Griffin said. Last year, Mosley led the team with five sacks, and both he and Wild are getting looks from colleges. To say Mosley has high hopes for himself this season would be an understatement. “I think I was pretty decent last year, but now I’m looking to be a bigger part and get four of five sacks a game, run down tackles, make big plays, force fumbles, stuff like that,” he said.

“We’ve been together for a pretty long time and know each other and how we play and everything,” said Wild, a 6-foot-4, 258-pound three-year starter. The line should be a dangerous group this season, but so will the defensive backs. “Our secondary is going to be very good this year,” said junior wide receiver Gabe Ante, who played defense last season. Bell and Jared Braun, who both scored points at the state track meet in the spring, will lock down the cornerback positions. Gluing it all together in the middle of the 4-2-5 defense is Griffin, a

returning starter at middle linebacker. He registered 44.5 tackles last year, third best on the team. Griffin, who transferred from South Hamilton after his sophomore year, envisions an improved defense this year. “I think last year, we had a lot of problems with our alignment, and we didn’t totally know where we were supposed to go,” he said. “This year, I think we’re pretty solid. We got all that taken care of. That’s gonna make us pretty dominant this season.” For all their defensive experience, the Little Cyclones are lacking on the

offensive side, boasting only three returning starters to begin the season. Senior receiver Will Krapfl, who tallied 511 yards last season, should be the primary target in the air. Ante, a mainstay on the defense over the past two seasons, will also get plenty of looks as a slot receiver this year. “We call him our little Wes Welker,” coach Bruce Vertanen said of Ante. “He’s a smaller receiver with courage and ability to do things with the football. Do some real special things. He’s a special player.” AMES on page B12


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AMES: ‘Early signs are, this is a team that can come together as one’ Continued from page B1

Junior Jonah Strawhacker, who got limited action last season, figures to be the third receiving option. On the offensive line, the Little Cyclones thought they had two seniors returning, but summer baseball threw a wrench in those plans. In the final Legion game of the season, 6-foot-2, 235-pound Jake Schmidt was trying to catch a throw to first base when his hand and the sprinting runner collided. “He called me on the way home and said, ‘Bad news, coach, I broke my hand,’” Vertanen said. “And that’s a blow. He’s a leader, 100 percent committed to the process and a returning starter.” Schmidt is slated to

Ames defensive backs Jared Braun and Bernard Bell.

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BY NIRMALENDU MAJUMDAR/AMES TRIBUNE

return at some point in September, but until then, the o-line will feature just one returning starter: Bryce Merges. Elsewhere, the Little Cyclones will see plenty of new faces in the starting offensive lineup. The biggest hole they’ll have to fill from last season is

the one left by Joe Evans. The three-year starting quarterback (and also linebacker) is now playing at Iowa. Junior Cooper Downs completed 18 of 23 passes last year and is likely to start at quarterback this season, but the job is not guaranteed.

Ames’ offensive linemen Bryce Merges and Jake Schmidt. PHOTO BY NIRMALENDU MAJUMDAR/AMES TRIBUNE

Senior Josh Ylonen, who missed last year with an injury, is also an option. Ylonen is also the probable punter. Ames graduated leading rusher Martrell Davis last year, so the running game will fall to the Domond brothers: Kaeseam and K.K.

Perhaps most important for the Ames offense is o-line protection. The Little Cyclones will need some inexperienced linemen to step up immediately, or it could be a long season for the backfield. A couple of other newcomers in senior transfer Sylus Fonoti and freshman

Tamin Lipsey should also figure to be key players. Last year, when the Little Cyclones finished 4-5 and missed the playoffs, Vertanen said there was noticeable division and dissension in the locker room. He doesn’t see the same issue arising this year. Each summer, the team has several lifting time blocks. The earliest slot is at 7 a.m., but this year 15 or 20 guys approached Vertanen asking for a 6 a.m. time slot. “(That) was one tell-tale sign,” Vertanen said. “That was a nice plus.” Led by an experienced defense, the Little Cyclones will hope for a more competitive, more unified year. “Early signs are, this is a team that can come together as one,” Vertanen said.


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With expansive, experienced senior class, Norsemen eye successful 2018 By Hayes Gardner

Staff Writer hgardner@amestrib.com

After winning seven games and advancing to the playoffs in 2016, things looked promising for Roland-Story last year. That’s why it was so disappointing when the Norsemen finished 4-5 and out of the postseason. “I think that’s what’s fueled this season is the disappointment from last year,” coach Aaron Stensland said. “We don’t want to be a program that’s in and out, in and out of the playoffs. Last year was beyond disappointing.” Well, the high hopes are back this season. This Norsemen team has an incredible 20 seniors, many of whom are wellacquainted with one another and the program. “I think it’s pretty special because we’ve been with each other since third grade, and now we’re seniors leading the little guys and showing them how it’s done,” senior Nathan Bell said. Roland-Story returns 15 starters from last year, which senior running back Jakob Pittman said will be noticeable on the field. “We’ll be able to see things that, maybe we weren’t able to see when we were younger,” he said. With such a veteran group, the Norsemen are self-assured. “I don’t think our team is cocky by any means,” Pittman said. “But I think we have confidence in ourselves.” One player who heads into the season with high expectation is Ben Chelsvig, who may have had the busiest summer of any Roland-Story player. He attended more than 10 college camps and is one of four seniors with college offers. “Football is kind of his thing,” Stensland said. Chelvsig started out last season purely as a safety, but after an injury to starting running back Pittman in the third game of the season, moved into the backfield and rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns against South Hamilton. He ended the season rushing for 1,502 yards, a school record. “He’s probably one of our

Roland-Story will be counting on Zach Twedt, Ben Chelsvig, Nathan Bell, Jacob Pitman and Colby Gray this fall.PHOTO BY NIRMALENDU MAJUMDAR/AMES TRIBUNE

stronger guys,” Stensland said. “Just a workhorse in the weightroom.” This year, Chelsvig will help spearheading Roland-Story’s offense, with Pittman — who rushed for 536 yards last year — getting plenty of handoffs, too. At quarterback, the Norsemen welcome a transfer from West Burlington in senior Drake Day. Typically not much of a passing team — they averaged five completions per game last year — Roland-Story’s offense could expand with Day. “We’ll be able to do some more things with him,” Stensland said. “He’ll be a pretty good weapon for us this year that, kind of, nobody will know about.” Defensively, the Norsemen return Bell, who finished third in 2A last season with 101 tackles. A monster of a high school football player, colleges are looking at him to play on the line in college. “We’re leaving him at middle backer,” Stensland said. “They can do whatever they want with him.”

Roland-Story Aug. 24 at Clarion-GoldfieldDows Aug. 31 vs. Gilbert Sept. 7 at Prairie City-Monroe Sept. 14 at Iowa Falls-Alden Sept. 21 vs. West Marshall Sept. 28 at Union Community, LaPorte City Oct. 5 vs. Benton Oct. 12 at. Vinton-Shellsburg Oct. 19 vs. Nevada

Chelsvig, Pittman and Day will also play defense, as will capable cornerback Colby Gray (35 tackles, one interception last year) and sophomore Zach Twedt (40 tackles, two interceptions), who boasts an offer from Iowa State and will see plenty of action on both offense and defense. Gray, who averaged 40.3 yards per punt as a junior, will once again handle the punting duties. Schools are recruiting Gray to punt — and play defense — but

Stensland says the Roland-Story program has had no effect on his punting ability. “We take no credit here for what he can do, because none of us know nothing about kicking,” Stensland said with a laugh. Across the depth chart, the Norsemen appear pretty strong, although they did suffer a setback over the summer when 6-foot-5, 250-pound lineman Nic Hansen tore his ACL. “We’ll miss him. He’s a big kid, obviously. There aren’t many kids like that just walking around the halls that you can grab,” Stensland said in early August. As if on cue, the next week the Norsemen gained a transfer from Oklahoma in sophomore David Downs, who used to live in the area. At 6-foot-3, 307 pounds, he certainly has the size to be an impact player up front. “He’s got some of the bigger hands and feet that I’ve ever seen in my life,” Stensland said after his arrival. But he also has the skill.

“He came polished and ready to go,” Stensland said. “They definitely were teaching the right things down there.” Stensland said Downs, known as “Big Bear,” will start on the offensive line and play some d-line — effectively filling in the spot that Hansen left. With returners all over the field, the Norsemen seniors are eager for a memorable senior year. “It’s a pretty special thing because (having experience) means we can advance pretty far into the postseason and we think we have a good chance of going all the way,” Chelsvig said. Rather than establishing concrete win-loss goals, Stensland takes a different strategy with his team. “We want to be two things,” he said. “We want to be the most physical team in the class of 2A and then we want to be the team that plays the hardest, the longest. If we do those two things, we just think the rest of the season will take care of itself.”


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Collins-Maxwell’s, from left,Brett Livesay, Kadin Bennett and Caleb Fullerton are looking to help their team make a big leap th is fall. The Spartans are entering their second season as a high school football program and first in 8-man District 5. PHOTO BY JOE RANDLEMAN/AMES TRIBUNE


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Collins-Maxwell hoping to take big strides in second season Spartans begin play in 8-man District 5 By Joe Randleman Staff Writer

Collins-Maxwell is looking to make huge gains as a football program heading into its second season of competition this fall. Last year the deck was stacked heavily against Spartans. In 2017, Collins-Maxwell was beginning its first season as an athletic program after splitting with Baxter. The Collins-Maxwell-Baxter holdovers had little varsity experience and were adjusting to the switch from 11-man football to 8-man ball with a brandnew coaching staff. To top it off, with 2017 being a non-redistricting year, Collins-Maxwell wasn’t allowed to compete in a district, and thus had to make up its schedule with whatever teams it could find to fill each date. The Spartans went up against playoffcaliber opponents. The end result saw CollinsMaxwell struggle to compete each week, finishing 0-9. But with a year under the belts of the players and coaches and a chance to compete in a district, the Spartans will be aiming to turn heads in 2018. “Last year’s team did a great

“We have had time to teach them our philosophy, and we have had time to emphasize to the players what we expect from them. They know what our goal is for year two. I’m excited to see them achieve their goals from the work they have put in from the offseason.” Cory Crnkovich, Collins-Maxwell football coach

job starting the program off with the cards we were dealt,” Collins-Maxwell football coach Cory Crnkovich said. “This year, the team has put in a lot of effort in the offseason, and all of the coaches can see a huge difference from last year. “The culture and the attitudes in the program has changed tremendously. I see us competing with every team we play. The growth of the team will be very fun to watch this fall.” Collins-Maxwell will be competing in 8-man District 5. In

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Collins-Maxwell Aug. 17 Iowa Valley (L, 62-16) Aug. 24 Newell-Fonda Aug. 31 at Murray Sept. 7 AGWSR Sept. 14 at Baxter Sept. 21 at Colo-NESCO Sept. 28 Gladbrook-Reinbeck Oct. 5 at Meskwaki Settlement School Oct. 12 Twin Cedars Oct. 19 at Melcher-Dallas

the district, the Spartans will face off against their former teammates from Baxter, along with Colo-NESCO, AGWSR, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, MelcherDallas, Meskwaki and Twin Cedars. “It’s nice to finally have a home — last year was rough — playing an open schedule against a lot of tough teams,” Crnkovich said. “We have a solid district, but in my opinion, with all of the work players have put in this season, I would not be surprised to finish in the top half of the district. We will have some tough games, but this team will be ready.” Crnkovich said he expects Gladbrook-Reinbeck, the 2016 Class A state champions, to be the favorites to win the district. “They most likely will have some guys returning from that title team or who were a part of it,” Crnkovich said. “That tells me they are well-coached and they will want to get back to the dome for another title shot.

“Those underclassmen who are now upperclassmen will want to do something special in 8-man.” Collins-Maxwell opened the season with a 62-16 loss to Iowa Valley last Friday, and has nondistrict games against Newell-Fonda at home and a road contest versus Murray coming up before district play.. Entering the season, Collins-Maxwell will run out of the spread on offense and use a 3-3 on defense. The top returning playmakers for the Spartans on offense are junior receiver Brett Livesay, junior quarterback Kadin Bennett and senior running back Caleb Fullerton. In 2017, Livesay caught 26 passes for 406 yards and one touchdown, Bennett threw for 419 yards and two touchdowns and Fullerton ran for 147 yards. Sophomore A.J. Smith will fill in at the other receiver spot. Junior Simon McKinney will play at tight end. On the offensive line, Collins-Maxwell brings back junior center Zach Martinez. Two freshmen will occupy the guard spots in Parker Lawrence and Kaiden Martin. Anchoring the Spartan defense will be Fullerton, Livesay and McKinney at linebacker. In 2017, Fullerton made 32.5 tackles and Livesay had 24 tackles and two interceptions. The defensive line consists of Martinez at tackle, and Lawrence and sophomore Rylee Scott at the end positions. Scott

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made 6.5 tackles last fall. Bennett and Smith will be the Collins-Maxwell defensive backs. A year ago, Bennett had 13 tackles and Smith 9.5. On special teams, Livesay will handle both the punting and kicking duties and he will also help return kicks. Sophomore Hunter Clair will also return kicks — he returned eight kickoffs for 36 yards and one punt for 12 yards in 2017. Depth will again be a concern for Collins-Maxwell this fall. “Our biggest challenge last year was staying healthy,” Crnkovich said. “We don’t have the luxury to go really deep into our roster. We only have 22 guys out. But if the Spartans can stay healthy, Crnkovich likes the potential of his team to do good things. “We started lifting and offseason training Nov. 6,” Crnkovich said. “We had really good numbers all year and even better numbers in the summer. We had players going to numerous camps, 5-on-5’s, and two team camps. We have players who have bought in. Last year, we didn’t really have any offseason camps or team bonding opportunities.” “We have had time to teach them our philosophy, and we have had time to emphasize to the players what we expect from them,” Crnkovich said. “They know what our goal is for year two. I’m excited to see them achieve their goals from the work they have put in from the offseason.”


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Thursday, August 23, 2018


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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Colo-NESCO must overcome youth in 2018 By Joe Randleman Staff Writer

Colo-NESCO will need several young players to step up in order for the Royals to turn in another winning football season in 2018. Colo-NESCO went 6-3 a year ago and has posted a 20-10 record since going 5-5 in 2014. Continuing that success won’t be easy this fall as the Royals are replacing two 1,000-yard rushers and their top three passers and receivers from a year ago. “We are fairly young and inexperienced,” Colo-NESCO coach Josh Nessa said. “We graduated eight players, which in 8-man football is a lot. We may have some growing pains but we are trying to eliminate as many of those in practice as we can.” But games are often won in the trenches and its there where ColoNESCO hopes to excel this fall. “We do have good senior leadership and depth in offensive line and defensive line,” Nessa said. On offense, Colo-NESCO will run out of the I-formation, twins and the spread. The Royals must adjust to life without Garrett Packer and Philip Bower (both ran for 1,113 yards and threw for 102 last year), as well as quarterback Sean Cutler (202 yards passing) and Mason Lytle (393 yards rushing and 93 receiving). Junior Francis Bower and

Colo-NESCO Aug. 17 at HLV (L, 57-6) Aug. 24 at Central City Aug. 31 Springville Sept. 7 Twin Cedars Sept. 14 at AGWSR Sept. 21 Collins-Maxwell Sept. 28 Meskwaki Settlement School Oct. 5 at Melcher-Dallas Oct. 12 Baxter Oct. 19 at Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior Ethan Wilson did gain some quality experience running the ball last year. Bower is the top returning rusher with 371 yards and three touchdowns in 2017 and Wilson ran for 81 yards and three scores. Junior Alex Grover and senior Kelly Gray may also get carries this season. Gray will also play at end. Senior Keaton Sturtz, and sophomores Tanner Ingle and Brighton Clatt will also vie for time at end. Clatt ran for 100 yards in 2017. Sophomore Brandon Roberts will be counted on to fill in at quarterback. On the offensive line, ColoNESCO will have three seniors to depend on in Alex Dunahoo, Adam Texeira and Colin Hall. Junior Jackson Shaw and sophomore Jake Perry will also be

The Colo-NESCO football team doesn’t have a lot of experience or depth, but the Royals should be solid up front entering the 2018 season. The Royals will count on, clockwise, from left, Alex Dunahoo, Keaton Schultz, Kelly Gray, Marty Nicholas, Adam Texeira, Ethan Wilson and Colin Hall in its quest for another winning season. PHOTO BY JOE RANDLEMAN/AMES TRIBUNE

helping out up front. Defensively, Colo-NESCO will operate out of 3-4-1 and 4-2-2 formations. On the defensive line, the Royals will have sophomore Ryan Parker, Grover and Dunahoo at end and Texeira, Hall and senior Marty Nichols on the interior. In 2017 Grover made 18.5 tackles and one sack, Texeira 15.5 tackles and one sack and Hall five tackles. Grover will also see time at linebacker and Bower and Perry will fill in the other two spots at the position. Bower is the team’s leading returning tackler with 43.5 stops and one sack and Perry tallied 6.5 tackles last year. Gray, Roberts, Wilson and

Clatt will make up the Royal defensive backfield. Last season, Gray had 22 tackles and three interceptions, Willison delivered 28 tackles and one interception and fumble recovery apiece, Roberts put up five tackles and Clatt ended up with 4.5 tackles and a fumble recovery. On special teams Gray, Bower and Grover will battle for time at punter. Bower and Grover will handle the kicking duties and Gray and Roberts will be the top return men. Colo-NESCO will compete in the newly-aligned 8-man District 5. AGWSR, Baxter, CollinsMaxwell, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Melcher-Dallas, Meskwaki and

Twin Cedars make up the rest of the district. “I really like our new district,” Nessa said. “There is a nice balance of teams we have not played before, which brings an exciting element to the season. “I feel that we have the potential to have some competitive matchups and potential to create some great new rivalries with the addition of Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Baxter and Collins-Maxwell into the mix,” Nessa said. “Add to this the old rivalries with Meskwaki, Twin Cedars, Melcher-Dallas and AGWSR — we are looking forward to some great matchups.” The Royals lost their season opener last week to HLV, 57-6.


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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Inexperienced Cubs hope to learn quickly By Joe Randleman Staff Writer

The Nevada football team is hoping a return to Class 2A will yield positive results in 2018. Nevada finished 5-4 last season participating in Class 3A. It was the first winning season for the Cubs as a 3A program since 1992. Redistricting put the Cubs down to 2A in 2018. Nevada was last in 2A during the 2013 and 2014 seasons and the Cubs made back-to-back playoff appearances. The Cubs are hoping the move back to 2A produces the same results. But it won’t be easy, as they must replace several of their top players off last year’s squad. “This has been a fun group to work with so far,” Nevada coach Andrew Kleeman said. “We believe they have the opportunity to do some nice things on the field this fall. “More importantly, we have a lot of good kids who really care about our program and what we stand for. We are excited for the 2018 season and will work to keep our program moving in a positive direction.” Nevada will compete in 2A District 7. The other teams in the district are Benton Community, Roland-Story, Union, VintonShellsburg and West Marshall. “The district is arguably one of the strongest in the class, with several teams who return a lot of starters as well as some great talent,” Kleeman said. “We look forward to competing every week against a quality opponent.” Union was one of the top 2A teams a year ago and is the early favorite to win the district. “Union was a (state) semifinal team last season in 2A and has a solid nucleus coming back,” Kleeman said. “They have been a very good program for several years now.” In non-district play, Nevada opens up at home against North Polk. The Cubs play at Greene County the following week, then host Perry in Week 3. Nevada has a lot of holes to fill on both sides of the ball. “Inexperience is our biggest

The Nevada football will need to grow up in a hurry in 2018 with several untested players replacing a talented group of seniorsfrom last year’s team that finished 5-4 as a Class 3A team. The Cubs are moving down to 2A this fall and, from left, Sam Abraham, Andrew Saunders, Jakob Strottman and Kody Kruschwitz will be counted on as top playmakers for the Cubs.

Nevada Aug. 24 North Polk Aug. 31 at Greene County Sept. 7 Perry Sept. 14 at South Tama Sept. 21 Vinton-Shellsburg Sept. 28 at Benton Community Oct. 5 West Marshall Oct. 12 at La Porte City Union Oct. 19 at Roland-Story

challenge right now. With quite a few kids who haven’t played a lot of varsity, there is a learning curve.” But Kleeman is optimistic the young players will adjust quickly. “We feel we had some upperclassmen really step up in the

off-season and made great gains in the weight room,” Kleeman said. “We have seen good leadership and are confident we have the potential to be strong. It will to fun to watch this group get on the field and show what they can do.” Senior running back Jakob Strottman is the only returning playmaker on offense to see extensive time in 2017. Strottman ran for 767 yards and three touchdowns a year ago. Junior Kody Kruschwitz will take over for Cam Shill at quarterback this fall. Seniors Sam Abraham and Joven Nelson will fill in the slot position. Seniors Brayden Bottorf and Andrew Saunders will see time at receiver and juniors Ross Uthe and Henry Nelson and sophomore Blake Bottorf will fight for time at tight end.

On the offensive line, Nevada will have juniors Luke Schmitz and Noah Adelmund at the tackle positions. In the interior, seniors Ethan Wild and Jack Cahill will be at guard and junior Alec Sutton at center. Nevada has a little more experience returning on the defensive side of the ball. Abraham, Saunders and Strottman will anchor the Cub defense. Abraham will be at safety, Saunders will occupy one of the corner positions and Strottman will be at linebacker. In 2017, Abraham made 43 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery. Saunders recorded 27.5 tackles, recovered a fumble and returned one interception for a touchdown. Nelson will fill in the other corner spot and senior Anthony Ellis is taking the

other safety position. Strottman made 49.5 tackles, eight sacks and three fumble recoveries in 2017. Junior Keaton Fry will also see the field at linebacker and junior Henry Nelson and sophomore Ayden Rhoads are competing for the other linebacker spot. On the defensive line, Nevada will have Uthe and Cahill at the ends and Wild and senior Payton Schiller at the tackle spots. Cahill made seven tackles last fall. On special teams, Kruschwitz, Rhoads and Strottman are battling at punter and Cahill will handle the kicking duties. Kruschwitz averaged 23.8 yards on four punts last season and Cahill made 14 of 16 extra points and both of his field goal attempts, with a long of 31 yards. Senior Andrew Barloon will be the Cubs’ long snapper.


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Thursday, August 23, 2018

South Hamilton looking to capitalize on historic season By Luke Manderfeld

Special to the Tribune

South Hamilton

The South Hamilton football team understands the expectations heaped upon it heading into the 2018 season. The players know the bar has been set high. But coming off one of the best seasons in school history — an 8-2 record and a postseason berth — the Hawks are trying to take the next step: Sustainability. That’s a lot easier said than done, but coach Corey Klemp, who oversaw the dramatic three-year transformation from a 1-7 team in 2015, thinks the foundation for success is in place. While South Hamilton has lost some of the key players who helped fuel program’s turnaround, there is no thought of regrouping in 2018. “The kids know what to expect of themselves,” Klemp said. “If I’m being honest, we’re continuing to move ahead with this new group. It’s not a start over and regroup, it’s just keep on rolling. This new group is stepping in and taking charge now.” One of the biggest losses for the Hawks is Logan Klemp, Corey’s son and the 2017 Ames Tribune All-Area Player of the Year. Logan has moved on to college football, at Iowa, and his production will be sorely missed on both sides of the ball. Logan rushed for 1,260 yards and amassed 131 receiving yards in the Hawks’ run-first offense. He also racked up 53 tackles on defense with six sacks. But what may be missed the most won’t be his contributions on the field, but his demeanor off it. “Logan was one of the best leaders to come through South Hamilton,” said senior Sam Lewis. “Just learning from him has helped us tremendously. I still keep in touch with him and ask him

Aug. 31 vs. South Hardin Sept. 7 vs. Grundy Center Sept. 14 at WoodwardGranger Sept. 21 at MansonNorthwest Webster Sept. 28 vs. Madrid Oct. 5 vs. South Central Calhoun Oct. 12 at Pocahontas Area Oct. 19 vs. Ogden Oct. 26 at Eagle Grove

South Hamilton’s returning starters are, from left, Cole Berg, Zeke Balderas, Cade Balvanz, Teagan Risetter and Sam Lewis. PHOTO BY NIRMALENDU MAJUMDAR/AMES TRIBUNE

questions. I think our senior class has done a good job in the transition.” While Logan’s stats will be hard to replicate, coach Klemp said he’s confident in the depth he has in the backfield. DJ Kloglan, who was part of the two-headed South Hamilton running attack with Logan last season, will lead the group. Kloglan rushed for 754 yards across 94 carries last year. There will also be some younger players who will be expected to step up and take some carries and give Kloglan a break. “Our backfield this year is very strong and very deep,” Klemp said. “We’re going to have a good batch of young guys and some seniors as well that will share the load a little bit. It’ll be a good thing to rely on more than one or two guys.” That depth isn’t the same at quarterback. In South Hamilton’s run-first, wishbone offense, the quarterback is expected to run and

lead the offense rather than pass, which is a good thing for senior Cole Berg. Berg, who primarily played at receiver in 2017, is expected to play under center for the first time in his football career. Before practice started, the coaches asked Berg and Lewis if they would be interested in playing quarterback, Berg jumped at the opportunity. There has been a learning

curve, but Berg believes he’s coming into his own. “I feel I’m doing well for the short amount of time I’ve been working on it,” Berg said. “The toughest part has knowing the offense and knowing what decision to make right away.” The Hawks attempted just 56 passes in 10 games last year, but Klemp didn’t rule out throwing the ball more as

the season goes along. “Cole has been progressing nicely there, so I could see us throwing the ball a little more,” Klemp said. The biggest concern Klemp had going into this season wasn’t the inexperience at some positions, such as quarterback, but it was the leadership component. Those fears were squashed early on in practice, when he saw some of the new seniors

stepping up to become leaders. That leaves Klemp with confidence for his squad in 2018 and beyond. The Hawks will open their season on Aug. 24 at home against South Hardin. “My biggest concern wasn’t about replacing this player or that player, it was replacing a tremendous group of leaders who turned this program around,” Klemp said. “This senior group, I’ve been very impressed. They’ve really taken it to heart and have carried on with what the group ahead of them has done. “With that in place, it really sets the stage for great things.”


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Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 Football Preps Preview  
2018 Football Preps Preview