Page 1

FALL SPORTS PREVIEW

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Breaking it down

INSIDE Class 4A

pages 2-5

Class 3A

pages 7-10

Class 2A

pages 11-19

Class 1A

pages 20-26

Class A

pages 32-38

8-player

pages 39-46


2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

2 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

CEDAR FALLS TIGERS

Strong leaders a key for CF Tigers want more than numbers from their top players DOUG NEWHOFF

doug.newhoff@wcfcourier.com‌

‌CEDAR FALLS — Jack Campbell, Logan Wolf and Sam Gary are well-established as three of the better high school football players in the state. Campbell was a Des Moines Register Elite Team all-stater a year ago as a junior when he was in on 93 tackles with 12 tackles for loss and five quarterback sacks. The 6-foot4, 210-pounder will continue his career at the University of Iowa. Wolf was electric as an all-district big-play receiver and return specialist, turning 22 pass receptions into 457 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 28.2 yards per kickoff return and 17.9 on 23 punt runbacks. He took three kicks back for scores and will play football at Northern Iowa. Gary returns at tailback after rushing for 1,677 yards (7.3 per carry), scoring 19 touchdowns and joining Campbell and Wolf on the all-district first team as a junior. For all they did on the field as the Tigers went 9-2 and reached the second round of the Class 4A playoffs, all three believe they need to do more this season. It’s all about leadership and setting an example. “We were so fortunate last year,” noted Cedar Falls head

COURIER FILE PHOTOS

Cedar Falls’ Sam Gary, left, fends off Mason City’s Lucas Deinhart last season.

Cedar Falls’ Jack Campbell tackles Waterloo East’s Jacee Clark last season in the UNI-Dome. coach Brad Remmert. “I think of the guys we had ... Luke Gillett, Colin Klatt, Ben Gerdes ... those guys had a fantastic work ethic. “They were vocal leaders in that they expected the other kids to follow them and it was, ‘Hey, we’re going to invest in this together.’ It’ll be interesting to see this year which ones fill those roles.” There are plenty of candidates, starting with Campbell,

Wolf and Gary. “I want to bring a more vocal leadership role,” said Campbell, who was part of a defense that held eight opponents to a touchdown or less. “Another thing I want to bring into this season is just every down being physical ... bring the physicality to every snap and win the battle up front and in the secondary. “We’re not going to be flashy. We’re going to be fundamentally

sound and make every offense pay.” Wolf embraces the expanded role, as well. “I know I need to step up as a leader,” he said. “We had a bunch of great leaders last year. At least a couple of us seniors really need to step up and take that role. We’ve got to encourage, lead by example, give vocal leadership and just get our guys in the right place at the right time to make plays.” Wolf has even given a new position a try during preseason camp. The Tigers need a quarterback after the graduation of Gillett. “I just wanted to see what would happen,” he said. “I don’t really know exactly what I can do with it. I just want to see if I can help the team in any

way I can.” Leadership, adds Gary, goes hand in hand with the strong tradition of success within the Cedar Falls program. “I think it all starts with the offseason in the summer when we get the weights going and get the agility stuff going,” he said. “That all translates to the field, I think. “As a senior now, I’ve gotta help show the road to the young bucks. I’ve gotta be a good example.” That’s the way it’s always been, Campbell added. “I remember when I was a sophomore there were a lot of guys around me to bring me up. I just want to do the same to keep the Cedar Falls defensive tradition strong for the next couple of years.”

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW



Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 3

WATERLOO WEST WAHAWKS

West building a winning tradition Moore seeing a change in culture last few seasons DOUG NEWHOFF

doug.newhoff@wcfcourier.com‌

‌WATERLOO — Before 2012, Waterloo West went 21 years without a postseason football appearance. Even when the Wahawks ended that drought, they did so with a 3-7 record during the era of expanded playoffs. The following season, West got in at 4-6. From 2010 through 2015, the Wahawks were 15-41 even with two trips to the playoffs. It’s a program that has struggled to sustain success for a long time. West Moore has just eight total playoff appearances, although two ended in the state championship game with runner-up finishes in the days of stars like Kelly Ellis and Courtney Messingham. Now, for the first time in at least a decade, the Wahawks have put together back-to-back winning seasons under head coach Lonnie Moore. “I definitely feel like there’s been a culture change in the last three or four years,” says Moore. “I think most of that culture change is in the offseason work. Before, it was hard to get kids involved in the offseason stuff. “Now they are seeing what it takes to be successful and they are buying in. We had more kids this summer than we’ve ever had.” What’s good for West athletics in general is also good for football, Moore adds.

COURIER FILE PHOTO‌

Western Dubuque quarterback Quinn Baumhover is sacked by Waterloo West’s Noah Susong during a game in Waterloo last season. “A lot of these kids are in multi sports,” he relates. “This is not their only sport and as a school we’re seeing things start to change in other sports, too.” Those are among the reasons Moore is looking forward to the 2018 football season, even though he returns just four offensive and six defensive starters. Four returning Wahawks started on both sides of the ball, meaning he has just six total first-team players back. There are just 13 seniors on a varsity roster that numbers around 40 players.

“I am excited to see some of these guys who put in a lot of time in the offseason,” says Moore. “There’s a lot of competition for different positions and I’m excited to see how that pans out. “We’ve got a good group of kids this year. Our top guys are good students. Last year’s freshman group I think won three games, but a lot of those guys played with the sophomores last year and that sophomore group has done pretty well. There are some good athletes in that group.”

Last year’s sophomores are this year’s juniors, and they’ll have a major impact this season. Moore also has five players up from last year’s freshman team who could contribute. He likes the leadership the team is getting from seniors like Noah Susong, and he likes the work ethic and attention he sees in some of his younger players. In some ways, the preseason was something of a blank page with so much youth and inexperience. “We went right to square one,” says Moore. “We do have

our base offense and defense, but we’ve got to figure out what these guys can do and what their strengths are and what type of team we’re gonna be.” This year’s Wahawks aren’t far removed from the 2016 team that went 8-2 with a rare victory over metro rival Cedar Falls and made the Class 4A playoffs. A year ago, West finished 5-4 and barely missed the postseason. There’s a foundation in place for a new group of players to build on. “It’s gonna be a very interesting year,” says Moore.


4 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

CLASS 4A, DISTRICT 3

Every point matters for CF, West Just one point can keep a team out of playoffs DOUG NEWHOFF

doug.newhoff@wcfcourier.com‌

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

Cedar Falls’ Sam Gary is congratulated by Jackson Frericks after scoring a touchdown against Waterloo West last season.

‌CEDAR FALLS — Football is filled with ifs and buts. If Cedar Falls could have made one more play in week three a year ago, the Tigers might have gone on to play for a state championship. Instead, CF finished at 9-2 and made a second-round playoff exit. If Waterloo West had won either of the two games it lost by four points or less, the Wahawks would have been at least in the postseason conversation. “You’ve got to be ready at all times,” says Cedar Falls head coach Brad Remmert. “We played some really good football last year, but we had that unfortunate loss against Iowa City West (32-31) in week three in an overtime deal that ended up costing us a home playoff game the second week (of the postseason). “It was that one point that swayed it and it put us on the road, so every little point counts. Every snap counts. Our kids have to be ready to go at all times because it all has a meaning at the end.” The Tigers should have an excellent opportunity to return to the playoffs. Offensively, the front line is strong and experienced with third-year starters Jackson Leistikow and Justin Campbell back along with 2017 starter Ben Saak and tight end Jackson Frericks. Sam Gary returns at tailback after rushing for 1,677 yards (7.3 per carry) and scoring 19 touchdowns last season. Cedar Falls will have a new quarterback, but Remmert likes his options there. During preseason camp, 6-foot-4 junior Cael Loecher and University of Northern Iowa commit Logan Wolf, a dynamic receiver (22 receptions, 457 yards, nine TDs) and return man (28-yard average on kickoffs, 18 on punts, 3 total TDs), were the frontrunners. “We’ve got some real good options there with either one of those

kids,” said Remmert. Wolf is excited to see what this year’s offense can do. “We’ve got Sam back there at running back, we’ve got guys who can stretch the field and getting those guys back up front is a key,” he said. Defensively, Iowa recruit and Des Moines Register Elite Team allstater Jack Campbell (111 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, five sacks) and playmaker Tate Johnson (65 tackles, 6.5 TFLs) return at linebacker and there is experience back in the secondary from a unit that was among the state’s best last season. Cedar Falls held eight opponents to a touchdown or less with three shutouts. Waterloo West graduated some of its top players, but head coach Lonnie Moore has the Wahawk program on solid ground these days. The Wahawks return six starters from a 5-4 team, but add a talented group of juniors and sophomores to the mix. While Moore is rebuilding his offense, he’s got a veteran group back on defense. Noah Susong was in on 86 tackles last season with eight for a loss and three sacks. Mac Pedro, Tanner Pollack, Amel Saric, Esidro Stuart and Brenden Burton also made significant contributions. “You look at the teams most people think will be at the top, Prairie and Cedar Falls,” notes Moore. “Prairie brings back a lot of guys. They played a lot of juniors last year and have probably the top running back in the state (Keegan Simmons). “Same thing with Cedar Falls. They played a lot of juniors and they’ve got at least two DI guys on their team. So you look to those two teams right off the bat. “It’s going to be very interesting. We’re going to need to be on our game every week to compete for a spot in the playoffs.” This year’s District 3 also includes Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Dubuque Hempstead and Dubuque Senior. Please see CLASS 4A-3, Page S5


2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW



Players to watch RUSHING „„ Keegan Simmons, C.R. Prairie: 247-1,822, 7.4 avg., 25 TDs „„ Sam Gary, Cedar Falls: 229-1,677, 7.3 avg., 19 TDs „„ Chase Sabers, Dubuque Hempstead: 144-813, 5.6 avg., 8

TDs RECEIVING „„ Logan Wolf, Cedar Falls: 22-457, 20.8 avg., 9 TDs „„ Nick Kubitz, Dubuque Senior: 15-282, 18.8 avg., 2 TDs TACKLES (solo-ast.-total) „„ Jack Campbell, Cedar Falls: 74-37-92.5, 12 TFLs, 5 sacks „„ Logan LaGrange, C.R. Prairie: 31-50-81, 11 TFLs, 2 sacks „„ Noah Susong, Wat. West: 49-18.5-67.5, 8 TFLs, 3 sacks „„ Tate Johnson, Cedar Falls: 42-23-65, 6.5 TFLs, 2 sacks „„ Nick Vaassen, Dubuque Senior: 33-27-60, 5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

Waterloo West quarterback Tanner Pollock picks up some yardage during last season’s game against Cedar Falls.

Class 4A-3 From S4

Prairie went 8-2 a year ago, falling to Cedar Falls in the first round of the playoffs. Coach Mark Bliss has eight starters back, including 1,822-yard rusher Keegan Simmons and defensive stalwarts Izaak Lindgren (four interceptions), Kaleb West and Logan LaGrange (81 tackles, 11 TFLs). Jefferson has a new head coach in Chris Buesing and returns six players with starting experience. The J-Hawks will be young. Dubuque Hempstead has 18 letterwinners back and several of its top playmakers, although the Mustangs will be breaking in a new quarterback. Chase Sabers ran for 813 yards and Reed Snitker rushed for 474 a year ago. There are experienced linemen in front of them and a solid nucleus back on defense. At Dubuque Senior, the Rams will lean on six returning starters as they try to improve on a 6-3 regular season when they, too, fell a few plays short of the postseason. In the end, it’ll all come down to a handful of plays. Under the new playoff qualifying format, only the district champ receives an automatic berth. Nine qualifiers will be determined by a new RPI ranking. “It will be interesting to see how the RPI thing works out,” said Remmert. “It will be competitive for those playoff spots.”

INTERCEPTIONS „„ Izaak Lindgren, C.R. Prairie: 4-104

KICKING „„ Matthew Cook, Cedar Falls: 55-56 PATs, 8-13 FGs

KICKOFF RETURNS „„ Reed Snitker, Dubuque Hempstead: 6-200, 33.3 avg., no TDs „„ Logan Wolf, Cedar Falls: 11-310, 28.2 avg., 1 TD PUNT RETURNS „„ Logan Wolf, Cedar Falls: 23-411, 17.9 avg., 2 TDs

2018 schedule‌ Aug. 23 – Cedar Rapids Prairie at Cedar Rapids Washington, (ND). Aug. 24 – Cedar Falls at Ames (ND), Cedar Rapids Kennedy at Cedar Rapids Jefferson (ND), Dubuque Hempstead at Davenport North, LinnMar at Dubuque Senior (ND), Waterloo West at Waterloo East (ND). Aug. 31 – Iowa City High at Cedar Falls (ND), Cedar Rapids Jefferson at Muscatine (ND), Cedar Rapids Washington at Dubuque Hempstead (ND), Dubuque Senior at Davenport North (ND), Pleasant Valley at Cedar Rapids Prairie (ND), Mason City at Waterloo West (ND). Sept. 7 – Cedar Falls at Ankeny (ND), Cedar Rapids Jefferson at LinnMar (ND), Bettendorf at Dubuque Hempstead (ND), Dubuque Senior at Cedar Rapids Washington (ND), Waukee at Cedar Rapids Prairie (ND), Ankeny Centennial at Waterloo West (ND). Sept. 13 – Cedar Rapids Prairie at Cedar Rapids Kennedy (ND).

Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 5

CAPSULES Cedar Falls Tigers‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Brad Remmert „„ 2017 RECORDS: 9-2 overall,

5-0 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 22 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (9): Logan Wolf, wr-db, Sam Gary, rb, Jackson Leistikow, ol, Ben Saak, ol, Justin Campbell, ol, Jackson Frericks, te, Jack Campbell lb, Tate Johnson, lb, Matthew Cook, pk.

Jace Anderegg, wr.

Dubuque Hempstead Mustangs‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Mike Hoskins „„ 2017 RECORDS: 3-6 overall,

1-4 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 18 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (6):

Jesse Hilby, ol-dl, Chase Sabers, fb-lb, Reed Snitker, rb-lb, Calvin Allison, wr-db, Joe Pins, pk, Owen Dunne, ol-dl.

C.R. Jefferson J-Hawks‌

Dubuque Senior Rams‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Chris Buesing

„„ HEAD COACH: Dale Ploessl

„„ 2017 RECORDS: 4-5 overall,

„„ 2017 RECORDS: 6-3 overall, 3-2

3-2 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: NA „„ RETURNING STARTERS (6): Ezeki Leggins, rb, Henry Garsayne, rb, Kyron Ligon, wr-fs, Jake Thompson, fb, Kenny Moore, te-lb, Drake Kearns, wr.

district „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 8 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (6):

Nick Kubitz, wr-db, Caden Coulson, ol-dl, Nick Vaasen, lb-te, Noah Gerken, wr-db, Jared Knautz, lb, Noah Ley, ol-dl.

C.R. Prairie Hawks‌

Waterloo West Wahawks‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Mark Bliss

„„ HEAD COACH: Lonnie Moore

„„ 2017 RECORDS: 8-2 overall, 4-1

„„ 2017 RECORDS: 5-4 overall,

district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 11 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (8): Keegan Simmons, rb-lb, Tyler Graham, fb-lb, Izaak Lindgren, qb-fs, Logan Lagrange, lb-te, Kaleb West, dt-ot, Gavin Ozmun, dt-ot, Nolan Ostrom, ol,

2-3 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 10 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (6):

Tanner Pollack, wr-qb-db-lb, Amel Saric, wr-db, Esidro Stuart, ol-dl, Brenden Burton, ol-dl, Noah Susong, lb, Mac Pedro, lb.

Sept. 14 – Bettendorf at Cedar Falls (ND), Cedar Rapids Washington at Cedar Rapids Jefferson (ND), Dubuque Hempstead at Iowa City High (ND), Iowa City West at Dubuque Senior (ND), Waterloo West at Des Moines Hoover (ND). Sept. 20 – Waterloo West at Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Sept. 21 – Cedar Falls at Dubuque Hempstead, Dubuque Senior at Cedar Rapids Prairie. Sept. 28 – Cedar Rapids Jefferson at Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids Prairie at Dubuque Hempstead, Dubuque Senior at Waterloo West.

Good Luck West High Wahawks!

Oct. 5 – Cedar Falls at Waterloo West, Cedar Rapids Prairie at Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Dubuque Hempstead at Dubuque Senior. Oct. 12 – Cedar Rapids Jefferson at Dubuque Hempstead, Dubuque Senior at Cedar Falls, Waterloo West at Cedar Rapids Prairie. Oct. 19 – Cedar Falls at Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Jefferson at Dubuque Senior, Dubuque Hempstead at Waterloo West.

West High Athletic Booster Club


6 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

FALL SPORTS PREVIEW


2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW



Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 7

WAVERLY-SHELL ROCK GO-HAWKS

First things first for Newsom W-SR senior eyes big finish before joining Huskers CRAIG SESKER

Sports Correspondent‌

‌WAVERLY — Mosai Newsom looked around the stadium and couldn’t believe his eyes. Nearly every seat was filled. And all he could see was red. Newsom was there in late April when a record crowd of 86,818 fans packed Memorial Stadium for the University of Nebraska’s spring football game. “It was incredible to see that kind of a turnout – it was really awesome,” Newsom said. “It felt like home.” Three months later, Newsom still felt that way. He announced he was accepting a scholarship offer from new Cornhusker coach Scott Frost to make Nebraska his college home. “I just loved everything about Nebraska – the school, the campus, the coaching staff, the players,” he said. “It felt like a perfect fit for me. Coach Frost and his coaching staff seem really driven to get Nebraska back to where they were at.” Newsom, a versatile, 6-foot-5, 250-pound senior from Waverly-Shell Rock, is expected to play defensive end in college. He also had offers from Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, Minnesota, South Dakota and Yale. Newsom said he made four

MATTHEW PUTNEY, COURIER PHOTO EDITOR‌

Waverly-Shell Rock’s Mosai Newsom is pictured at practice Aug. 10. Newsom has accepted a scholarship offer to play college football at Nebraska. trips to the Nebraska campus this year before making his decision. “The first time I brought my whole family to experience everything,” he said. “The second time was for spring practice and the third time was the spring game, which was amazing. The fourth time was to check out the campus. It’s a great school and I love the atmosphere there.” Newsom’s commitment to the Huskers came after he received his first scholarship offer more than a year ago. Newsom has been a starter for the Go-Hawks since his sophomore year. He has played all across the line on defense in his

team’s 3-4 alignment. He played guard on offense as a sophomore before moving to tackle last year. He is expected to see time at tight end this season. “Mosai is big and athletic,” Waverly-Shell Rock coach Mark Hubbard said. “He does a nice job on both sides of the ball. He is really versatile. He has a long reach. He’s got very explosive hips. He comes off the ball very well.” Newsom also has developed a strong relationship with new Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander. The Huskers also run a 3-4 on defense. “Coach Chinander is from Allison, so we had common ground

with the area we grew up in. I’m looking forward to playing for him,” Newsom said. “Nebraska has a great coaching staff. They are bringing a lot of enthusiasm and excitement back to the program.” Newsom’s versatility has been evident during his prep career. He was a key member of the Waverly-Shell Rock basketball team that placed fourth in the state and he finished seventh at the state track meet in the discus. Newsom excels in the classroom as a member of the National Honor Society. He hopes to study business in college. He’s active in his church and in the community. “Mosai is extremely coachable,” Hubbard said. “He’s a team captain and a good leader for us. He works very hard in the weight room. He has tremendous potential as a guy that could really develop into a real special football player before he’s done.” Newsom grew up around athletics. His father, Marcus, is the longtime and highly successful track and field coach at Wartburg College. He is part of a close-knit family that also includes his mother, Stephanie, and his younger brothers, Asa and Che’. “My dad has really helped me in the recruiting process and that’s been a blessing for me,” Mosai said. “My whole family has been really supportive. My mom makes sure I stay on top of my schoolwork and everything else. My two younger brothers are seeing what I am doing and I’m trying to lay the foundation for them.” Newsom is part of a tradition-rich program that reached

the playoffs again last season. The Go-Hawks return six starters on offense and four on defense. Waverly-Shell Rock opened its season with a highly anticipated Thursday night home matchup against Class 2A power North Fayette Valley. “Everybody has been hyping it up and that’s exciting,” Newsom said. “It will be a good test for us to start season.” The Go-Hawks are looking to make a deeper run in the Class 3A postseason after falling in the first round in 2017. “Last year was a good year for us, but we didn’t finish the way we wanted to,” he said. “I’m playing with a bunch of seniors that have been together for a long time. We think we can do big things this season.” For the first time in his varsity career, Newsom will do more than just battle in the trenches. “I’m learning how to catch the football,” he said of playing tight end. “I’m really liking it so far.” Choosing Nebraska over the home-state Hawkeyes also is something Newsom has received some ribbing about from his peers. “I have heard it a little bit from my friends and family about picking Nebraska over Iowa,” he said. “But everyone has been really supportive – I know they just want what’s best for me.” For now, Newsom’s focus is squarely on his senior season at Waverly-Shell Rock. “I have to keep getting stronger, and work on being quicker with my hands and feet,” he said. “I just need to keep working hard on all aspects of my game and keep improving.”


2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

8 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

WATERLOO EAST TROJANS

East eager to take next step Trojans return experience from breakthrough season JIM NELSON

jim.nelson@wcfcourier.com‌

‌WATERLOO — Improvement never comes fast enough for a high school football coach. Expectations and goals, however, always remain high, and Waterloo East coach Xavier Leonard has lofty ambitions. After snapping a 37-game losing streak last fall and then tagging on another win, Leonard saw progress and improvement from his Trojans. Now, with the 2018 season at hand, Leonard feels the buy-in from his players is stronger than ever. The numbers seem to back Leonard up. Across three levels — freshman, junior varsity and varsity — East has 70 players, including 45 with the varsity program. “Tremendous numbers,” Leonard said prior to starting his third season. “We’ve got a nice group of freshmen and a strong junior and senior class leading the charge. The kids are working hard. We are like a family now.” Trust the process, and trust your teammates has been the message Leonard has been delivering, and it’s being heard. Senior offensive lineman Brody Card, the Trojans’ 6-foot-3, 300-pound left tackle, feels this group believes in each other. “Coach talks about trusting each other a lot,” Card said. “Trust what you are doing every day, have trust in everything that you do and trust each other to do his job. He says if we want

to be good we have to trust each other, and we have bought into that.” Card, who is attracting plenty of college attention, is one of the leaders East will rely on in 2018. There are several other key veterans back. Quarterback Dylan Reyes, wide receiver and defensive back Ahkil Muhammad, linebacker Jacob Hanley, offensive lineman Sage Cunningham, defensive back Aiden Ernst and running back Kendall Robinson are just a few Leonard rattled off as leaders. That group helped East win a portion of Iowa State’s 7-on-7 camp and then helped the Trojans have a successful experience at Upper Iowa’s team padded camp. “Brody has been a leader, probably one of the top-five best kids I’ve coached and I’ve been coaching since 1998,” Leonard said. “He loves to lift. He is dependable. We are really looking forward to him having a great senior season. “Dylan has improved. He got into the weight room, ran track and he is a better football player mentally and physically. And, we’ve got a lot of unknown kids whom teams are going to find out about, too.” Reyes returns after throwing for 1,269 yards and 12 scores last fall as a sophomore. He also led East in rushing with 234 yards on 68 carries and three touchdowns. Muhammad and Hanley led the defense with 88 (60 solo) and 62 (34 solo) tackles, respectively. “We had a lot of guys get game experience last year and that is going to pay off this season,” Card said. This will also be East’s first season in Class 3A, but Leonard warns just because the Trojans are dropping down, that doesn’t mean the competition will be

COURIER FILE PHOTOS‌

Waterloo East quarterback Dylan Reyes scrambles during last season’s match-up against Waterloo West. any easier. East’s new home in 3A District 3 contains traditionally strong programs like Decorah, Waverly-Shell Rock and West Delaware of Manchester. “It’s a different challenge, yes, but is it a lesser challenge? COURIER FILE PHOTO‌ No,” Leonard said. “We are going to see some good teams that Waterloo East coach Xavier Leonard directs his players during a can beat anybody.” game last season.




2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 9

CLASS 3A, DISTRICT 3

Storylines abound in 3A District 3 Waterloo East joins group of perennial 3A powers DOUG NEWHOFF

doug.newhoff@wcfcourier.com‌

‌There are plenty of intriguing storylines heading into the Class 3A, District 3 football season. Will Waverly-Shell Rock, West Delaware and Decorah be playoff-caliber teams like they were a year ago? How will Waterloo East fit in after dropping down from the Class 4A ranks? Will a change in head coaches affect Decorah’s perennially strong squad? Generally speaking, WaverCOURIER FILE PHOTO‌ ly-Shell Rock and West Delaware are most often mentioned Waterloo East’s Raquem Saffold, left, tries to fight off a block by Waterloo West’s Amel Saric during a Sept. as the district favorites. They’ve 22 matchup last season. got numbers, tradition and several outstanding players to build CAPSULES around.

Charles City Comets‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Darren Bohlen „„ 2017 RECORDS: 2-7 overall, 1-6

Independence Mustangs‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Justin Putz „„ 2017 RECORDS: 4-6 overall 3-4

Please see CLASS 3A-3, Page S10

Waverly-Shell Rock GoHawks‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Mark Hubbard district „„ 2017 RECORDS: 8-2 overall 6-1 „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: district 7 „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: „„ RETURNING STARTERS (5): 18 Logan Schmitt, qb, Joe Kaiser, „„ RETURNING STARTERS (7): ol-lb, Tristan Cordes, rb-lb, Sean Luke Velky, qb-db, Mosai NewGeertsema, wr-pk, Ethan Holt, som, te-dl, Josh Halverson, db-se, Jeremy Chaplin, ol, Seth rb-lb. Blanchette, ol, Ben Hemer, olb, Ian Heise, lb. Waterloo East Trojans‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Xavier Leonard West Delaware Hawks‌ „„ 2017 RECORDS: 2-7 overall, 0-5 „„ HEAD COACH: Doug Winkowdistrict (4A) itsch Decorah Vikings‌ „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: „„ 2017 RECORDS: 8-3 overall, 6-1 „„ HEAD COACH: Pat Trewin 13 district „„ 2017 RECORDS: 7-3 overall, 5-2 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (12): „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: district Ahkil Muhammad, db-rb, Tavi17 „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: ous Jenkins, wr, Dylan Reyes, qb, „„ RETURNING STARTERS (10): 12 Aidan Ernst, db-rb, Scott Bickel, Mitchel Mangold, wr-db, Logan „„ RETURNING STARTERS (5): wr, Kendall Robinson, rb, ChrisWinn, wr-db, Gavin Soppe, db, Nick Tanner Knutson, lb-wb, Drake tian Zearing, lb, Jacob Hanley, Casey, qb, Caleb Kehrli, rb, Jordan Shelton, fs-rb, Carsten Baumler, lb, Javontez Jefferson, dl, Sage Bries, rb-de, Ben Ridenour, ol-lb, de-te, Kailler McCabe, fb-lb, Bryce Tucker, ol, Matt Wichman, Cunningham, ol, Lakey Martin, dt, Derek Krogmann, de. ol-dl, Brody Card, ol. Cameron DeLong, pk.

district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 12 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (9): Dylan Koresh, lb-rb, Ben Schwickerath, ol, Colton Slinger, wr, Ryan Zuspan, ol-lb, Elliott Sinnwell, rb-db, Alec Elsbernd, de, Wyatt Stevenson, de, Marcus Cranshaw, db, De’Ontaya Hoefer, db.

In Waverly, head coach Mark Hubbard will lean on productive senior Luke Velky, who completed 61 percent of his passes last season for 1,098 yards and 14 touchdowns and ran the ball for 784 yards (6.3 per carry) and 15 more TDs. Mosai Newsom is a force on the defensive line and a big target at tight end, and Hubbard likes what he returns on the offensive and defensive lines. West Delaware also returns a host of explosive playmakers from a team that averaged 30.5 points and 377.5 total yards per game last season while advancing as far as the playoff quarterfinals. That group starts with quarterback Nick Casey (137-248-9, 1,914 yards, 15 TDs), running back Caleb Kehrli (234-1,209, 5.2 yards per carry, 18 TDs), receiver Mitchel Mangold (43-514, 12.0 avg., 3 TDs) and running

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Players to watch PASSING „„ Nick Casey, West Delaware: 137-248-9, 1,914 yards, 15 TDs „„ Logan Schmitt, Independence: 97-189-6, 1,361 yards, 17 TDs „„ Dylan Reyes, Wat. East: 89-178-13, 1,269 yards, 12 TDs „„ Luke Velky, Waverly-S.R.: 75-123-6 1,098 yards, 14 TDs

RUSHING „„ Caleb Kehrli, West Delaware: 234-1,209, 5.2 avg., 18 TDs „„ Luke Velky Waverly-S.R.: 125-784, 6.3 avg., 15 TDs „„ Logan Schmitt, Independence: 185-710, 3.8 avg., 4 TDs „„ Jordan Bries, West Delaware: 93-686, 7.4 avg., 10 TDs

RECEIVING „„ Mitchel Mangold, West Delaware: 43-514, 12.0 avg., 3 TDs

TACKLES (solo-ast.-total) „„ Ahkil Muhammad, Wat. East: 60-14-74, 3.5 TFLs „„ Joe Kaiser, Independence: 61-11-72, 14.5 TFLs, 1 sack „„ Jordan Bries, West Delaware: 47-19.5-66.5, 16.5 TFLs, 8.5 sacks

INTERCEPTIONS „„ Logan Winn, West Delaware: 5-46 „„ Mitchel Mangold, West Delaware: 4-69, 1 TD

KICKING „„ Sean Geertsema, Independence: 21-25 PATs

COURIER FILE PHOTO

KICKOFF RETURNS „„ Jordan Bries, West Delaware: 8-220, 27.5 avg., no TDs „„ Hunter Shannon, Independence: 10-257, 25.7 avg., 1 TD

Independence quarterback Logan Schmitt is unable to escape from Dike-New Hartford’s Chase Wilson during last year’s season-opening matchup.

PUNT RETURNS

Class 3A-3

„„ Drake Shelton, Decorah: 8-170, 21.3 avg., 1 TD

PUNTING „„ Dylan Reyes, Wat. East: 18-633, 35.2 avg.

2018 schedule‌ Aug. 23 – North Fayette Valley at Waverly-Shell Rock (ND). Aug. 24 – Charles City at Crestwood (ND), Dubuque Wahlert at West Delaware (ND), Independence at Oelwein (ND), Waterloo West at Waterloo East (ND), Waukon at Decorah (ND). Aug. 31 – Decorah at Cedar Rapids Xavier (ND), New Hampton at Charles City (ND), South Tama at Independence (ND), Waterloo East at Iowa City Liberty (ND), Waverly-Shell Rock at Clear Lake (ND), West Delaware at Marion (ND) Sept. 7 – Charles City at Union Community (ND), Decorah at Western Dubuque (ND), Maquoketa at Independence (ND), Waterloo East at Webster City (ND), Waverly-Shell Rock at Crestwood (ND), West Delaware at Mount Vernon (ND). Sept. 14 – Cedar Rapids Xavier (ND), Crestwood at Decorah (ND), Independence at Center Point-Urbana (ND), New Hampton at Waverly-Shell Rock (ND), Newton at Waterloo East (ND), Oelwein at Charles City (ND). Sept. 21 – Charles City at Waterloo East, Decorah at Waverly-Shell Rock, West Delaware at Independence. Sept. 28 – Decorah at Charles City, Waterloo East at Independence, Waverly-Shell Rock at West Delaware. Oct. 5 – Independence at Charles City, Waterloo East at Waverly-Shell Rock, West Delaware at Decorah. Oct. 12 – Charles City at West Delaware, Decorah at Waterloo East at Decorah, Waverly-Shell Rock at Independence. Oct. 19 – Charles City at Waverly-Shell Rock, Independence at Decorah, Waterloo East at West Delaware.

From S9

back/linebacker Jordan Bries (93-686, 7.4 avg., 10 TDs rushing, 86 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks on defense). “We will have above average speed this fall and our kids had a tremendous offseason,” says veteran head coach Doug Winkowitsch, who returns seven starters on each side of the ball. “Our offensive line is inexperienced, but solid.” Pat Trewin takes over for Bill Post at Decorah following a 7-3 playoff season. Trewin returns just five starters among 12 senior letterwinners, but that group includes all-district performers Drake Shelton, Carsten Baumler and Kailler McCabe. Shelton was in on 62 tackles a year ago and ran for 227 yards, Baumler had 39 stops with seven for a loss and McCabe chipped in 455 rushing yards and 29 tackles. Waterloo East head coach Xavier Leonard sees no reason his Trojans can’t contend for a postseason berth. East returns a dozen starters from a team

that was mostly competitive and won a pair of 4A games last season. Among the players Leonard expects to lead East are Ahkil Muhammad (74 tackles) and quarterback Dylan Reyes (1,269 passing yards, 12 TDs). The Trojans have speed and experience, but won’t be blessed with great depth. Charles City looks to take a giant step forward with nine starters back and three other veterans. Dylan Koresh and Ryan Zuspan were all-district players last season, and head coach Darren Bohlen has plenty of talent across the board.

“We have an experienced group of kids coming back and we are more athletic than what we have been in the past,” notes Bohlen. “What we lack in quantity, we make up with quality. We have more overall team speed this year in all positions and our offensive line might be the most athletic we’ve had in my six years.” Independence doesn’t return many starters (five), but the Mustangs have one of the district’s most productive players back in quarterback Logan Schmitt, who passed for 1,361 yards and 17 TDs and ran for 710 yards and four scores a year ago.

GOOD LUCK

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 11

UNION KNIGHTS

Union no surprise this season Knights return large senior group after trip to state semis NICK PETAROS

nick.petaros@wcfcourier.com‌

‌LA PORTE CITY — Few would have predicted last August that Union Community’s 2017 football team would become the first in program history to complete a return trip to the state semifinals inside the UNIDome. The Knights overcame the graduation of a large senior class, secured the final playoff spot on the last tiebreaker (the alphabet), and then put together back-to-back postseason road wins. “I was extremely proud of our players and our staff,” Union’s 12th-year head coach Joe Hadachek noted. “It was an unbelievable year.” This year’s Knights appear poised to pick up from where the 2017 group left off. Union returns 21 seniors with four of the five starters back on the line. “Towards the end of the (2017) season we were really putting our nose to the grindstone,” said Lane Albertsen, a senior leader within Union’s line. “It’s been pretty fun. I got to play in the Dome a couple times and it was a pretty eye-opening experience.” While Union returns plenty of athletes who know what it takes to find postseason success, the Knights did graduate some key contributors. That includes

MATTHEW PUTNEY, COURIER PHOTO EDITOR‌

Union players hold up their Class 2A participation trophy after a 28-14 loss to Williamsburg in last season’s Class 2A state semifinals in the UNI-Dome.

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

Among the leaders back for the Union Community football team this season are, left to right, Britton Rolison, Carter Spore, Bryce Parker, Brayden Grosse, Lane Albertsen and Kaleb Roach.

two-way playmaker Koby Alpers, school career passing leader Troy Hanus and top lineman Carter Brehm. “I think we’ll be solid up front both ways so it’s really the skill guys,” Hadachek said. “We had big plays last year. ... I don’t know if we’re going to be explosive this year, but we have to sustain drives when we get the opportunity.” Union’s offense will look to Kaleb Roach to be a difference-maker behind its strength in the trenches. Roach led the

Knights with 891 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 156 carries his junior season. He has supplemented football with success as a member of the local Wolf Creek Rugby club. “Rugby is just basically another style of football so it gives you another season, a break from football, but something that’s close,” Roach said. “In football, people are blocking for you and you have a lot more to rely on, but in rugby it kind of helps you being able to break free and break tackles moreso than

hitting a hole.” Senior Dylan Felderman, a dropback passer, and junior scrambler Brayden Grosse are in the midst of a battle for starting quarterback duties. Bryce Parker, a returning starting linebacker, has impressed Hadachek as a pass-catching option at tight end or wide receiver. Isaiah Jackson, a transfer nose guard and tackle, along with Kyle Grosse and Carter Spore are among the other players who could be in store for a breakout season in larger roles. Defensively, hard-hitting de-

fensive back Britton Rolison is the top returning tackler after making 45 stops a year ago. “He’s about as big as my thumb, but he plays like a giant,” Hadachek said. “He’s got the quickest feet that we’ve seen here. He’s an explosive return man, probably pound for pound the best tackler on our team, and he does a lot of things in space.” Albertsen and Ben Rumpe figure to be a pair of defensive ends with the ability to cause havoc, while Roach will also serve an important role at linebacker. Within this team’s 75-man roster is a collection of competitors determined to make a third consecutive trip to the Dome. “I like what this group could do and what we can do as long as we keep going hard and practicing like we can,” Roach said. “It’s exciting to see what we can come out with.”

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW



Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 13

WATERLOO COLUMBUS SAILORS

Sailors set to inflict some pain Columbus players tired of being on receiving end NICK PETAROS

nick.petaros@wcfcourier.com‌

‌WATERLOO — Growing pains have become all too familiar on West 9th St. in recent years. Waterloo Columbus’ football program has often lacked the physical size and experience necessary to compete on a weekly basis within districts headlined by some of the state’s perennial title contenders. The Sailors enter the 2018 season with a collection of 11 returning starters determined to help chart a new direction for a program that has averaged just one win over the past seven seasons. Running backs Kobe Nobis and Ray Seidel, along with defensive ends Ben Sinnott and Cannon Butler, are among a group of six juniors who have made physical gains after being thrown into significant roles as sophomores. “This is by far the most talented team that we’ve had,” Columbus coach Brad Schmit said. “It’s not even close in terms of football talent. But at the same time, we haven’t had a ton of success. These kids need to learn when their feet are to the fire, backs against the wall, they’ve got to perform. “We’ve made tremendous progress, but we have a lot of ground to make up to get to the levels of some of these programs

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

Waterloo Columbus players Kaden Ludwig, Austin Zaputil, Don Patnode and Parker Westhoff, left to right, will try to help the Sailor program take a step forward this season. we’re playing.” Donald Patnode, a 6-foot-1, 205 pound senior linebacker, is a veteran leader who has a firm grasp on the type of physicality it will take for his team to close the gap against its competition. “He’s put in the time in terms of taking care of his body and

spending countless hours in the weight room and doing all the stuff that you have to do to be good,” Schmit said. “He takes some of the younger guys under his wing. ... He’s a good leader by example and he’s been a lot better vocally, as well, just being positive.”

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Patnode led Columbus with 60 tackles a year ago in a district that included state champion Waukon, semifinalist Union and quarterfinalist Cascade. “We got blown out of the water half the time, but I think that made us better,” Patnode said. “We’ve seen the best and

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we know what the best takes so I think that helped us. “We’ve been working our butts off in the weight room and we’re getting there. We’re more of a family this year and it’s really showing in practice because we’re all flying to the ball, hitting hard and competing with each other.” On offense, Patnode will look to create holes from his fullback position for Nobis and Seidel. Nobis is a shifty pass-catching option, while Seidel is a hardnosed, one-cut, downfield runner. “They’re looking so much better, so much more fluid,” Patnode said. “I think with that 15 to 20 pounds they put on, they’ll be able to run through more tackles and gain some more yards. Our line is looking a lot better, too.” Continuity can be found across the board. Seniors Austin Zaputil and Ben Leibold, along with juniors Kaden Vesely, Mitchell Carpenter and Bradin Cole, have formed a more cohesive line after playing meaningful snaps a season ago. Parker Westhoff has increased confidence entering his second year as a starting quarterback. Butler, a 6-foot-5 tight end, will be one of his top targets along with receivers Kaden Ludwig and Tristan Wright, who were part of the Sailors’ state track-qualifying sprint relays. “We went to a team camp and it seemed like everything slowed down,” Westhoff said. “It wasn’t as fast as last year. We’ll see how it goes. ... My main goal is to try and turn this program around for the better.”


2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

14 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

CLASS 2A, DISTRICT 4

Bulls-eye on Waukon after state title Columbus among teams looking to move up this season NICK PETAROS

nick.petaros@wcfcourier.com‌

‌Chad Beerman is taking nothing for granted one year removed from coaching Waukon to Class 2A’s 2018 state championship. The Indians graduated the majority of their starters off last year’s title team and will break in a large cast of newcomers with a challenging non-district schedule before entering what figures to be a Class 2A, District 4 race with no clear frontrunner. “The district is a toss-up,” Beerman noted. “Our three returning starters are very good. We have young talent that should develop with experience.” Union and Cascade, who were playoff teams a year ago, have moved to other districts. District newcomer Anamosa turned the corner last season with firstyear head coach Lucas Stanton leading the Raiders to a rare 5-4 winning season. Several key pieces are intact COURIER FILE PHOTO‌ Please see CLASS 2A-4, Page S17

Waterloo Columbus’ Kobe Nobis pulls for more yards as Oelwein’s Sayer Woodson tries to drag him down last season.

CAPSULES Anamosa Raiders‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Lucas Stanton „„ 2017 RECORDS: 5-4 overall,

4-3 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 14 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (14): Connor Andresen, ol-dl, Laz Bland, te-de, Shawn Buhr, ol-dl, Cole Chapman, ol-dl, Nathan Dietiker, rb-lb, Adam Kohl, wr-db, Walker Marsh, rb-lb, Zac McLean, wr-db, Cade McNamara, ol-dl, Spencer Norton, wr-db, Dylan Rickels, wr-db, Chandler Seeley, ol-dl, Maverick Tjaden, ol-dl, Matthew Walton, qb-db.

Columbus Sailors‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Brad Schmit „„ 2017 RECORDS: 1-8 overall, 1-6

district

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 17 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (11): Parker Westhoff, qb, Kobe Nobis, rd-db, Ray Seidel, rb-db, Kaden Ludwig, wr-db, Tristan Wright, wr, Donald Patnode, fb-lb, Ben Sinnott, de, Ben Leibold, ol-dl, Caleb Vesely, ol-dl, Austin Zaputil, ol-dl, Cannon Butler, te-de.

Monticello Panthers‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Wes Wilson „„ 2017 RECORDS: 5-4 overall,

3-4 district

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 12

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (8):

Gavin Cooper, wr-db, Tony Wallerich, wr-db, Lake Stahlberg, rb-lb, Jon Mootz, ol-lb, Wade Picray, ol-dl, Chase Luensman, qb-db, Dallas Bowser, rb-lb, Devin Kraus, wr-db.

N. Fayette Valley TigerHawks‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Bob Lape „„ 2017 RECORDS: 2-7 overall, 2-5

district

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 12

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (12):

Brooks Hovden, qb-db, Dylan Muggler, fb-de, Mac Whelan, rb-db, Gunner Rodgers, rb-db, Zach Massman, te-de, Brian Roulson, ol-dl, Chase Blagsvedt, ol-dl, Tanner Menne, ol, Kyler Ginger, te, Drew Berger, ol-dl, Austin Koch, lb, Trey Darnall, lb.

Oelwein Huskies‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Trevor Arnold „„ 2017 RECORDS: 0-9 overall,

0-7 district

Palmer, wr-cb, Steven Nicolay, hb-de, Jakub Conner, ol-de, Adam Deaner, ol-de, Grant Slifer, ol-dl, Ernane da Silva, ol-lb, Damon Melchert, ol-dl, Damon Melchert, ol-dt, Austin Opperman, lb, Mason Kunkle, hb-lb.

Waukon Indians‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Chad Beerman „„ 2017 RECORDS: 12-1 overall,

6-1 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 20 NERS: 12 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (14): „ „ RETURNING STARERS (3): Dom Robertson, wr-fs, Dillon Michael Sweeney, te, Brady SulArndt, qb, Lukes Crandall, rb-lb, Ethan Thomas, wr-cb, Cam livan, lb-ol, Pryce Hessey, ol-dl. „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-




2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 15

CLASS 2A, DISTRICT 3

Lions expected to roar this season New Hampton among teams hoping to challenge Clear Lake NICK PETAROS

nick.petaros@wcfcourier.com‌

‌Clear Lake, New Hampton and Crestwood formed a competitive trio of teams atop their district standings a season ago. New Hampton used a road win at Clear Lake (14-7) in the final week of the regular season to finish tied atop the district with the Lions, while C re s two o d just missed the playoffs one game back. Led by quarterback Jaylen DeVries — who completed 106 passes for 1,791 yards and 16 touchdowns — in addition to a returning cast of linemen, Clear Lake has been tabbed the preseason favorite by the district’s coaches. “We have many returners with quite a few difference-makers,” said Clear Lake’s eighth-year head coach Jared DeVries, who considers team speed and line size and strength his group’s greatest assets. New Hampton certainly isn’t lacking experience with 14 seniors returning to a roster for a team that, similar to Clear Lake, was eliminated from postseason play by eventual state champion Waukon. Iowa commit Noah Fenkse highlights New Hampton’s senior leaders on the line and 26th-year head coach Scott Frericks looks for his defense to be a strength early as the Chickasaws replace key skill players lost to graduation. Linebacker Keegan Kane is the top returning tackler after playing a role in 76 stops with 10 for loss a season ago.

CHRIS ZOELLER, MASON CITY GLOBE GAZETTE‌

Clear Lake sophomore Nick Danielson, left, attempts to avoid a tackle from New Hampton’s Keagan Kane last season in Clear Lake. New Hampton won, 14-7. “It’s a good, solid group of seniors, multi-sport athletes,” Frericks noted. “They’re a competitive group. Could be solid in all facets of the game.”

Skip Eckhardt begins his first year as the head coach for a Crestwood program that just missed qualifying for postseason play a year ago. Quarterback

Jon Henry returns for the Ca- ers are surrounded by a youthful dets after passing for 810 yards. nucleus. Safety Logan Albert is back as “We’ll have to see as we go,” the team’s top returning tackler. In total, nine returning startPlease see CLASS 2A-3, Page S18


16 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW CLASS 2A, DISTRICT 7

Contenders everywhere in new 2A-7 Union among teams hoping to rise to the top of district NICK PETAROS

nick.petaros@wcfcourier.com‌

‌Multiple teams will be getting acquainted with each other during the first season of play in the realigned Class 2A, District 7. Of the six football programs in this grouping, no more than two were paired in the same district a year ago — that includes three schools dropping down from Class 3A. Union Community had the most success a year ago and returns a large senior class of 21 from a team that reached the Class 2A semifinals last season.

“Benton, I’ve watched the progress with their program,” Union coach Joe Hadachek said, assessing the district field. “They’ll be physical. Vinton is our next door neighbor. Nevada, 5-4 last year, has a lot of kids back. West Marshall on paper has the best team back in the district. Roland-Story has an Iowa State recruit (linebacker, tight end Zach Twedt).” West Marshall certainly has key difference-makers back on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Cameron Bannister threw for 1,552 yards and 19 touchdowns, while Josh Halverson and David Willis combined for 15 sacks. Benton Community more Please see CLASS 2A-7, Page S19

CONGRATULATIONS

to Coaches And Athletes!

COURIER FILE PHOTO‌

Union’s Kaleb Roach leaps to avoid a tackle during last season’s Class 2A state semifinals. Roach is one of the top returning rushers in Class 2A, District 7.

Tiger Booster Club


2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW



Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 17

Players to watch PASSING

„„ Matthew Walton, Anamosa:

64-151-6, 1,018 yards, 11 TDs

„„ Matthew Walton, Anamosa:

115-536, 4.7 avg., 8 TDs

RECEIVING „„ Gavin Cooper, Monticello: 2795-211-15, 972 yards, 7 TDs „„ Dillon Arndt, Oelwein: 86-180657, 24.3 avg., 4 TDs 10, 915 yards, 7 TDs „„ Dom Robertson, Oelwein: 19466, 24.5 avg., 5 TDs RUSHING „ „ Zach McLean, Anamosa: 30„„ Zach Massman, North Fayette Valley: 92-618, 6.7 avg., 3 TDs 441, 14.7 avg., 5 TDs „„ Parker Westhoff, Columbus:

TACKLES (solo-ast.-total)

„„ Nathan Dietiker, Anamosa: 37-

28-65, 2.5 TFLs, 0.5 sack

„„ Brady Sullivan, Waukon: 35-

29-64, 16.5 TFLs, 1 sack

„„ Donald Patnode, Columbus:

41-18.5-59.5, 3 TFLs

KICKOFF RETURNS „„ Michael Sweeney, Waukon: 16369, 23.1 avg., no TDs

2018 schedule‌ Aug. 23 – North Fayette Valley at Wa- (ND), East Marshall at Waterloo Coverly-Shell Rock (ND). lumbus (ND), Bellevue at Monticello (ND), Oelwein at Vinton-Shellsburg Aug. 24 – Anamosa at Maquoketa (ND), (ND), Sumner-Fredericksburg at North Independence at Oelwein (ND), Monti- Fayette Valley (ND), Waukon at New cello at Cascade (ND), Waterloo ColumHampton (ND). bus at Iowa Falls-Alden (ND), Waukon at Decorah (ND). Sept. 14 – Dyersville Beckman at Ana-

Columbus at Oelwein. Sept. 28 – Anamosa at Waterloo Columbus, North Fayette Valley at Monticello, Waukon at Oelwein. Oct. 5 – Monticello at Anamosa, Oelwein at North Fayette Valley, Waterloo Columbus at Waukon.

mosa (ND), Maquoketa Valley at Monticello (ND), North Fayette Valley at Den- Oct. 12 – Oelwein at Monticello, Waterver (ND), Oelwein at Charles City (ND), loo Columbus at North Fayette Valley, Waterloo Columbus at Vinton-Shells- Waukon at Anamosa. burg (ND), Waukon at Cascade (ND). Oct. 19 – Anamosa at Oelwein, MonSept. 21 – Anamosa at North Fayette ticello at Waterloo Columbus, North Sept. 7 – Anamosa at West Liberty Valley, Monticello at Waukon, Waterloo Fayette Valley at Waukon. Aug. 31 – Crestwood at Waukon (ND), Iowa City Regina at Anamosa (ND), Hudson at Waterloo Columbus (ND), Jesup at Oelwein (ND), Monticello at Dyersville Beckman (ND), Union Community at North Fayette Valley (ND).

Class 2A-4 From S14

for Anamosa to certainly contend in this district. Dual-threat quarterback Matthew Walton is perhaps the district’s top returning playmaker after passing for 1,018 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushing for 536 and eight more scores. In total, the Raiders bring back 14 starters. “As long as our kids believe, I believe that we can compete for a district championship,” Stanton said. “That is the expectation that we want to set for our program every year. I believe Waukon will be the team to beat. North Fayette Valley is a perennial power as well that just has had a couple down years, but I don’t see that lasting long. Monticello could be right there, as well. ... Oelwein has a young, energetic coach who is starting to get his kids to believe so that could be a team that could sneak up on people.” Quarterback Brooks Hovden and running back Zach Mass-

man (118 carries, 549 yards) are back within North Fayette Valley’s rushing attack. Monticello is experienced at skill positions on offense and in the defensive linebacking corps and backfield. Columbus may have an opportunity to turn the corner with several key starters back in a district that saw two strong playoff programs depart. The Sailors have been working on some I-formation sets in practice and will look to find an identity by establishing the run. “We’ve made tremendous progress,” Columbus coach Brad Schmit said. “But we have a lot of ground to make up to get to the levels of some of these programs we’re playing.” Similar to Columbus, Oelwein has 13 starters back including 915-yard passer Dillon Arndt and 466-yard receiver Dom Robertson. “We have several players who are going into their third year of varsity football,” Oelwein coach Trevor Arnold said. “Our talent has increased but more importantly our strength, speed and

football knowledge have increased. How much so, we will COURIER FILE PHOTO‌ see that play out over the course Waterloo Columbus’ Ben Sinnott, right, pressures Oelwein quarterback of the season.” Dillon Arndt during last season’s game in Waterloo.

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18 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Players to watch PASSING „„ Jaylen DeVries, Clear Lake: 106-195-7, 1,791 yards, 16 TDs „„ Luke Johnson, Forest City: 109-210-10, 1,130 yards, 8 TDs „„ Jon Henry, Crestwood: 53-108-6, 810 yards, 4 TDs RUSHING „„ Dustin Miller, Hampton-Dumont: 82-471, 5.7 avg., 4 TDs „„ Kyle Hadwiger, Iowa Falls-Alden: 95-336, 3.5, 4 TDs

RECEIVING „„ Drew Enke, Clear Lake: 34-598, 17.6 avg., 7 TDs „„ Blaze Anderson, Forest City: 33-398, 12.1 avg., 4 TDs „„ Dustin Miller, Hampton-Dumont-CAL: 11-297, 25.4 avg., 4 TDs

TACKLES (solo-ast.-total) „„ Keegan Kane, New Hampton: 16-61-77, 10 TFLs, 2 sacks „„ Kyler Hadwiger, Iowa Falls-Alden: 37-31-68, 1.5 TFLs „„ Dustin Miller, Hampton-Dumont-CAL: 34-15.5-49.5, 2 TFLs, 1 sack KICKING „„ Austin Hemann, New Hampton: 21-25 PATs, 1-1 FGs KICKOFF RETURNS „„ Keegan Kane, New Hampton: 12-296, 24.7 avg., 1 TD

2018 schedule‌ Aug. 24 – Clear Lake at Osage (ND), Charles City at Crestwood (ND), Estherville Lincoln Central at Forest City (ND), Southeast Valley at Hampton-Dumont-CAL (ND), Waterloo Columbus at Iowa Falls-Alden (ND), Aplington-Parkersburg at New Hampton (ND). Aug. 31 – Waverly-Shell Rock at Clear Lake (ND), Crestwood at Waukon (ND), Forest City at Spirit Lake (ND), Hampton-Dumont-CAL at Algona (ND), Iowa Falls-Alden at South Hardin (ND), New Hampton at Charles City (ND). Sept. 7 – Garner-Hayfield-Ventura at Clear Lake (ND), Waverly-Shell Rock at Crestwood (ND), Forest City at Clarion-Goldfield-Dows (ND), Hampton-Dumont-CAL at South Hardin (ND), Iowa Falls-Alden at Aplington-Parkersburg (ND), Waukon at New Hampton (ND). Sept. 14 – Clear Lake at Mason City (ND), Crestwood at Decorah (ND), West Hancock at Forest City (ND), Clarion-Goldfield-Dows at Hampton-Dumont-CAL (ND), Roland-Story at Iowa Falls-Alden (ND), New Hampton at Waverly-Shell Rock (ND). Sept. 21 – Crestwood at Iowa Falls-Alden, Hampton-Dumont at Clear Lake, New Hampton at Forest City. Sept. 28 – Clear Lake at Crestwood, Forest City at Hampton-Dumont, Iowa Falls-Alden at New Hampton. Oct. 5 – Crestwood at New Hampton, Forest City at Clear Lake, Hampton-Dumont-CAL at Iowa Falls-Alden. Oct. 12 – Crestwood at Hampton-Dumont-CAL, Iowa Falls-Alden at Forest City, New Hampton at Clear Lake. Oct. 19 – Clear Lake at Iowa Falls-Alden, Forest City at Crestwood, Hampton-Dumont-CAL at New Hampton.

Class 2A-3 From S15

Eckhardt said. “We’re young and we’ve got a pretty tough district schedule. ... If we can stay healthy we’ll see what happens.” Iowa Falls-Alden makes the move from Class 3A into the district, while Garner-Hayfield-Ventura, Osage and Clarion-Goldfield-Dows have departed.

IF-A running back Kyler Hadwiger may be poised to build upon last season in which he rushed for 336 yards. “I think we will be better up front so our running game will be improved,” Iowa Falls-Alden coach Don Anderson noted. “We’re inexperienced in the secondary and depth at a lot of positions.” Hampton-Dumont and Forest City will be looking for growth after combining for one win a year ago.

Dustin Miller is the top returning rusher in the district (471 yards, 5.7 per carry) and figures to lead a Hampton-Dumont team that returns players at eight starting positions on both sides of the ball. “Dustin is elusive in the open field as a receiver and running back,” H-D coach Dan Aalbers said. “The offensive line is the most experienced part of our offense and it appears we will be starting five seniors across the front.”

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

„„ HEAD COACH: Don Anderson „„ 2017 RECORDS: 1-9 overall,

CAPSULES Clear Lake Lions‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Jared DeVries „„ 2017 RECORDS: 7-3 overall, 7-1

district „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 9 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (9):

Ryan Thomas, ol, Jared Penning, lb, Jaylen DeVries, qb, Drew Enke, wr, Nick Danielson, db, Tate Storbech, dl, Chase Stuver, lb, Alex Snelling, lb, Jack Barragy, db.

Crestwood Cadets‌

NERS: 10 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (10): Luke Johnson, qb, Blaze Anderson, te-de, Micah Lambert, wr-lb, Jacob Olson, rb-s, Seth Brock, rb-s, Gabe Staudt, ol, Caleb Barker, ot, Tony Thomas, de, Jacob Trunkhill, dl, Brady Cantu, db.

Hampton-Dumont Bulldogs‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Dan Aalbers „„ 2017 RECORDS: 1-8 overall, 1-5

0-7 district (Class 3A) „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 8 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (6):

Koby Meyer, ol-dl, Trey Chaplin, ol-dl, Magnum Hamilton, fb-lb, Riley Burke, db, McKade Eisentrager, ol-lb, Kyler Hadwiger, rb-lb.

New Hampton Chickasaws‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Scott Frericks district „„ 2017 RECORDS: 8-3, 6-1 „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN5-2 district NERS: 14 NERS: 16 „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN„„ RETURNING STARTERS (14): „„ RETURNING STARTERS (7): NERS: 12 Dustin Miller rb-db, Matt WadMason Cleveland, wr-s, Noah dingham rb-db, Noah Noelck, Fenske, ol-de, Keegan Kane, lb, „„ RETURNING STARTERS (9): rb-db, Lukas Smith, p-db, Elijah Tanner Lage, te, Mitch Pikar, Jon Henry, qb, Zachary Lane, Horton, se-de, Gabe Rivera, ol, Max Schwickeroth, fb, Wyatt de, Frank Hrdlicka, te-de, rb-db, Mason Johnson, fb-de, Stochl, s. Henry Kitchen, RB-LB, Shane Dalton Chipp, ol-de, Logan Vokaty, db, Kody Berns, ol, Walker, ol-lb, Emilio ValenzuWyatt Scheidel, ol-dl, Logan Alela, ol-dl, Trey Barz, ol-lb, Cabert, s-rb, Kael Anderlik, db. leb Johnson, ol-dl, Wyatt FolkForest City Indians‌ erts, ol-dl, Owen Kirschbaum, „„ HEAD COACH: Chad Moore ol-dl. „„ 2017 RECORDS: 0-9 overall, 0-7 district Iowa Falls-Alden Cadets‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Skip Eckhardt „„ 2017 RECORDS: 5-4 overall,

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW



Players to watch

TACKLES (solo-ast.-total) „„ Nathan Bell, Roland-Story: 63-38-101, 8

PASSING

TFLs, 2 sacks

„„ Cameron Bannister, West Marshall: 118-

„„ Josh Halverson, West Marshall: 53-28.5-

81.5, 13 TFLs, 8 sacks

177-7, 1,552 yards, 19 TDs RUSHING „„ Ben Chelsvig, Roland-Story: 198-1,502, 7.6 avg., 12 TDs „„ Kaleb Roach, Union: 156-891, 5.7 avg., 12 TDs „„ Matt Davis, Benton Community: 156836, 5.4 avg., 11 TDs „„ Jakob Strottman, Nevada: 158-767, 4.9 avg., 3 TDs

„„ David Willis, West Marshall: 43-25-68,

10 TFLs, 7 sacks KICKING „„ Ben Dvorak, Union: 36-44 PATs, 2-2 FGs „„ Nick Stole, Roland-Story: 21-26 PATs „„ Jack Cahill, Nevada: 14-16 PATs, 2-2 FGs KICKOFF RETURNS „„ Zach Twedt, Roland-Story, 9-288, 32.0

avg., 1 TD

RECEIVING PUNTING „„ Britton Rolison, Union: 39-677, 17.4 avg., „„ Josh Larsen, West Marshall: 41-1, 650, 6 TDs 40.2 avg „„ Josh Larsen, West Marshall: 22-319, 13.9 „„ Colby Gray, Roland-Story: 27-1,089, 40.3 avg. avg., 2 TDs

Class 2A-7 From S16

than held its own in Class 3A last season with all three losses coming to playoff teams. Matt Davis is back as one of the district’s top rushers after averaging 5.4 yards on 156 carries. Jack Shaw and Nate Michels are talented athletes on both sides of the ball. “This district does not have any bad teams in it,” Benton coach Kal Goodchild noted. “It could be wide open.” There’s certainly limited margin for error across the board with smaller districts this season. Count Hadachek among the coaches who would have preferred to have a larger slate of district games determine automatic playoff qualification. “I don’t like the way it’s set up,” Hadachek said. “I don’t like four non-district games. The majority of the coaches would have preferred a nineteam district to play eight district games. “Will it all shake out and we’ll like it later? Maybe. But when you’ve got nine games, I’d rather have eight of them district games.”

Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 19

2018 schedule‌

(ND), Benton Community at Wilton (ND), Nevada at South Tama (ND), Roland-Story at Iowa Falls-Alden (ND), Union Community at Dike-New Hartford Aug. 24 – Alburnett at Vinton-Shellsburg (ND), (ND), Waterloo Columbus at Vinton-Shellsburg (ND). Benton Community at South Tama (ND), Dyersville Beckman at Union Community (ND), Sept. 21 – Benton Community at Union CommuNorth Polk at Nevada (ND), Roland-Story at Clar- nity, Vinton-Shellsburg at Nevada, West Marshall ion-Goldfield-Dows (ND), West Marshall at Wil- at Roland-Story. liamsburg (ND). Sept. 28 – Nevada at Benton Community, RoAug. 31 – Cascade at Benton Community (ND), land-Story at Union Community, Vinton-ShellsGilbert at Roland-Story (ND), Nevada at Greene burg at West Marshall. County (ND), PCM at West Marshall (ND), Union Oct. 5 – Benton Community at Roland-Story, Union Community at North Fayette Valley (ND), Vin- Community at Vinton-Shellsburg, West Marshall ton-Shellsburg at Tipton (ND). at Nevada. Sept. 7 – Center Point-Urbana at Benton Community (ND), Charles City at Union Community (ND), Oelwein at Vinton-Shellsburg (ND), Perry at Nevada (ND), Roland-Story at PCM Monroe (ND), West Marshall at Denver (ND).

Oct. 12 – Nevada at Union Community, Roland-Story at Vinton-Shellsburg, West Marshall at Benton Community.

Oct. 19 – Nevada at Roland-Story at Nevada, Union Community at West Marshall, Vinton-Shellsburg Sept. 14 – Aplington-Parkersburg at West Marshall at Benton Community.

CAPSULES Benton Community Bobcats‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Kal Goodchild „„ 2017 RECORDS: 6-3 overall, 4-3

district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 12 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (8): Carson Bear, ol, Jacob Stocker, ol-dl, Easton Werner, ol, Zach Crawford, ol-dl, Matt Davis, rb-lb, Nate Michels, wr-db, Jack Shaw, wr-db, Dylan Spina, p.

wr-db, Jakob Pittman, fb-lb, Colby Gray, wr-db, Drake Day, qb-db.

Union Knights‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Joe Hadachek „„ 2017 RECORDS: 8-4 overall, 5-2

district

„„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:

21 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (21): Lane Albertsen, ol-dl, Richie Arteaga, ol-dl, Carter Amussen, wr-db, Ben Behrens, wr-lb, Ben Dvorak, wr-db, Dylan FelderNevada Cubs‌ man, qb-db, Levi Gray, te-lb, „„ HEAD COACH: Andy Kleeman Brayden Gross, wr-db, Kyle „„ 2017 RECORDS: 5-4 overall, 3-4 Gross, fb-lb, Marc Mahood, district te-lb, Bryce Parker, te-lb, Kaleb „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Roach, rb-lb, Britton Rolison, 6 wr-db, Tyler Rottinghaus, ol-db, „„ RETURNING STARTERS (5): Silver Schmitz, wr-db, Mason Sam Abraham, db, Andrew Scott, ol-dl, Ryan Sedgwick, Saunders, db, Jakob Strottman, wr-db, Carter Spore, ol-dl, Liam db-rb, Jack Cahill, ol, Ethan Wild, Stone, ol-dl, CJ Weltzin, wr-db, ol. Rashawn Williams, ol-dl.

Roland-Story Norsemen‌

Vinton-Shellsburg Vikings‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Aaron Stensland „„ 2017 RECORDS: 4-5 overall, 3-3

„„ HEAD COACH: Jim Womochil „„ 2017 RECORDS: 1-8 overall, 1-6

„„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:

„„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (8):

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (11):

district 8

Jayden MacDonald, ol, Nathan Bell ol-lb, Nic Hansen, ol, Ben Chelsvig, rb, Carter Greenfield,

district 11

Joe Wilson, wr-db, Isaac Wiley, ol-dl, Sean Gilbert, ol, Chevy Burnell, fb, Brad Cornell, ol,

Grant Ries, ol, Nathan Harrelson, ol, Alex Pladsen, lb, Keegan Thompson, db, Isaac Wiley, dl, Luke Beyer, lb.

West Marshall Trojans‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Cody Hackett „„ 2017 RECORDS: 6-3 overall, 4-2

district

„„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:

10

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (10):

Cameron Bannister, qb-db, Josh Larsen, wr-db, Joe Halverson, te-lb, Chase Burr, rb-lb, David Willis, rb-lb, Jake Tollefson, wr, Luke Pinnick, ol, Levi Cowan, de, Brian Morrison, dl, Luke Pinnick, dl.

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20 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

DIKE-NEW HARTFORD WOLVERINES

Dike-New Hartford back on its game Wolverines back to doing what they do best JIM NELSON

jim.nelson@wcfcourier.com‌

‌DIKE — Don Betts says he may have lost his mind briefly a season ago. After riding the back of Trent Johnson to the tune of 7,645 rushing yards for three seasons, Dike-New Hartford’s 12th-year head coach felt the system that worked so well with Johnson might not be the way to go in 2017. With that thought, Betts and his staff changed things up and the results were not what they expected. The Wolverines started the 2017 season 2-3 and for much of those five games did not look anything like the winning program they had been. So, Betts reversed course and Dike-New Hartford won four straight games and made the Class 2A playoffs. “We had been an I-formation, run-the-football team,” Betts said. “We looked at last year and I said, ‘I don’t think we have the kids to do that.’ So we tried some new things offensively, and essentially that is what contributed to our slow start. “I say temporary insanity on my part.” Betts isn’t making that

mistake this season. With 10 starters back on offense and nine on defense along with a drop to Class 1A, Dike-New Hartford figures to be a major player not only in District 6, but all of Class 1A. The young and inexperienced 2017 team that took half a season to find an identity before making the playoffs is primed and focused. “The vibe is very team-oriented,” senior offensive lineman Clayton Wright said. “We are all together and working hard. There is not one person slacking off, because we all know the guy next to us will always be going hard. We are pushing each other to be better.” Offensively, the Wolverines return four players up front — Owen Goos, Daniel Graves, Wright and 6-foot6, 270-pound Colton Harberts, who is drawing interest from numerous Missouri Valley Football Conference teams. Drew Sonnenberg is back at quarterback after throwing for 757 yards last year, and Cade Fuller, who rushed for 777 yards and 17 scores a year ago, has moved to wide receiver. “Drew is a true quarterback who is a year older, a year wiser and ready to take a big step forward,” Betts said. “Cade ... we feel he can be extremely dangerous with the football in his hands. “Our offensive line is go-

ing to be a strength, offensively, and defensively we have a ton of experience at linebacker.” The Wolverines’ top playmaker on defense is junior linebacker Nathan Graves, who recorded 88 tackles in 2017, 18 of them for loss. “I feel we are a lot more energized coming into this season,” offensive lineman Daniel Graves said. “We are a lot more ready to go. This year, we are doing a great job of going after every day and getting better.” While confident D-NH can contend in 1A-6, which includes an Iowa City Regina program that has played in eight consecutive state championship games, Betts says there are a lot of challenges ahead. “We spent the off-season talking about that fact,” Betts said. “Just because you bring back a lot of people doesn’t change anything unless you get better. These kids have really embraced that idea.” As far as Regina, Betts said his team has embraced that challenge, too. “Our kids when that first came out were excited,” Betts said. “We knew we were dropping to 1A and 1A starts with Regina. They have a tremendous program. We knew when we made the drop that at some point and time you have to beat Regina.” That game between the Wolverines and Regals is slated for week nine, Oct. 19, in Iowa City.

COURIER FILE PHOTO‌

Dike-New Hartford head coach Don Betts, right, congratulates Cade Fuller after a touchdown during the Wolverines’ season-opening win at Independence last season.

JIM NELSON, COURIER SPORTS WRITER‌

Dike-New Hartford is looking to make some noise in Class 1A this season with the return of 14 seniors. In front left to right are Cade Fuller, Ryan Moore, Tim Koop, Isaac Jorgensen, Daniel Graves and Tristan Cleveland. In back left to right are Jake Landphair, Colton Harberts, Owen Goos, Clayton Wright, Garrett Kobriger, Mason Dietrick and Ely Sohn. Missing is Grant Bixby.

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW



Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 21

DENVER CYCLONES

Denver looking forward, not back New season brings new challenges for Cyclone squad JIM NELSON

jim.nelson@wcfcourier.com‌

DENVER — Back-to‌ back district championships and a trip to the state semifinals the past two seasons are in the back pocket of the Denver High School football team. That experience is nice, but to the Cyclones and their 1A opponents this season, that carries only so much weight. “Definitely helps you a little bit,” senior tight end Connor Smith said of Denver’s winning culture. “But you have to focus on this season and what it is going to take to be successful, and not the past.” “Expectations don’t change,” added senior wide receiver and defensive back Zack Miller. “Obviously, we’ve won a couple of district titles and that is a good goal to have. We just have to go into each week expecting to win.” Head coach Rhett Barrett is relying on a senior class that numbers just five — Smith, Miller, Cael Krueger, Melique Jenkins and Brock Farley — to create a winning atmosphere. Barrett believes the Cyclones have enough talent. The big “if” is whether that talent, which has played

COURIER FILE PHOTO‌

Denver’s Brock Farley, left, and Trever Dorn, right, block Van Meter’s Ryan Boles during a Class 1A playoff game last November. Farley and Dorn return to anchor the Cyclones’ offensive line in 2018. supporting roles the past two seasons, is prepared to play a starring role. Gone from a season ago are a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Sam Joerger and Bo McMahon and seven starters

are gone from the defense. “Our depth is not near as good as it has been in the past,” Barrett said. “But we have a lot of guys coming in that maybe played as back-ups, saw some var-

sity time, but haven’t been starters. They are coming into a new role as starters and those guys have to get it done. We will have to see how we can transition.” While the Cyclones

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have to replace a bunch of skill players, Barrett feels confident that one place he won’t see a dropoff is along the offensive and defensive lines, despite the fact he lost three starters

on both sides. Two veterans are back. Farley, who has started on both sides of the line since he was a freshman, and junior Trevor Dorn are two good players to start with. “I really feel our offensive line and defensive line have come a long ways,” Barrett said. “In high school football those two positions are the most influential. If you can have a strong o-line and strong d-line, normally you can get everything else to come into sync with it.” Farley, a multi-sport standout who comes in at 6-foot-2, 270 pounds, is an important piece of the puzzle. “He is our guy up front,” Barrett added. “We are going to ride him a lot, because he has a lot of talent and is a very good football player.” Skill-wise, Krueger and Miller figure to play larger roles. A year ago, Krueger alternated at quarterback with Joerger, completing 21 of 41 passes for 190 yards and two scores. He also rushed the ball 30 times for 98 yards and two more scores. Miller, who stands 6-foot-3, saw his only catch go for 52 yards, while he chipped in 14 tackles defensively. “We just have to mesh a lot of these new guys in, get our timing down, play hard and see what happens,” said Barrett.


22 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

APLINGTON-PARKERSBURG FALCONS

A-P offense finding new wings Falcons expanding attack with Cuvelier at quarterback JIM NELSON

jim.nelson@wcfcourier.com‌

PARKERSBURG — It was a ‌ simple philosophy. For decades, Aplington-Parkersburg was able to mold individual players into one particular offensive scheme under legendary head coach Ed Thomas and his successor, Alex Pollock. A year ago, Pollock adapted. With 6-foot-5, 205-pound Carter Cuvelier running the offense, the Falcons strayed away from the option-based attack they used for decades to a more multiple scheme that took advantage of Cuvelier’s throwing ability. “We had been doing the same thing essentially for about 40 years,” Pollock said. “We determined it wasn’t the best for us at this point so we made those changes to go to a system that puts a little more on the quarterback.” The Falcons remained runheavy last year as Sam Thorn produced his second consecutive 1,000-yard season, rushing 314 times for 1,665 yards, as A-P ran the ball three out of four plays on the average. But Thorn’s gone, and Cuvelier and his 1,299 passing yards are back in 2018. So is an experienced line, a bulldozer of a running back in 6-foot-1, 215-pound Lincoln Johnson and a group of talented, yet untested receivers.

“He’s going to be a third-year starter,” Pollock said of Cuvelier. “He is starting to understand the nuances of being a quarterback in our system. He is one of the hardest workers we have, and typically that means good things for us. “We adapted our scheme to more of his skill set, and it puts us in better position that allows him to makes some decisions on the field that coaches can’t necessarily call from the sideline.” Cuvelier understands the expectations are high for him in 2018, especially with a team that returns nine starters and 20 letterwinners. “I need to make faster reads, make better decisions with the ball and not try to force anything,” he said. “I’ve watched a lot of film, talked a lot with coach Thomas, our offensive coordinator, and just have tried to be as prepared as I can be.” Pollock says as successful as the transition to a new scheme last year was while the Falcons soared to an 8-2 mark and a Class 2A playoff spot, he feels his squad is a step or two ahead of the game heading into this season. A lot of that has as much to do with the improvement of an offensive line led by Joe Schipper and Colby Merryweather as it does the return of Cuvelier. “It’s a matter of getting better at all the new things we implemented last year, show improvement and understanding with our system and just trying to be more consistent,” Pollock said. Building depth is another concern for Pollock, who feels he has eight guys who could play on both the offensive and defensive line. Pollock also knows it is rare for a

COURIER FILE PHOTO‌

Aplington-Parkersburg’s Carter Cuvelier sends a pass downfield during a game last season. team to go through an entire season without an injury or two. “We have to get some young guys squared away and get them ready to play,” Pollock said. Coming off a playoff season, the Falcons expect to be in the thick of the District 3 race, but they understand there are hurdles to clear. “We have a lot of guys back, but we also lost a lot of key guys,” Johnson said. “Moving on without them is going to be tough. We have people who can step up and fill those spots, but it will be JIM NELSON, COURIER SPORTS WRITER‌ a matter of time for them to get comfortable with what they have Lincoln Johnson, left, and Carter Cuvelier are two key weapons for the Aplington-Parkersburg football team heading into the 2018 season. to do.”

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 23

CLASS 1A, DISTRICT 3

COURIER FILE PHOTO‌

Denver’s Cael Krueger makes a tackle in a game against Nashua-Plainfield in 2016. Krueger is one of several key returners for the Cyclones heading into the 2018 season.

A-P looking like the team to beat in 1A-3 Denver plans to challenge Falcons in District 3

coaches in Class 1A, District 3 point to the Falcons as the team to beat this season. With strong-armed, 6-foot-5 quarterback Carter Cuvelier engineering A-P’s offense, the JIM NELSON expectations are high for the jim.nelson@wcfcourier.com‌ Falcons, but head coach Alex ‌Aplington-Parkersburg has an Pollock says his team still has a impressive winning tradition. lot to prove on the field. That’s one reason many “We have some good returning

players, and then we have some players who we believe have a lot of talent, but we’ve got to get them up to speed,” Pollock said. A-P returns 20 letterwinners, including four starters on the offensive linemen. “We are big, really big, so that is encouraging,” Pollock said. Please see CLASS 1A-3, Page S24

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

24 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

Class 1A-3 From S23

Despite graduating a large senior class, Denver figures to be in the mix as the Cyclones seek their third consecutive district title. Denver’s hopes start on the line where stalwarts Brock Farley and Trevor Dorn return, along with lettermen Que Jenkins, Logan Tierney and Mitchil Thuesen. “We have some things to shore up there, but I’m a big believer the o-line and d-line is what makes your team, and I feel good about that position,” Denver head coach Rhett Barrett said. Barrett says the district favorite has to be Aplington-Parkersburg, based on its rich tradition and what the Falcons have coming back. “There are some teams we haven’t seen,” Barrett said. “We haven’t played A-P for four or five years, and Osage, I think we played them when we were 2A six or seven years ago. We have seen Lake Mills, and we know a little bit about Sumner-Fredericksburg through junior varsity games.” Lake Mills will be led by returning quarterback Cael Boeh-

Players to watch PASSING „„ Carter Cuvelier, Apling-

ton-Parkersburg: 72-132-4, 1,299 yards, 12 TDs „„ Cael Boehmer, Lake Mills: 74148-6, 968 yards, 5 TDs RUSHING „„ Rhett Lammers, North But-

ler-Clarksville: 74-580, 7.8 „„ Tommy Kaktis, Lake Mills: 22avg., 7 TDs 374, 17.0 avg., 0 TDs „„ Zach Williams, Osage: 110-520, „„ Rhett Lammers, North But4.7 avg., 1 TD ler-Clarksville: 20-262, 13.1 avg., 1 TD „„ Kelby Olson, Sumner-Fredericksburg: 76-431, 5.7 avg., 3 TACKLES (solo-ast.-total) TDs „„ Maverick Schmitt, Lake Mills: RECEIVING 35-64-67, 3 TFLs

„„ Gage Belz, Osage: 47-25-59.5,

6.5 TFLs INTERCEPTIONS „„ Tommy Kaktis, Lake Mills: 5-8 PUNTING „„ Logan Prescott, Lake Mills: 46-

36.2 avg.

2018 schedule‌ Aug. 24 — Aplington-Parkersburg at New Hampton (ND), Clear Lake at Osage (ND), Dike-New Hartford at Denver (ND), Lake Mills at Mason City Newman (ND), North Butler at Nashua-Plainfield (ND), Sumner-Fredericksburg at Postville (ND). Aug. 31 — Aplington-Parkersburg at Dike-New Hartford (ND), Central Springs at North Butler (ND), Denver at Wapsie Valley (ND), Lake Mills at West Fork (ND),

Osage at Saint Ansgar (ND), South Win- North Union (ND), MFL MarMac at neshiek at Sumner-Fredericksburg (ND). Sumner-Fredericksburg (ND), North Butler at Belmond-Klemme (ND), North Sept. 7 — Algona Garrigan at Lake Mills Fayette Valley at Denver (ND), Osage at (ND), Dike-New Hartford at North But- Garner-Hayfield-Ventura (ND). ler (ND), Iowa Falls-Alden at Aplington Parkersburg (ND), Sumner-Fredericks- Sept. 21 — Denver at Osage, North burg at North Fayette Valley (ND), West Butler at Aplington-Parkersburg, Hancock at Osage (ND), West Marshall Sumner-Fredericksburg at Lake Mills. at Denver (ND). Sept. 28 — Aplington-Parkersburg at Sept. 14 — Aplington-Parkersburg Denver, Lake Mills at North Butler, Osage at West Marshall (ND), Lake Mills at at Sumner-Fredericksburg.

mer, who threw for 968 yards and five touchdowns last fall. One of his favorite receivers is back, too, as Tommy Kaktis caught 22 passes for 374 yards. Kaktis intercepted five passes defensively. Sumner-Fredericksburg has a pair of good running backs back

in Kelby Olson and Spencer Schmitz. That duo combined to carry the ball 124 times for 622 yards and eight scores in 2017. Cougars head coach Brad Mohs said his biggest concern heading into the season is depth up front on his offensive and defensive lines.

One of Osage’s top returners is running back-linebacker Zach Williams. Williams rushed for 520 yards last season. Green Devils coach Matt Finn says his team has a lot of good athletes at the skill positions, but he will put a young offensive line on the field.

Wright, ol-dl, Zach Williams, rb-lb, Gage Belz, rb-lb, Brett Babinet, db-qb, Noah Sutten, ol-dl.

„„ HEAD COACH: Alex Pollock „„ 2017 RECORDS: 8-2 overall, 5-1

Miller, wr-db, Brock Farley, ol-dl, Trevor Dorn, de-g, Cael Krueger, old-db-wr, Nathan Eggena, olb.

Oct. 5 — Aplington-Parkersburg at Lake Mills, Denver at Sumner-Fredericksburg North Butler at Osage. Oct. 12 — Denver at North Butler, Osage at Lake Mills, Sumner-Fredericksburg at Aplington-Parkersburg. Oct. 19 — Lake Mills at Denver, North Butler at Sumner-Fredericksburg, Osage at Aplington-Parkersburg.

North Butler’s program now includes Clarksville, and the Bearcats return nine starters from a year ago. Among them is Rhett Lammers, who averaged 7.8 yards per carry while racking up 580 rushing yards and finished with 262 receiving yards last season.

CAPSULES Lake Mills Bulldogs‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Bill Byrnes „„ 2017 RECORDS: 2-7 overall,

2-5, district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 17 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (9): Cael Boehmer, qb, Colby Groe, se, Logan Prescott, db-p, Maverick Schmitt, lb-fb, Elijah Wagner, lb-fb, Max Johnson, dl-ol, Dylan Renneker, ol-dl, Nate Orban, dl-ol, Blake Storby, wr.

Osage Green Devils‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Matt Finn „„ 2017 RECORDS: 4-5 overall,

4-3 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 8 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (6): Hayden Meek, wr-lb, Dalton

Sumner-Fredericksburg Cougars‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Brad Mohs „„ 2017 RECORDS: 4-5 overall,

4-3 district

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 8

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (8):

Spencer Schmitz, rb-db, Kelby Olsen, rb-lb, Carter Paulous, ol-dl, Tanner Hennejes, ol-dl, Wieland Steffen, ol-dl, Blayze Quigley, te-db, Tyler Converse, lb-rb, Cal Van Engelenburg, te-lb.

Aplington-Parkersburg Falcons‌

district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 20 North Butler/Clarksville‌ „„ RETURNING STARTERS (9): „„ HEAD COACH: Travis Miller Carter Cuvelier, qb, Lincoln „„ 2017 RECORDS: 3-6 overall, Johnson, rb-de, Joe Schipper, 1-6 district ol-dl, Colby Merryweather, ol-dl, Noah Oldenburger, ol-dl, Aaron Price, wr-db, Alec Maske, te-lb, Ben Ogle, lb, Isaac Capper, ol-dl.

Denver Cyclones‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Rhett Barrett „„ 2017 RECORDS: 9-2 overall,

7-0 district

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 10

„„ RETURNING STARTERS

(6): Connor Smith, te, Zack

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: NA

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (9):

Kane Allison, qb-db, Rhett Lammers, rb-db, Bryce Trees, rb-db, Beau Thompson, te-lb, Jaden Moore, ol-dl, Trevor Ungs, ol, Joey Mahlstedt, ol, Shawn Wietzenkamp, dl, CJ Niedert, lb.

GOOD LUCK ATHLETES & COACHES!

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

THURSDAY, AUGUST 23, 2018 |

25

CLASS 1A, DISTRICT 6

Regina, D-NH on collision course Wolverines, Regals expected to battle for title JIM NELSON

jim.nelson@wcfcourier.com

Embrace the challenge. That’s the mantra in Dike as the Dike-New Hartford football team began preparation for the 2018 football season. The Wolverines, with 10 starters back on offense and nine on defense and a drop from 2A to 1A, have many expecting a deep push into the state playoffs come November. The team that owned Class 1A, however, also resides in Class 1A, District 6 in Iowa City Regina, which has played in the last six 1A state championship games after winning back-to-back state titles at the 2A level. “Week nine (D-NH vs. Regina). Long way to go, but we are excited about the challenge,” said Clayton Wright, one of D-NH’s returning starting linemen. D-NH has not played Regina in a regular-season game since the Regals began their consecutive state championship appearance streak. The two have faced off in the playoffs twice, with Regina winning in the 1A semifinals in 2012 and 2015. “We feel we didn’t play very well in either of those games, Stay connected with everything that’s uniquely local.

“Wolverines head coach Don Betts said. “They played a big part in that. They’ve had a tremendous run the past eight, nine years and are the top dogs year-in, year-out.” The Regals lost several key pieces from their runner-up team last fall, but return talented wide receiver Alec Wick, who hauled in 29 balls for 347 yards and two scores last fall as a freshman. Regina also brings back quarterback Ashton Cook, who passed for 640 yards and four touchdowns in a back-up role, and wide receiver Patrick Clark, who caught 27 passes for 339 yards and two scores. Betts says North Linn and South Hardin are two teams to watch in district play, as well. “North Linn played a lot of young kids last year, and I think they will be better,” Betts said. “South Hardin, I think they have a good group back, as well.” South Hardin features dynamic running back Beau Butler, who rushed for 394 yards on 47 carries last fall as a freshman. Butler is one of nine starters and 18 letterwinners returning for the Tigers. Jesup has a new head coach in Tim Sauer, and Sauer returns some key skill people in running back Tristen Reyes and wide receivers Josh McGill and Derek Weitzenkamp. Please see CLASS 1A-6, Page 26

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Grant Bixby, one of nine returning starters on defense for Dike-New Hartford, makes a tackle against Independence last season.

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26 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Class 1A-6

CAPSULES

From 25

Dike-New Hartford Wolverines‌

Players to watch

„„ HEAD COACH: Don Betts „„ 2017 RECORDS: 6-4 overall,

PASSING

5-1 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

„„ Drew Sonnenberg, Dike-New

NERS: 22

Hartford: 64-110-9-757 yards, 5 TDs „„ Ashton Cook, Iowa City Regina: 46-73-3-640 yards, 4 TDs „„ Carter Johnson, North Linn: 43-71-5-511 yards, 4 TDs

„„ Cade Fuller, Dike-New Hart-

ford: 136-777-17 TDs „„ Beau Butler, South Hardin: 47-

394-2 TDs RECEIVING „„ Patrick Clark, Iowa City Re-

gina: 27-339, 12.6 avg., 2 TDs „„ Alec Wick, Iowa City Regina:

29-347, 12.0 avg., 2 TDs „„ Cade Fuller, Dike-New Hart-

ford: 23-303, 13.2 avg., 4 TDs 229, 10.9 avg., no TDs

COURIER FILE PHOTO

Dike-New Hartford’s Cade Fuller, one of 10 returning starters on offense, runs for a touchdown against Independence last fall. After rushing for 777 yards in 2017, Fuller is switching to wide receiver in 2018.

TACKLES (solo-ast.-total) „„ Noah Bandstra, East Marshall: 91-41-132 „„ Nick Milder, Iowa City Regina: „„ Nathan Graves, Dike-New 65-5-70 Hartford: 88 total, 18 TFLs

KICKING „„ Isaac Jorgensen, Dike-New Hartford: 23-33 PATs, 1-6 FGs

2018 schedule‌ Aug. 24 — Cedar Rapids Xavier at Iowa City Regina (ND), Dike-New Hartford at Denver (ND), Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont at East Marshall (ND), Hudson at Jesup (ND), North Linn at Starmont (ND), South Hardin at South Hamilton (ND).

North Linn Lynx‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Jared Collum „„ 2017 RECORDS: 5-4 overall,

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (16):

RUSHING

„„ Tyrell Todd, South Hardin: 21-

kamp, wr-db, Dylan Brown, wr-db, Cole Oberbroeckling, ol-dl, Brendon Seibert, dl, Keaton Roscovious, lb.

Dike-New Hartford at North Butler (ND), East Marshall at Waterloo Columbus (ND), Hampton-Dumont at South Hardin (ND), Jesup at MFL MarMac (ND), Pella Christian at Iowa City Regina (ND).

Sept. 28 — Dike-New Hartford at East Marshall, North Linn at Jesup, South Hardin at Iowa City Regina.

Oct. 5 — East Marshall at South Hardin, Iowa City Regina at North Linn, Jesup Sept. 14 — BCLUW at Jesup (ND), B-G-M at Dike-New Hartford. at East Marshall (ND), Iowa City Regina at Williamsburg (ND), North Linn at Oct. 12 — South Hardin at Dike-New Edgewood-Colesburg (ND), South Har- Hartford, East Marshall at North Linn, din at Eagle Grove (ND), Union Commu- Iowa City Regina at Jesup, South Hardin at Dike-New Hartford nity at Dike-New Hartford (ND).

Aug. 31 — Aplington-Parkersburg at Dike-New Hartford (ND), BCLUW at East Marshall (ND), Iowa City Regina at Anamosa (ND), Iowa Falls-Alden at South Hardin (ND), Jesup at Oelwein (ND), Oct. 19 — Dike-New Hartford at Maquoketa Valley at North Linn (ND), Sept. 21 — Dike-New Hartford at North Linn, East Marshall at Iowa City Regina, Iowa City Regina, Jesup at East Marshall,North Linn at South Hardin Sept. 7 — Alburnett at North Linn (ND), Jesup at South Hardin.

3-4 district Owen Goos, ol-dl, Daniel „„ RETURNING LETTERWINGraves, ol, Clayton Wright, NERS: NA ol, Colton Harberts, ol, Cade „„ RETURNING STARTERS (8): Fuller, wr-rb, Isaac Jorgensen, Carter Johnson, qb-db, Quinn k-wr, Ely Sohn, te-wr, Ryan Rechkemmer, fb-lb, Dylan BelMoore, wr-db, Drew Sonnenlach, ol-dl, Tristan Liebe, ol, berg, qb-db, Cade Bennett, rb, Nathan McEnany, ol-dl, Lucas Mason Dietrick, dl, Jake LandVoss, ol-dl, Brady Henderson, phair, lb, Grant Bixby, lb, Noah wr-db, Brennan Becker, lb, Epley, lb, Nathan Graves, lb, Iowa City Regina Regals‌ Parker Kiewiet, db. „„ HEAD COACH: Marv Cook East Marshall Mustangs‌ „„ 2017 RECORDS: 10-3 overall, „„ HEAD COACH: Matt Bandstra 7-0 district „„ 2017 RECORDS: 5-4 overall, „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN3-3 district NERS: NA „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN„„ RETURNING STARTERS (5): NERS: NA Patrick Clark, wr, Alec Wick, „„ RETURNING STARTERS (7): wr-db, Nick Milder, fb-lb, Luke Caden Stewart, ol, Ryley OverStein, ol-dl, Kieler Brown, db. ton, ol-dl, Chase Gratopp, ol, Noah Bandstra, rb-lb, Kamren South Hardin Tigers‌ Hoskins, wr-lb, Cole Nauman, „„ HEAD COACH: Nick Eller wr-rb-lb, Logan Noe-Bown, dl, „„ 2017 RECORDS: 1-8 overall, 0-6 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINJesup J-Hawks‌ NERS: 18 „„ HEAD COACH: Tim Sauer „„ RETURNING STARTERS (9): „„ 2017 RECORDS: 0-9 overall, Beau Butler, rb, Tyrell Todd, s, 0-7 district Colton Haley, cb, Tyler Miller, „„ RETURNING LETTERWINol, Braden Nelson, dt, Tanner NERS: NA Lawrence, lb, Braxton Mur„„ RETURNING STARTERS (7): phy, ol, Owen Fuller, fb. Tyler Josh McGill, rb-lb, Tristen Briggs, cb. Reyes, rb-lb. Derek Weitzen-

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 27

WHEN TO SAY WHEN

How much is too much in prep game? Depth is a key to giving top players a breather

within his players. “If they need a break, they better have their hand up because if we pull them out, they’re going to stay out longer,” Hadachek said. “We tell the kids if they’re tired, ‘Get your hand up.’” From a regulatory standpoint, Iowa High School Athletic Association football administrator Todd Tharp points out the unique positions and varied levels of play would make it difficult to enforce a hard rule similar to high school baseball’s pitch count rule. The association often studies the numbers of snaps within a game. “With some of the hurry-up and no-huddle offenses it still appears that the same number of snaps are occurring, roughly 150 to 170 plays are being run,” Tharp said. “That’s been pretty consistent over a few years. “Certainly we strive to emphasize to coaches and schools there’s opportunities for kids to play separately. Obviously a player that’s on the field and never comes off, there are more opportunities for fatigue or more potential for helmet to helmet contact.” Through coaching clinics, refined technique and better equipment, a greater emphasis has been placed on player safety within a sport that is looking for growth. “I think we’ve made the game safer than it’s ever been,” Hadachek said.

NICK PETAROS

nick.petaros@wcfcourier.com‌

‌Count Union’s Joe Hadachek among those who understand the importance of depth. The 12th-year head coach who has guided the Knights to 10 consecutive playoff appearances, including a championship in 2011 and a finals run in 2016, points to a strong two-deep as a key to making a title run. “If we can get the second guy in and not have a big dropoff that’s probably the difference between a championship team and not having a chance to fight for it,” Hadachek said. “If you’re a fourth-quarter team, you’ve got depth and are well-conditioned. “I think our kids are well-conditioned, but at the same time I think depth would probably override the well-conditioned team. Fresh legs are always going to win.” With numbers into the 70s, Union certainly has plenty of options for a Class 2A program. Hadachek estimates up to six or seven players will still play key roles on both sides of the football for his team. Smaller programs haven’t been as fortunate with a vast majority of players rarely leaving the field. Declining participation has impacted schools in Iowa’s largest class, as well. Waterloo West coach Lonnie Moore estimates six of the nine teams on his schedule will be relying heavily on two-way players, including the Wahawks. So how much is too much for a football player to handle? Often it depends on the individual athlete. Coaches stress conditioning and work to get a feel for what their players can handle

COURIER FILE PHOTO‌

Union’s Koby Alpers celebrates his touchdown in the first half of a 2017 Class 2A state semifinal football game in the UNI-Dome. Alpers was a key two-way contributor during the Knights’ successful season. prior to the first snap. “We look for that dedication to our offseason program,” Moore said. “Are they a multisport athlete and doing those types of things to get themselves ready? “The concerns we have with that (starters who don’t leave

the field) is injury, being tired and trying to play at a high level.” Communication within a coaching staff is key to making sure overly fatigued players aren’t left on the field. “Every coach has a different position so they keep an eye on their position along with every-

body else,” Moore said. “We always try to play as many kids as we can. Even though some kids do go both ways, we might have a kid sit out a series and get somebody else in there to give him a break.” Union’s Hadachek also stressed personal accountability

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

28 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

THE MEN BEHIND THE SCENES

Assistants are the unsung heroes It’s a vital role that’s all about a love for the game CRAIG SESKER

Sports Correspondent‌

‌It is a steamy late August in Northeast Iowa and the sidelines are buzzing with activity on the first Friday night of the high school football season. All four members of the coaching staff are wearing headsets. One assistant coach calls the offensive plays from field level. Another signals in the team’s defensive alignments. A third assistant occupies the press box, relaying what he sees from a different perspective to enable the team to make adjustments during the game. The head coach oversees it all from the center of the sidelines. He will make the most difficult decisions, like going for it on fourth down. And he will provide input on what plays to call in key situations. Those Friday nights are the culmination of long, grueling hours of practice spent not only by the players, but also by the unsung heroes of a high school football program: the assistant coaches. For around $3,000 a year, for the more experienced coaches, high school football assistants play significant roles in the success of a program. “The biggest thing our assistant coaches do is build relationships with the kids,” Waverly-Shell Rock coach Mark Hubbard said. “They make those personal connections. Without those relationships, it’s pretty difficult to be successful.” High school football is more than just a season that runs from the start of practice in early August to the state championship games at the UNI-Dome in

mid-November. At Class 3A power Waverly Shell-Rock, Hubbard has three paid assistants and six volunteer assistants on his staff. Hubbard coordinates the offense while veteran assistant coach Keith Halverson runs the defense. “We haven’t had much turnover and we’re very fortunate in that way,” said Hubbard, entering his 12th season with the GoHawks. “The nucleus of our staff has remained the same and that stability is very important to our success.” Halverson has been an assistant coach at Waverly-Shell Rock for the past 21 years. Two of his sons are on this year’s team. “The best part of being a coach is getting to know the kids on a much deeper level outside the classroom,” he said. “It’s all about the kids – providing support for them and teaching them lifelong skills so they can be successful. I try to make a difference in their lives.” Halverson’s experience and expertise enables him to serve as a liaison between the players and the head coach. “One of the benefits I have is I see the kids every day at school,” he said. “We’re together a lot. They know if they have a problem or need to talk to me that I am here for them. If they have an issue or a concern, I can go to Coach Hubbard for them. I am kind of the layer and the buffer between head coach and player at times.” At Class A power East Buchanan, head coach Jerry Alden understands the importance of having quality assistant coaches. A long-time assistant with the Buccaneers, Alden is starting his fifth year as the program’s head coach. He has led his team to playoff appearances the past three seasons. And he’s done it without any turnover on his staff.

MATTHEW PUTNEY, COURIER PHOTO EDITOR‌

Waverly-Shell Rock assistant coach Keith Halverson is pictured at a Go-Hawks practice Aug. 10 in Waverly. Justin Shaffer is the team’s offensive coordinator and playcaller. He also is the program’s weight room coordinator. Nathan Reck serves as defensive coordinator. He also serves as the school’s head girls’ basketball coach. “Coach Reck and Coach Shaffer are former East Buchanan players and they bleed Buccaneer colors – they want nothing more than for our current players to have the same success they

had when they played,” Alden said. “All of my assistants are young and very competitive, and bring that energy on and off the field each day. They’ve helped bring that winning culture back here.” The assistant coaches are paid for their work during the football season in the fall. But their time commitment extends way beyond that. Please see ASSISTANTS, Page S29

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 29

PLAYOFF QUALIFYING

IHSAA tweaks playoff qualifying BOONE — The Iowa High ‌ School Athletic Association’s Board of Control approved changes to football playoff qualifying during its monthly meeting Wednesday. Teams will also be allowed to play out-of-state border opponents beginning in 2018 and classifications and new districts for the next two years were approved at the meeting. The number of regular-season games and playoff teams per class will remain unchanged despite a recommendation from the Iowa Football Coaches Association and playoff advisory committee to return to a 32team postseason field in classes 3A, 2A, 1A, A and 8-player and 24 teams in Class 4A. “Player safety is the number one priority, and we are also committed to playing early round postseason games on Friday nights,” said IHSAA executive director Alen Beste. “Keeping 16 qualifiers per class allows for maximum recovery time between games and maintains high school’s Friday night tradition.”

Assistants From S28

Coaches also attend camps and clinics, in addition to supervising 6 a.m. weight room sessions for athletes during the offseason. “We don’t do it for the money,” Shaffer said. “I played here, so I’m very passionate about this program and wanting to see it excel. I’m super competitive, and coaching gives me another outlet for that. There is an adrenaline rush that goes

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

MATTHEW PUTNEY, COURIER PHOTO EDITOR‌

Don Bosco players celebrate their victory over St. Mary’s in the 8-player Gladbrook-Reinbeck celebrates its win over Bishop Garrigan for the Class state football championship game at the UNI-Dome last season. A Iowa high school state championship at the UNI-Dome last season. Under the new format for playoff qualifying, only the district champion or teams tying for a district championship receive automatic qualification. All nine regular-season games will count toward qualification, and the 17-point district tiebreaker will be eliminated. Remaining at-large qualifiers will be determined by a Ratings Percentage Index formula that uses win-loss percentage (37.5

percent), opponents’ win-loss percentage (37.5 percent) and the win-loss percentage of the opponents’ opponents (25 percent). Classification differences between non-district opponents do not affect the RPI. “Our goal is to have the best 16 teams in each class qualify for the playoffs,” said Beste. “We believe we get closer to that goal by having only district champions as automatic qualifiers and

the remainder of the qualifiers determined by their success and the success of their opponents and other successful teams.” Revised districts allow all classes to add non-district contests and reduce district travel. Class 4A will include 42 teams in seven six-team districts with four non-district games per team. Classes 3A, 2A and 1A feature 54 teams in nine six-team districts

with four non-district games. Class A is made up of 62 teams. Eight districts will have six teams and four non-district games, while two districts will have seven teams and three non-district games. In 8-player, which includes 65 teams, there will be seven districts with eight teams and two non-district games and one nine-team district with one non-district game.

with seeing our kids reach their goals. That’s really rewarding as a coach.” Chad Lamker coaches the defensive linemen and works with the wide receivers and running backs at East Buchanan. He’s also the school’s boys’ basketball coach. “Having that continuity on our coaching staff is important,” Lamker said. “We know what each other is going to do and what to expect. The kids know us well and they have that comfort level with us.” East Buchanan had three dif-

ferent head coaches in three seasons before Alden brought stability back to the position. “Jerry put together a group of assistants that have a lot of head coaching experience other than football,” Reck said. “We have great rapport – we’re always bouncing ideas off each other. Being a football coach, it’s nonstop. We put in a lot of time, but it’s nice to see our program back to where it was.” At returning Class A state runner-up Hudson, head coach Justin Brekke has four paid assistants to work with his

38-player roster. “The biggest thing our assistant coaches do is show the kids that they care,” he said. “When you build those relationships, you have trust and mutual respect. That translates to the field where the kids trust and believe in what you are asking them to do.” Having a large number of coaches is important at a bigger school like Waverly-Shell Rock. “It really helps get kids more repetitions and more attention,” Hubbard said. Hubbard said another aspect

of what his assistant coaches do can’t be overlooked. “Most of these coaches are leaving wives and kids at home to help shape the next generation,” he said. “None of us could do it without the support from our families.” Hubbard said his assistants do much more than teach kids how to block and tackle. “We all love to win on Fridays, and that’s fun,” he said. “That’s not the goal. Our goal is to develop productive members of society. We want these young men to be successful in life.”


30 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

MAKING THE LEAP

Youth serving varsity squads Freshmen, sophs moving up isn’t as rare these days JIM NELSON

jim.nelson@wcfcourier.com‌

T im Dwight is considered ‌ one of the greatest high school football players to ever play in the state of Iowa. During his time at Iowa City High, Dwight rushed for 4,230 yards and 83 touchdowns. One of those touchdowns came on his very first varsity carry, in the playoffs, as a freshman. Former Iowa City West coach Reece Morgan described the future University of Iowa and NFL star as “a man playing against boys,” back in those days. But as good as Dwight was, he still did not play on the varsity until after playing nine games on the Little Hawks’ sophomore team. Playing as a freshman in 1991 was certainly a novelty during a time when it was also rare to see a sophomore play at that level. Times have changed, especially with football participation numbers on the decline. According to a March Reuters report, there was a decline in football participation from its peak in 2008 of 1.11 million athletes to 1.06 last fall. Lower numbers at schools of all sizes have forced Iowa prep coaches to make tough decisions on whether to use younger players at the varsity level. Waterloo West coach Lonnie Moore, now in his 10th season, has played two freshmen in his time coaching the Wahawks, including 2018 seniior Noah Susong. Moore says a lot of consideration goes into bringing up a freshman. “A lot of things come into play,” said Moore, who also estimates he hasn’t played more than a dozen or so sophomores

COURIER FILE PHOTO‌

Waterloo West senior Noah Susong, at left, will be a rare four-year letterwinner for the Wahawks in 2018. In West head coach Lonnie Moore’s 10 seasons, Susong was just the second freshman to play on the varsity. on the varsity. “You look at each kid and ask are they physically capable and mentally mature enough to play at the varsity level. That is a very rare individual.” Before pulling a kid up to the varsity, Moore says he and his

staff have a long and serious conversation with that athlete’s parents. Additionally, many times Moore will have already had that athlete practice a bit with the varsity before making the decision to call him up. “It is our philosophy that we

are not going to bring a kid up unless they are going to play,” Moore said. “Another part of that is we try not to have those kids go both ways, either.” At Waterloo East and Waterloo Columbus, low numbers have forced the Trojans and

Sailors to forfeit games rather than risk using players not ready for varsity football. Numbers are on the rise for Xavier Leonard at East, although the Trojans were forced to start upward of eight sophomores a year ago. At Columbus, a 2A school, Brad Schmit has 10 players on his 2018 roster that lettered as either freshmen or sophomores in 2017. “Our numbers are much, much better this year,” said Leonard, whose team is dropping from Class 4A to 3A this season. “We have more than 75 from freshman to varsity. We won’t be forced into having to play so many young kids again this season.” For some programs, such as Class 1A and 2A schools, freshmen and sophomores are pushed into playing because of numbers. Dike-New Hartford, a likely Top 10 Class 1A team this year, had seven sophomores and one freshman on a team that advanced to the Class 2A playoffs a year ago. “It goes both ways,” Wolverines coach Don Betts said. “Sometimes the kid is physically and mentally ready, but sometimes your hand is forced and that has been the case more times than not with us. We just have to throw them into the fire and it is sink or swim.” With that said, Betts says it is selective process and while an underclassmen may be asked to play, it is a closely monitored situation. “There is an emotional component to it,” Betts said. “Just because they may be physically ready doesn’t mean they are completely there mentally. Is the individual ready for the speed of the game, the physicality of a varsity game? It’s a big jump from the freshman, JV level and that takes a little longer for some kids to adjust to than others.”


2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW



Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 31

THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS

Prep football a big investment Coaches, equipment, maintenance add up quickly CRAIG SESKER

Sports Correspondent‌

‌High school football is serious business in Northeast Iowa. There is no shortage of programs, big and small, with storied traditions and rich histories. And every team’s goal from the start of practice in the sweltering August heat is to earn a trip to play for a state title at the UNI-Dome. None of that would be possible without a significant financial commitment from the schools and communities that support their programs. Before the kids even step on the practice field, funding needs to be in place to ensure they are properly equipped to play. “Football is a sport that requires expensive individual equipment in order to keep the players as safe as possible,” said athletic director Tom Ulses of Class 2A Waterloo Columbus. “That equipment also needs to be inspected yearly in order to make sure it is safe. To buy a football helmet, for example, a school is probably spending between $250 and $450 per new helmet. At the end of each season, the helmets need to be inspected in order to determine whether they need to be reconditioned for next year. “Helmets need to be reconditioned every three years and the lifespan of a helmet is 10 years. Reconditioning of a helmet costs between $35 and a $100 apiece. This is in addition to money spent on shoulder pads, practice pants and game uniforms.” At Class 3A Independence, athletic director and football coach Justin Putz said his school’s annual equipment

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

Members of the Waterloo Columbus football team work on blocking drills in preparation for the 2018 season. budget totals up to $16,000. The costs would increase even more in a year the team buys new uniforms. “Our equipment needs are changing yearly and the occasional new big equipment purchases in football are expensive,” Putz said. “The new scouting software, end-zone cameras and iPads have really added more technology expenses to programs than there were 5-10 years ago.” Football equipment costs for each player at the prep level include: Helmet: $250-450 Shoulder pads: $140-180 Jerseys: $120-160 Pants: $60-80 Smaller pads: $25-35 Belt: $8-10 Mouth guard: $2-10 Socks and shoes: Players will often provide their own. The expense of having a football program obviously varies depending on size of the

school. At Class 3A power Waverly-Shell Rock, a total of 90 students in grades 9-12 are out for football this season. Returning Class A state runner-up Hudson opened preseason camp with a roster of 38 players. So how do schools come up with the money to field a football program? “The school’s income from hosting football games usually is enough to cover our expenses,” Waverly-Shell Rock athletic director Dave Litterer said. “Typically, the income will also help cover expenses for other sports who do not make enough or do not have much income. Larger schools usually would have larger gates. “If you go into the playoffs, you would have a chance of hosting games and gaining additional revenue.” Teams typically host four or five home football games per year.

“We try to figure revenue of $4,000 to $6,000 per home game,” Litterer said. “However, if weather becomes an issue, this can drop closer to $3,000. Certainly, the bigger the game, typically the larger the gates.” Aside from equipment, there are other significant expenses for football, as well. At Independence, Putz said salaries for 10 football coaches from seventh grade through 12th grade totals around $25,000. The program also pays for athletic training fees. “For many schools, their amount spent on coaching salaries with football is probably the highest for all of their sports,” Ulses said. “Due to the nature of how football is coached and the need for adequate supervision as the game is being played, there are usually more football coaches on staff than with other sports.” At Waverly-Shell Rock, Litterer said maintenance for its playing field costs $10,000 to $12,000 per year. That includes paint, fertilizer, mowing and watering. Travel costs are fairly minimal for football with a team making around 10 road trips a season by bus between varsity and junior varsity games. Schools also pay the officials who work their home games. Total cost is $450 to $500 per

game for a five-person officiating crew. School officials agree there may not be a huge correlation between how much a school spends for equipment and the level of success its team has. “With your money available, you do need to make sure that your players are safe in good equipment that will help players and parents feel safe,” Ulses said. “A school may or may not be spending a lot of money on coaches, but who they have leading their program will ultimately drive the player buy-in and commitment, which will then create other opportunities to achieve success.” Having a winning program can help generate more interest when fundraisers are held or when a booster club seeks support to benefit the team. “I see it all the time where successful programs year in and year out have a lot of support,” Putz said. “That support helps, but that support is also built over time by the successful program.” Litterer strongly believes the overall investment made into the football program is more than worth it at Waverly-Shell Rock. “The correlation with school activities and academic achievement,” he said, “go hand-inhand to provide the best overall education one can have.”

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

32 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

WAPSIE VALLEY WARRIORS

Wapsie has unfinished business Kleitsch ready to lead Warriors’ bid for trip to UNI-Dome CRAIG SESKER

Sports Correspondent‌

‌FAIRBANK — It wasn’t the finish Bryce Kleitsch and his Wapsie Valley football teammates had envisioned. Unbeaten, ranked fourth in the state and playing at home, the Warriors were ready to make a march toward earning a late-season trip to the UNIDome. But Wapsie Valley drew a tough first-round assignment and fell 14-0 to twotime defending state champion Gladbrook-Reinbeck in the 2017 Class A playoffs. The 6-foot-2, 270-pound Kleitsch, a returning starter at offensive and defensive tackle, is ready for another opportunity as he begins his senior season. “We will have some new guys in our lineup, but we have the guys to do it,” Kleitsch said. “It’s just a matter of going out and performing. We hope to make another strong run and make it to the UNI-Dome. Hopefully, we can go out on a good note in my last year. We’re excited to see what we can do.” Wapsie Valley coach Tony Foster appreciates what Kleitsch has done during his career. “Bryce is first of all a really nice young man with great character,” Foster said. “He has overcome a sophomore knee injury and subsequent surgery to become a very good twoway tackle. He has been hearing from Northwest Missouri State among other colleges. He’s done a good job for us.” Kleitsch suffered a meniscus tear in his knee late in his sophomore season.

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

Senior lineman Bryce Kleitsch hopes to lead Wapsie Valley’s football team to a deep playoff run this season. He rebounded last year and was part of a veteran Warriors team that finished the regular season without a loss. Kleitsch earned second-team all-district honors during his junior season. “It was a lot of fun,” Kleitsch

said. “We had a great group of players. We had an experienced group of guys that knew what it took to be successful. It was an enjoyable season.” Kleitsch is the only returning lineman on his team with starting experience from last season.

“I was the youngest guy last year and I was learning from the older guys. I was learning the ropes,” he said. “Now I am in a different role as a senior and having the most experience. I have to be a leader for these younger guys and help them de-

velop. The guys on our line have been working real hard all summer. They have really grown and progressed. We have some good young talent.” Kleitsch said he is confident the newcomers can deliver this fall. “We have a very young team, but we have some good talent coming up,” he said. “Those guys have had some good success in football at the younger levels and I feel like they will do well on the varsity.” Kleitsch has received his share of recruiting interest, including schools at the NCAA Division II level. “I’m hoping to play at the next level and find a school that would be a good fit for me,” he said. “I’ve been contacted by a few schools and I’m looking forward to having an opportunity to play in college. I will take some time and see what happens.” Kleitsch and the Warriors have a challenging schedule that includes matchups against returning Class A state runner-up Hudson and playoff qualifier East Buchanan. “We’re in a pretty tough district,” Kleitsch said. “We know East Buchanan and Hudson will have good teams. We will see some new teams in our district this year, so we will have to be ready for everybody we face.” Kleitsch said he has enjoyed being part of a highly successful football program. “It’s been really great playing for Wapsie Valley,” he said. “You not only have the school support, but the entire community really provides a lot of support for the team as well. “Coach Foster is a really good coach. He’s very knowledgeable. He always has us prepared to play and puts us in the right positions to be successful. We have a great coaching staff and we have a good tradition going. We hope to keep it going.”


2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW



Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 33

EAST BUCHANAN BUCCANEERS

Fox, East Buchanan on the prowl All-state lineman headlines strong senior class CRAIG SESKER

Sports Correspondent‌

‌WINTHROP — When college football recruiters check out Taylor Fox’s highlight video, they will see much of what you might expect from a dominating lineman. You see the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Fox overpowering defenders with punishing pancake blocks. And you see him steamroll overmatched offensive linemen on his way to sacking the quarterback. Then you see something you don’t expect. The massive Fox lines up several yards behind center on fourth down before delivering a booming punt that flies over the head of the return man. “Taylor’s a big, strong kid, but he’s also very athletic,” East Buchanan coach Jerry Alden said. “He’s an intriguing prospect for colleges. He’s very versatile. He plays inside on the line, but he can also move out and play defensive end. Plus, he’s a very good punter – he led our district in punting last year. He can play some different positions.” That’s why Fox, a senior for East Buchanan, has already grabbed the interest of college recruiters. Fox has scholarship offers from Wayne State (Neb.) and the University of Sioux Falls, a pair of NCAA Division II schools. He is an excellent student with a 3.5 grade-point average. “I’m being recruited for the offensive line and defensive line – I feel like I can play either position at that level,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun to talk with coaches from different schools. I am going to take my time and see what is the best fit for me. I’m excited to

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

Taylor Fox is back to lead East Buchanan’s bid for a return to the playoffs. have a chance to play at the college level.” Fox is part of an experienced East Buchanan team that went 8-2 last season before falling to St. Ansgar in the first round of the Class A state playoffs. Fox is one of four offensive linemen who return for the Buccaneers, who are seeking their fourth straight trip to the playoffs. Fox earned first-team all-state honors at offensive tackle as a junior. “We have a lot of guys return-

ing,” he said. “We are really excited to see what we can do. Our senior class, we’ve been playing together since third grade. It’s a pretty special group. Those guys are like my brothers. We’re pretty close.” Fox’s versatility has been on full display during a high school career where he earned a win over a returning state champion in wrestling before he excelled while running the hurdles in track. Fox’s father, Dan, is the superintendent at East Buchanan and his mother, Marcy, also works at

the school. “My dad was my coach in flag football and now he is coaching my brother in youth football, so he’s had a pretty big impact on me,” Taylor said. “My parents have been really supportive of me – they’ve been awesome.” So what has been the key to Fox’s success? “His work ethic and being receptive to coaching,” Alden said. “He’s worked really hard in the weight room and sets a great example for his teammates. His leadership has been really im-

portant for us. He was a captain last year and that says a lot about his character. He’s the only junior I’ve ever had as a captain. He’s just a great kid – very down-toearth and very respectful.” Fox has continued a strong tradition of football at a school that has produced its share of standout players, including former Iowa Hawkeye All-American and long-time NFL lineman Robert Gallery. “We have team dinners on Please see EAST BUCHANAN, Page S35


34 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

CLASS A, DISTRICT 7

New District 7 is a gauntlet Players to watch PASSING

„„ Jacob Murray, Hudson: 79-150-7, 1,408 yards, 15 TDs „„ Skyler Staker, North Tama: 60-117-4-2, 901 yards „„ Tanner Sauerbrei, Wapsie Valley: 54-111-7, 844 yards,

7 TDs

RUSHING „„ Christian Seres, Hudson: 289-1,947, 6.7 avg. 29 TDs „„ Caleb Kuiper, Grundy Center: 220-1,465, 6.7 avg. 11 TDs RECEIVING „„ Josh Fitzgerald, Newman: 29-618, 21.3 avg. 10 TDs „„ Jack Garber, BCLUW:25-484, 19.4 avg. 4 TDs „„ Alec Staebell, Hudson: 16-379, 23.7 avg. 3 TDs TACKLES (solo-ast.-total)

„„ Harrison Dehning, Postville: 34-17-51

INTERCEPTIONS

„„ Harrison Dehning, Postville: 5-39 yards

KICKING

„„ Cole Hendricks, Grundy Center: 25-32 PATs

PUNTING

„„ Isaac Buzynski, Wapsie Valley: 9 punts, 41.7 avg.

2018 schedule‌ Aug. 24 – BCLUW at Colfax-Mingo (ND), Belle Plaine at Grundy Center (ND), East Buchanan at Maquoketa Valley (ND), Grand View Christian at GMG (ND), Hudson at Jesup (ND), North Tama at North Mahaska (ND), Wapsie Valley at Clayton Ridge (ND). Aug. 31 – BCLUW at East Marshall (ND), Clayton Ridge at East Buchanan (ND), Denver at Wapsie Valley (ND), GMG at Columbus Community (ND), Grundy Center at South Hamilton (ND), Hudson at Waterloo Columbus (ND), Lisbon at North Tama (ND). Sept. 7 – Edgewood-Colesburg at East Buchanan (ND), GMG at Hudson, Grundy Center at BCLUW, North Tama at Wapsie Valley. Sept. 14 – BCLUW at Jesup (ND), East Buchanan at Grundy Center, Hudson at North Tama, Wapsie Valley at GMG. Sept. 21 – BCLUW at Hudson, Grundy Center at GMG, North Tama at East Buchanan, South Winneshiek at Wapsie Valley (ND). Sept. 28 – GMG at East Buchanan, Grundy Center at North Tama, Saint Ansgar at Hudson (ND), Wapsie Valley at BCLUW. Oct. 5 – East Buchanan at BCLUW, Hudson at Wapsie Valley, Mason City Newman at Grundy Center (ND), North Tama at GMG. Oct. 12 – BCLUW at GMG, East Buchanan at Wapsie Valley, Grundy Center at Hudson, Postville at North Tama (ND). Oct. 19 – GMG at Starmont (ND), Hudson at East Buchanan, North Tama at BCLUW, Wapsie Valley at Grundy Center.

Hudson, Wapsie, East Buchanan, Grundy lead way DOUG JOHNSON

doug.johnson@wcfcourier.com‌

‌District 7 may be the most competitive Class A district in the state this season. Playoff games are nothing new for the seven teams that have been grouped together as they have a total of 97 playoff appearances and 13 titles. Six of the seven teams have earned at least one championship trophy. Leading the group is Wapsie Valley with 29 appearances and six championships. Hudson and East Buchanan both have 17 trips to the playoffs, including 2017. “This is going to be a tough battle for the top spot (in the district),” said Hudson coach Justin Brekke. “Whichever team gets it will truly have to earn it.” Added East Buchanan coach Jerry Alden, “This could be one of the toughest A districts in the state as we have (state) runner-up Hudson as well as traditionally strong Grundy Center and throw in Wapsie Valley, who has been as strong as anyone in the past.” The schedule indicates that the battle for the top spot could boil down to the last two of weeks of the season. Week eight games include East Buchanan at Wapsie Valley while Hudson hosts Grundy Center. The Pirates finish district play at East Buchanan and Wapsie closes the regular season at Grundy Center. With 17 letterwinners including eight starters, Hudson will have a strong nucleus returning. Brekke will be relying on returning quarterback Jacob Murray, who completed 79 passes for 1,408 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. Running back senior Christian Seres rushed for 1,947

COURIER FILE PHOTO‌

Wapsie Valley quarterback Tanner Sauerbrei, right, sends a ball downfield during last season’s battle with East Buchanan. yards (second-best in class A) and scored 29 touchdowns and receiver Alex Staebell gained 379 yards on 16 pass receptions. “Right now we have heavy competition for the five starting offensive line jobs,” said Brekke. “I am looking for leadership on the field. We bring back a lot of skill kids.” Defensively, he must find replacements for six of the top seven tacklers and the Pirates lost reliable Please see CLASS A7, Page S35

715 Main St. Plainfield IA, 50666 www.butler-bremer.com 319-276-4458 Good Luck Panthers!




Class A7 From S34

placekicker Wes Geisler (eight field goals, 49 PATs). Tony Foster must replace 14 seniors at Wapsie Valley and has just five starters back. Tanner Sauerbrei is one of the veterans. The senior completed 54 of 111 passes for 844 yards and rushed for 267 yards on 56 carries a year ago. Last year, Wapsie Valley claimed its district title by virtue of a 14-13 overtime win over East Buchanan. The Bucs are hoping to avenge that loss. East Buchanan has two returnees ready to step in and carry the ball in seniors Brock Naber and Nolan Meyer, who combined for 917 yards last season, but will be breaking in a new quarterback. Replacing hard-nose defenders is a problem nearly every team in the district faces and is also the case the for the Bucs as five the team’s top tackle leaders graduated. Nobody will be taking Grundy Center lightly, either. Spartan Coach Brent Thoren returns nine letterwinners, including Caleb Kuiper, who had 220 carries

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW for 1,465 rushing yards (sixth in Class A) and scored 11 touchdowns. Grundy will have a new quarterback, while Thoren is looking for players to fill the void left by the graduation of last year’s top six tacklers. The offensive line lost four all-district performers from last season. At North Tama, Tom McDermott is back as head coach. He led the Redhawks from 1973-87 and served three different stints as an assistant. “As they had not found anyone to their liking, I decided to come back and give it a try,” said McDermott. “We have experience, including a good group of seniors, good numbers, and depth.” North Tama has the smallest enrollment in 11-man football, but still lists 40 players on the roster. This year’s Redhawks return 18 letterwinners with 12 who started at one time or another. Leading the offense will be junior Skyler Staker, (60 of 117 for 901 yards passing) and senior Hale Hulme (40 of 68 for 580 yards). Returning receivers accounted for 43 receptions and all but 229 of 1,487 passing yards. Five of the top six running backs also return, as do the five leading tacklers from a year ago.

Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 35

CAPSULES BCLUW Comets‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Anthony Jahr „„ 2017 RECORDS: 3-6 overall,

2-5 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 7 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (5): Jack Garber wr-db, Coby Willett qb-wr-db, Noah Lehman ol-dl, Noah Cross ol-dl, Daniel Garber ol-dl.

NERS: NA „„ RETURNING STARTERS (11):

Brock Baldazo rb-lb, Blaze Krull rb-lb, Brayden Petersen wr, Connor Casto ol-dl, Kolton Gill se-cb, Isaac Neel te-lb, Adam Cox qb-cb, Carson Wobeter rb-fs, Zach Zielstorf ol-dl, Andrew Collins ol-dl, Conner Murty ol-dl

Grundy Center Spartans‌

East Buchanan Buccaneers‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Brent Thoren „„ 2017 RECORDS: 5-4 overall,

„„ HEAD COACH: Jerry Alden „„ 2017 RECORDS: 8-2 overall,

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

6-1 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 15 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (8): Taylor Fox ot-dt, Riley Reck og-dt, James Mossman fb-lb, Nolan Meyer qb-lb, Brock Naber rb-lb, Nate Schmitt e-lb, Juan Castillo ol-dl, Luke Recker ol-dl.

GMG Wolverines‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Adam Anthony „„ 2017 RECORDS: 0-9 overall,

0-7 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

East Buchanan

4-3 district NERS: 13 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (4):

Tanner Appel te, Caleb Kuiper rb, Matthew Sternhagen ol, Austin Knack rb.

Hudson Pirates‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Justin Brekke „„ 2017 RECORDS: 12-1 overall,

7-0 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 17 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (8); Jacob Murray qb, Christian Seres rb-db, Alec Staebell sl-db, Trey Johsumsen db,

Aiden Larson ol-lb, Caleb Koelling dl, Ethan Fulcher wr-lb, Izik Rodriguez db-wr

North Tama Redhawks‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Tom McDermott „„ 2017 RECORDS: 3-6 overall,

2-5 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 18 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (12):

Hale Hulme b-db, Tyler Morrison b-lb, Noah Bond wr-b-lb-dl, Skylar Staker qb/b/lb, Corey Isenhower ol-dl/lb, Zach Greiner wr-b-lb, Luke Pennell wr-lb, Tate Payne wr-db, Chase Morrison ol-dl, Ryan McLean ol-dl, Zade Pohasky ol-dl, Xander Bradley ol-dl.

Wapsie Valley Warriors‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Tony Foster „„ 2017 RECORDS: 9-1 overall,

7-0 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 5 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (5):

Tanner Sauerbrei qb-de, Isaac Buzynski te-de, Bryce Kleitsch ol-dt, Conner Franzen db-wr, Kaleb Krall dl.

Discover Richelieu Proud Supporters of Grundy Center Spartans Football Team!

From S33

Thursdays, and Robert come to one of our dinners and talked to us and gave us a pep talk,” Fox said. “It was a good time. He talked about when he played in high school and shared some of his experiences with us. It was pretty cool – it was awesome having a chance to meet him and talk with him.” Fox and his East Buchanan team are in a loaded Class A district that includes returning state runner-up Hudson along with perennial power Wapsie Valley and Grundy Center. “We have a pretty tough district, but I have a lot of faith in COURIER FILE PHOTO‌ my teammates and our team,” Fox said. “We’re looking forward East Buchanan’s Taylor Fox punts the ball during a 2017 game against to the challenge.” Wapsie Valley.

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36 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

HUDSON PIRATES

O-line overhaul key for Hudson Pirates return key playmakers from state runner-up team CRAIG SESKER

Sports Correspondent‌

‌HUDSON — Jacob Murray has seen a little bit of everything in two seasons as a starting quarterback. He’s guided his team to 20 wins. And he’s led the Hudson Pirates to a berth in the state championship game. But when Murray steps up to the line of scrimmage for the first play of his senior season, he will see something different. An entirely new offensive line. Hudson graduated all five-starters from a group led by all-state selection Matt Seres, who is now playing for Iowa State University. “I’m really excited for this season,” said Murray, who passed for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns last year. “It was amazing having that opportunity to play for a state title last year. Even though we lost some guys, we still feel like we can build off last year and make another run. We know what it takes to get there now.” Murray, a four-sport athlete, stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 180 pounds. The senior excels as a pitcher in baseball and led Hudson to the 2017 state tournament. “Jacob obviously knows how to win and he’s had some big

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Hudson standouts Christian Seres, Ethan Fulcher and Jacob Murray return to lead the Pirates in 2018 after a trip to last year’s state title game. games for us,” Hudson head football coach Justin Brekke said. “He’s a very good passer. He can read coverages and recognize what the defense is doing. He brings a lot of experience and leadership to the team.” Murray has also benefited from being protected by a topnotch offensive line. He’s only been sacked four times in the last two seasons. Even with the losses up front, Hudson does return a handful of starters on each side of the ball and the new starters on the offensive line have some playing experience. Hudson also features standout returning players in senior running back Christian Seres and junior linebacker Ethan Fulcher. Seres, the younger brother of

Matt Seres, has drawn recruiting interest from a number of NCAA Division II schools. Christian was a first-team all-state selection as a junior. “We’ve talked about getting back to the UNI-Dome again, but we just need to take it stepby-step,” Seres said. “It’s going to be a challenge with a new offensive line. None of them have a lot of experience, but they have the right mentality. We had a really good off-season with lifting and conditioning. “I think some people are doubting us because we lost our entire line, but I think we can push through and overcome that and do very well.” The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Seres, who scored a touchdown in the state championship game,

is the type of player that coaches love. “Christian has an incredible work ethic,” Brekke said. “He’s 100 percent dedicated to the sport. He went to five or six different camps this summer. He’s a weight room junkie – he’s one of the strongest kids on our team.” Murray admires the passion Seres brings to the team. “Christian is a tremendous football player,” Murray said. “He just gets things done – he loves football.” Fulcher provides plenty of versatility. He placed fifth at the state wrestling tournament at 160 pounds and ran track for the team that finished second at state. “We have built a winning cul-

ture at Hudson and we’ve been successful in a lot of different sports,” he said. “We know what it takes and how hard you have to work to win. It was fun to see our hard work pay off last year in football. It was a goal we all had in mind. It pushes us to want to get back there. We all want to get back to the Dome.” Fulcher has been a starter for the Pirates since he was a freshman. “Ethan is extremely strong and he’s dedicated to the weight room,” Brekke said. “He’s just a natural leader and he’s really embraced that leadership role.” Murray appreciates what Fulcher brings to the team, too. “Ethan is athletic and tenacious, especially on defense,” Murray said. “He attacks the ball.” Fulcher said the return of Murray and Seres will provide Hudson with a significant boost. “Jacob and Christian, they’re just great guys to have on your team,” Fulcher said. “They are great leaders who will pick you up if you are down. They can make a play that can boost everyone’s confidence. We’re all looking forward to seeing what we can do this season.” Even with all of the team’s success in 2017, Hudson players still remember the sting of a 3514 setback to top-ranked West Sioux in the Class A state finals. “I think everybody is motivated for an opportunity to get back there again,” Murray said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge and we’re ready to get out there and play. We worked hard in the off-season – we’re ready to get started.”




2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 37

CLASS A, DISTRICT 4

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

A pair of St. Ansgar defenders knock the ball loose from Hudson’s Al Hageman during last season’s Class A state football semifinals in the UNI-Dome.

Saints expected to We’re Proud of You! march again in 2018 GOOD LUCK trict 4 for the 2018 season begins with St. Ansgar. The Saints return seven starters among 18 letterwinners from a district championship team that reached the state DOUG JOHNSON playoff semifinals. doug.johnson@wcfcourier.com‌ The key to another success‌It’s no surprise that the con- ful march may be rebuilding a versation about Class A’s Dis- rushing attack that produced

South Winn, NashuaPlainfield hope to challenge St. Ansgar

4,154 yards — the most in the state — but lost a pair of 1,000yard performers. Fullback Jack Sievert (642 rushing yards) will help fill that void, as will the return of quarterback Collin Kramer (472 passing yards, 245 rushPlease see CLASS A-4, Page S38

to Coaches and Athletes! Hudson Athletic Booster Club


2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

38 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

Players to watch

RECEIVING „„ Josh Fitzgerald, Newman: 29RUSHING 618, 21.3 avg. 10 TDs „„ Ben Jacobs, Newman: 150-673, „„ Jack Garber, BCLUW:25-484, 4.5 avg. 7 TDs 19.4 avg. 4 TDs „„ Jake Sievert, St. Ansgar: 107„„ Cole Klimesh, South Winnesh642, 6.0 avg. 8 TDs iek: 12-372, 31.0 avg. 8 TDs „„ Azik Hodak, Central Springs: TACKLES (solo-ast.-total) 112-533, 4.8 avg. 7 TDs „„ Zach Ryg, Central Springs: 37„„ Josh Fitzgerald, Newman: 7320.5-57.5 530, 7.3 avg. 7 TDs „„ Jack Sievert, St. Ansgar: 33PASSING 19.5-52.5 „„ Collin Kramer, St. Ansgar: 26„„ Harrison Dehning, Postville: 34-17-51 68-5, 472 yards, 4 TDs

Class A-4 From S37

ing yards). Defensively, three of the top four tacklers graduated. “We return a good number of starters on both sides of the ball, but we did lose several key performers in last year’s graduating class,” notes head coach Drew Clevenger. “We will be younger up front

than we typically are, and our new kids will have to grow up in a hurry.” South Winneshiek has dropped down to Class A after earning a playoff berth in Class A last season. The Warriors have just six seniors on their roster. “We will have pretty young team overall on the field,” noted head coach Jason Ohrt. “We look for several of our talented junior and sophomore players

2018 schedule‌

Aug. 31 – Belmond-Klemme at Nashua-Plainfield (ND), Central Springs at North Butler (ND), Mason City Newman at Algona Garrigan (ND), Osage at St. Ansgar (ND), Postville at MFL MarMac (ND), South Winneshiek at Sumner-Fredericksburg (ND), Starmont

Winneshiek, Postville at Mason City Newman, St. Ansgar at Hudson (ND), Sept. 7 – Nashua-Plainfield at Mason Starmont at Central Springs. City Newman, Postville at South Winneshiek, St. Ansgar at Starmont, West Oct. 5 – Central Springs at Nashua-Plainfield, Mason City Newman at Grundy Fork at Central Springs (ND). Center (ND), South Winneshiek at St. Sept. 14 – Central Springs at Mason City Ansgar, Starmont at Postville. Newman, St. Ansgar at Postville, Starmont at South Winneshiek, West Fork Oct. 12 – Nashua-Plainfield at Starmont, Postville at North Tama (ND), St. Ansat Nashua-Plainfield (ND). gar at Mason City Newman, South WinSept. 21 – Mason City Newman at Star- neshiek at Central Springs. mont, Nashua-Plainfield at St. Ansgar, Postville at Central Springs, South Win- Oct. 19 – Central Springs at St. Ansgar, GMG at Starmont (ND), Mason City neshiek at Wapsie Valley (ND). Newman at South Winneshiek, NashSept. 28 – Nashua-Plainfield at South ua-Plainfield at Postville.

to step into key roles.” South Winn lost its quarterback and top running back, but returns two dangerous receivers in Levi Lukes (19 catches, 431 yards, 22.7 average) and Cole Klimesh (12-372, 31.0 average). At Nashua-Plainfield, Nick Lamphier takes over as the head coach. He’s breaking in new starters at most of the skill positions. John Krull is back after making 14 pass receptions for 240

yards and four touchdowns and racking up 35 tackles on defense. Mason City Newman returns 11 starters, but is also breaking in a new quarterback. According to coach Richard McCartle, Newman “does not have a lot of size but we do have some very good athletes that will make us competitive down the stretch.” Starmont struggled to put enough players on the field at

times a year ago, but the numbers are up this season and 10 starters are back, including running backs Alex Leonard and Quinton Brehme. Numbers are also up at Postville as coach Luke Steege has 38 players, which is 10 more than last season. Central Springs dropped from Class 1A this season and returns seven starters but must replace Zack Santee’s 1,651 rushing yards.

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

„„ 2017 RECORDS: 6-4 overall,

„„ 2017 RECORDS: 0-9 overall,

Aug. 24 – Lake Mills at Mason City Newman (ND), MFL MarMac at South Winneshiek (ND), North Butler at Nashua-Plainfield (ND), North Linn at Starmont (ND), North Union at Central Springs (ND), St. Ansgar at West Fork (ND), Sumner-Fredericksburg at Postville (ND).

at Edgewood-Colesburg (ND).

CAPSULES Central Springs Panthers‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Bill Shafer „„ 2017 RECORDS: 4-5 overall,

3-4 district (Class 1A)

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 9

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (7):

Dylan Kisner, Trevor Hall, Aizik Hodak, Allen Alexander, Kolton Byrne, Zach Ryg, Max Howes.

Nashua-Plainfield Huskies‌

3-4 district

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 11 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (11): Alex Theilen c-t, Ben Jacobs fb-lb, Brady Gatton se, Evan Paulus ol-dl, George Schmit cb-rb, John Fitzsimmons lb, Josh Fitzgerald rb-se-ss, Josh South Winneshiek Thompson g, Kyle Armour f, Logan Allison ot, Merritt McCar- Warriors‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Jason Ohrt dle fs.

Postville Pirates‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Nick Lamphier „„ 2017 RECORDS: 6-3 overall, 5-2

„„ HEAD COACH: Luke Steege „„ 2017 RECORDS: 1-8 overall, 1-6

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (4):

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (5):

district

NERS: 13

John Krull wr-olb, Wiley Jenison t/dt, Levi Lindner cb, Evan Kalainoff de-ol.

M.C. Newman Knights‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Richard McCar-

dle

„„ 2017 RECORDS: 5-4 overall,

NERS: 18 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (7): Collin Kramer qb-s, Ethan Kirchgatter rb-cb. Jack Sievert fb-de, Garrett Koster ol-dt. Skylar Blunt wr-cb, Adam Williams olb, Preston Isler ilb.

district

NERS: 11

Harrison Denning rb, Robert White rb, Wilmer Marroquin rb, Cole Welch ol, Isaac Steffens ol

St. Ansgar Saints‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Drew Clevenger „„ 2017 RECORDS: 11-1 overall,

7-0 district

Don Bosco Booster Club Gilbertville, Iowa 319-296-1692 319-827-6056

6-1 district (Class 1A) „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 11 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (6): Cole Klimesh te-olb-k-p, Levi Lukes wr-db, Braden Lensing lb-ol, Carter Wenthold wr-db, Jaron Todd rb-lb, Noah Tieskoetter wr-db.

Starmont Stars‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Matt Lee

0-7 district

„„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:

11

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (10):

Gage Paris e-ol, Bryce Moine ol-dl,Spencer Moine rb-db, Ethan Elledge ol-dl, Connor Boardman qb-db, Quinton Brehme rb-lb, Alex Leonard rb-lb, Henry Hamlett ol-dl, Spencer Knipper e-lb, Declan Johann ol-dl.

Best Wishes For A GreAt seAson! Go KniGhts!




2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 39

DON BOSCO DONS

Don Bosco in a class by itself Dons taking aim at third straight 8-player state title NICK PETAROS

nick.petaros@wcfcourier.com‌

‌GILBERTVILLE — The machine continues to operate at maximum efficiency. Don Bosco remains the standard bearer within an 8-player football class that continues to expand. Boasting the state’s longest active win streak of 20 games, the Dons enter their 2018 season attempting to capture a third consecutive state championship within a dynasty that has compiled a 73-4 record since making the move to 8-player football. “I don’t know if there’s any true secret to what we’re doing other than some hard work and trying to get better every day,” Don Bosco coach Colby Yoder said. “I know there’s a tradition set and the next person wants to step up and do the job. That’s the way it’s been. The kids have stepped up every year for us.” Pure dominance is the best way to describe Don Bosco’s most recent title run. The Dons outscored opponents by an average of 62-15, and a trend of opponents forfeiting continued with two schools opting to take a week off. “It’s pretty special,” said Don Bosco senior Thomas Even, a four-year, two-way starter. “We already have two state championships in a row and we really want to get three. It’s like a brotherhood here at Don Bosco. “We have a good work ethic, we have really good coaches and we have our reads down. Everyone has their own responsibility, and if we all do it we’re going to do pretty good.” Even led last season’s Dons

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

Don Bosco football players practice Aug. 13 in Gilbertville. with 75 tackles — 10 for loss — and is the top returning rusher with 600 yards on 41 carries. Don Bosco’s defensive secondary and linebacking corps remains intact from a year ago, while senior Noah Pittman is a valuable presence on the line. Freshmen twins Cade and Carson Tenold — the younger brothers of second-leading tackler Cael Tenold — also figure to factor into the mix. “We’ve got a couple of special freshmen in the Tenold twins,

and you’re going to see them on the field a lot this year,” Yoder said. “I think they’re really going to help us.” Yoder looks to plug multiple players into key roles within an offense that graduated its top two rushers, including playmaker Wyatt Sawvel, who passed for 1,409 yards and 28 touchdowns and rushed for 1,408 yards and 32 scores. Senior Kendall Becker is in the mix for quarterback duties alongside sophomore Cael Frost and junior Mason Denton. Even

headlines the running back options. “I’ve never really played there,” Becker said, addressing a potential move from receiver to quarterback. “It’s a big step. Throwing is a little hard, but I’ll do whatever the coach wants me to and I’ll do my best.” Yoder anticipates his rotation of skill players will look similar to the balanced approach used by his 2015 state finalist team. “You might see a lot of mix and match out of us,” Yoder said.

“It’s a good battle for quarterback right now. We play a lot of wildcat. We have just straight runners, and we may have a couple passers this year, too. We’ve got a couple guys that can throw it pretty well.” Everyone remains bought in for this winning program that shows no signs of slowing down. “That’s the biggest part we’ve got going right now,” Yoder added. “The kids just really believe in the system. They’ve been around and it’s worked for us.”


40 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

8-PLAYER, DISTRICT 2

Stars set to shine in District 2 Don Bosco favored in district loaded with talent DOUG NEWHOFF

doug.newhoff@wcfcourier.com‌

‌No matter how you mix up the districts, Don Bosco’s football team tends to rise to the top. This year’s Dons are the defending 8-player state champions and have established a program that plays its way into that position on an annual basis. It follows that coaches in 8-player District 2 point to Don Bosco as the favorite again this season in a reorganized district that features four playoff qualifiers from last season and eight

teams that went a collective 4631 a year ago. “The defending state champions return several players with extensive playoff experience and have continued to show year after year how well they reload,” notes Dunkerton coach Jon Steffen. Six returning starters will head this year’s Dons. That group includes two-way standouts Thomas Even (600 rushing yards 75 tackles), Cael Tenold (518 receiving yards) and Kendall Becker. “We need to build depth throughout the year,” notes Yoder. Tripoli is coming off a 9-2 season when it reached the second round of the playoffs. Coach

Tom Nuss returns five starters, but needs to rebuild his passing game and his offensive and defensive lines. Brady Brocka leads the veterans after rushing for 466 yards and making 79 tackles. Janesville was a postseason qualifier a year ago, too, and head coach Dale Eastman has 14 letterwinners to build around. Among them are Spencer Hoff (734 receiving yards, 146 rushing yards, 17 TDs, 48.5 tackles), Dawson Charley (157 rushing yards, 93.5 tackles), Codey Hicks (30.5 tackles), Josh Hahn (289 rushing yards, 194 receiving yards, 47.5 tackles) and Brandin Carlson (43.5 tackles). Please see CLASS 8-PLAYER-2, Page S41

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BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

Don Bosco’s Noah Pittman hoists Dylan Rottinghaus in celebration after the Dons defeated St. Mary’s in the 8 player state football championship game last season.

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW



8-player-2

Players to watch

From S40

“We have six returning starters who played extensively last fall and gained lots of experience,” says Eastman, who adds that the Wildcats must replace an outstanding group of seniors “that had leadership and a strong work ethic.” Dunkerton returns several standouts in Holden Gillespie (418 rushing yards), Brady Stone (351 receiving yards, four interceptions, 28.7 average on kickoff returns) and linebacker Daniel VanBrocklin. “We have good team speed and experience at the skill positions,” reports Steffen. “We lost seven of eight starters on offense to graduation, as well as six of eight starters on defense. We will need to solidify reliable starters across the offensive and defensive lines so the skill positions can thrive.” Elsewhere in the district, Riceville is coming off an 8-2 playoff season, but needs to replace most of its skill position players. The Wildcats return one of the most productive defensive players in eight-man in Cole Byrnes (124 tackles, 24.5 tackles for

Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 41

RUSHING „„ Isaiah Walk, North Iowa: 116-

666, 5.7 avg., 4 TDs „„ Thomas Even, Don Bosco: 41600, 14.6 avg., 12 TDs „„ Brady Brocka, Tripoli: 87-466, 5.1 avg., 4 TDs „„ Holden Gillespie, Dunkerton: 55-418, 7.6 avg., 7 TDs

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

Don Bosco’s Cael Tenold trips up St. Mary’s Carter Kuchel during last year’s 8-player state championship game at the UNIDome. loss, 7 sacks). Northwood-Kensett was 5-4 a year ago for longtime coach Dave Capitani and is mentioned by a couple of other coaches in the district as a team to be reckoned with. North Iowa will be looking to take a step forward after an 0-9 season, while Rockford joins eight-player football after a winless 2017 at the Class A level.

RECEIVING „„ Spencer Hoff, Janesville: 30734, 24.5 avg., 13 TDs „„ Cael Tenold, Don Bosco: 20518, 25.9 avg., 12 TDs „„ Brady Stone, Dunkerton: 17-

351, 20.6 avg., 9 TDs TACKLES (solo-ast.-total) „„ Cole Byrnes, Riceville: 92-32124, 24.5 TFLs, 7 sacks „„ Dawson Charley, Janesville: 32-61.5-93.5, 9 TFLS „„ Tyler Murray, North Iowa: 6226.5-88.5, 1 TFL „„ Brady Brocka, Tripoli: 47-3279, 5.5 TFLs „„ Thomas Even, Don Bosco: 5619-75, 8 TFLs

„„ Thomas Even, Don Bosco:

4-48, 2 TDs „„ Kendall Becker, Don Bosco:

4-44, no TDs „„ Brady Stone, Dunkerton:

4-32, no TDs KICKOFF RETURNS „„ Brady Stone, Dunkerton: 6-172, 28.7 avg., 1 TD „„ Spencer Hoff, Janesville: 11267, 24.3 avg., 1 TD

PUNT RETURNS INTERCEPTIONS „„ Cael Tenold, Don Bosco: 5-64, „„ Spencer Hoff, Janesville: 6-134, 22.3 avg., 1 TD 1 TD

2018 schedule‌ Aug. 17 – WACO 25, Janesville 14 (ND) Iowa at Clay Central-Everly (ND), Northwood-Kensett at Harris-Lake Park (ND). Aug. 24 – Clay Central-Everly at Northwood-Kensett (ND), Dunkerton at Sept. 7 – Don Bosco at Rockford, Easton Valley (ND), Gladbrook-Rein- Dunkerton at Northwood-Kensett, beck at Don Bosco (ND), Harris-Lake Riceville at Janesville, Tripoli at North Park at North Iowa (ND), Janesville at Iowa. Central Elkader (ND), Riceville at Kee High (ND), Rockford at West Central Sept. 14 – Janesville at Don Bosco, North Iowa at Northwood-Ken(ND), Tripoli at Springville (ND). sett, Riceville at Tripoli, Rockford at Aug. 31 – Central City at Tripoli (ND), Dunkerton. Central Elkader at Riceville (ND), Don Bosco at Baxter (ND), Easton Valley at Sept. 21 – Don Bosco at Tripoli, DunkerJanesville (ND), Kee High at Rockford ton at North Iowa, Janesville at Rock(ND), Midland at Dunkerton (ND), North ford, Northwood-Kensett at Riceville.

Sept. 28 – Dunkerton at Riceville, North Iowa at Rockford, Northwood-Kensett at Don Bosco, Tripoli at Janesville. Oct. 5 – Don Bosco at Dunkerton, Janesville at Northwood-Kensett, Riceville at North Iowa, Rockford at Tripoli. Oct. 12 – Janesville at Dunkerton, North Iowa at Don Bosco, Rockford at Riceville, Tripoli at Northwood-Kensett. Oct. 19 – Don Bosco at Riceville, Dunkerton at Tripoli, North Iowa at Janesville, Northwood-Kensett at Rockford

CAPSULES Don Bosco Dons‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Colby Yoder „„ 2017 RECORDS: 13-0 overall,

7-0 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 14 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (6): Thomas Even, rb-lb, Cael Tenold, lb-te, Kendall Becker, te-db, Lewis Havel, te-db, Alec Carpenter, ol-dl, Noah Pittman, ol-dl.

Dunkerton Raiders‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Jon Steffen „„ 2017 RECORDS: 5-4 overall,

4-2 district

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 9

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (3):

Holden Gillespie, rb-de, Brady Stone, db, Daniel VanBrocklin, lb.

Janesville Wildcats‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Dale Eastman

„„ 2017 RECORDS: 6-4 overall,

4-2 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 14 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (5): Keaton Boyle, g, Codey Hicks, og-de, Spencer Hoff, wr-lb, Dawson Charley, rb-lb, Josh Hahn, rb-lb.

North Iowa Bison‌

„„ 2017 RECORDS: 5-4 overall,

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (7):

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (5):

Northwood-Kensett Vikings‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Dave Capitani

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

„„ HEAD COACH: Tom Nuss

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

Isaiah Walk, rb-lb, Nick Sabin, ol-dl, Clayton Henn, ol-dl, Cody Smidt, ol-dl, Eber Lopez, wr-db, Hunter Mienders, qb, Tyler Murray, rb-lb.

Max Rooney, wr-db, Kaden Lyman, wr-lb, Sawyer Salisbury, ol-dl, Brett Hansen, ol-dl, Zach Ott, ol-dl, Matt Muller, ol-lb, Nathan Muller, ol-dl, Dillon Schriever, rb-db, Blake Farr, dl.

Riceville Wildcats‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Stef Fair „„ 2017 RECORDS: 8-2 overall,

NERS: 10

„„ 2017 RECORDS: 9-2 overall, 5-1

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (9):

„„ HEAD COACH: Brad Bengston „„ 2017 RECORDS: 0-9 overall,

0-6 district

NERS: NA

4-2 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 9 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (6): Sam Kliment, rb-db, Nathan Cordle, te, Logan Benjegerdes, db, Caden Schrage, db, Gavin Varner, dl, Lane Anderson, lb.

6-0 district NERS: 10

Chris Eastman, ol, Derrick Dunn, ol-dl, Cole Byrnes, rb-lb, Ryan Larsen, te, Chad Eastman.

Rockford Warriors‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Nick Johnson „„ 2017 RECORDS: 0-9 overall,

0-7 district (Class A)

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

Tripoli Panthers‌

district

NERS: 13

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (5):

Brady Brocka, fb-lb, Alex Nation, rb, Blake Bockhaus, te-de, Blake Brocka, lb, Michael Davis, ol.

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

42 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

GLADBROOK-REINBECK REBELS

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

Gladbrook-Reinbeck players practice Aug. 14 in Reinbeck. The Rebels are embarking on a new football journey this season as an 8-player program.

G-R working new 8-player land Tradition-rich Rebels embracing new game DOUG NEWHOFF

doug.newhoff@wcfcourier.com‌

REINBECK — When the ‌ Gladbrook-Reinbeck football team gathered for its preseason photo shoot, a shiny green John

Deere tractor driven by one of A powerthe players served as a prop. house, GladIt was symbollic on several brook-Reinlevels for this season’s Rebels, beck is now looking for who are turning over the earth similar yields that has been so productive as as an eightan 11-man high school program. After two state champion- player program. ships and a runner-up finish It’s a new era and one the in the past four years as a Class Rebels have embraced.

“I think they’re excited about it,” said G-R athletic director and head coach John Olson. “Our community has been through declining enrollment probably the last 10 years and we’ve been real stable these last three years. This is something as an athletic director and as head football coach, with the

support of our administration, that we knew we were eventually going to do. “We’re looking forward to playing football and the right fit for G-R is to play eight-man football because of our BEDS number and how many kids Please see G-R, Page S44


2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW



Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 43

8-PLAYER, DISTRICT 3

Experience everywhere in District 3 Turkey Valley one of many teams loaded with veterans DOUG NEWHOFF

doug.newhoff@wcfcourier.com‌

‌here are few things high T school football coaches value more than experienced veterans. Those players know the expectations set out for them. They know the playbook. They know what it takes to be successful. They make those around them better. And those who are seniors bring a sense of urgency as they wrap up their prep careers. This year’s District 3 in 8-player football is loaded with returning starters. The eight teams that make up the new district feature a total of 54 first-team players from a year Please see 8-PLAYER-3, Page S44

Players to watch PASSING

RUSHING

„„ Nathan Trenkamp, Easton

„„ Isaiah Damm, Central City:

Valley: 114-244-11, 1,720 yards, 23 TDs „„ Adam Dolf, West Central: 119286-19, 1,592 yards, 13 TDs „„ Ethan Leibold, Turkey Valley: 61-112-3, 1,295 yards, 24 TDs „„ Britan Martens, Midland: 4386-9, 770 yards, 16 TDs

RECEIVING „„ Adam Nelson, West Central: 47-778, 17.0 avg., 15 TDs „„ Zach March, Springville: 42604, 14.4 avg., 9 TDs „„ Josh Walleser, Kee: 19-458, 24.1 avg., 8 TDs „„ Carter Mohr, Midland: 24-445,

103-557, 5.4 avg., 5 TDs

18.5 avg., 10 TDs TACKLES (solo-ast.-total) „„ Trey Holub Central City: 6722.5-89.5 „„ Griffin Gravel, Midland: 5132.5-83.6, 6 TFLs, 4 sacks „„ Braydin Farrell, Easton Valley: 53-28-81, 5 TFLs „„ Ethan Leibold, Turkey Valley: 34-28.5-62.5, 14 TFLs, 6 sacks „„ Decker Wirtz, West Central:

40-20-60, 12 TFLs, 2 sacks INTERCEPTIONS „„ Trey Holub, Central City: 4-10 „„ Josh Walleser, Kee: 4-23 KICKOFF RETURNS „„ Kolton Murphy, Easton Valley:

6-242, 40.3 avg., 2 TDs „„ Kyle Marsh, Central City: 15-

442, 29.5 avg., 2 TDs „„ Cade Jargo, Easton Valley: 16-

401, 25.1 avg., 1 TD

2018 schedule‌ Aug. 17 – Springville 52, Winfield-Mt. Easton Valley at Janesville (ND), Kee Union 28 (ND). High at Rockford (ND), Midland at Dunkerton (ND), Springville at CoAug. 24 – AGWSR at Turkey Valley lo-NESCO (ND), Turkey Valley at Glad(ND), Colo-NESCO at Central City brook-Reinbeck (ND), West Central at (ND), Dunkerton at Easton Valley Meskwaki Settlement (ND). (ND), Janesville at Central Elkader (ND), Meskwaki Settlement at Mid- Sept. 7 – Easton Valley at Central land (ND), Riceville at Kee High (ND), Elkader, Kee High at Springville, TurRockford at West Central (ND), Trip- key Valley at Midland, West Central oli at Springville (ND). at Central City.

Midland at Easton Valley, Springville City, Easton Valley at Kee High, Midat Turkey Valley. land at Springville, West Central at Turkey Valley. Sept. 21 – Easton Valley at Springville, Kee High at West Central, Midland Oct. 12 – Central City at Midland, Kee at Central Elkader, Turkey Valley at High at Central Elkader, Springville at Central City. West Central, Turkey Valley at Easton Sept. 28 – Central City at Easton Val- Valley. ley, Springville at Central Elkader, Tur- Oct. 19 – Central Elkader at Turkey key Valley atKee High, West Central Valley, Easton Valley at West Cenat Midland. tral, Midland at Kee High, Springville Aug. 31 – Central City at Tripoli (ND), Sept. 14 – Central City at Kee High, Central Elkader at Riceville (ND), Central Elkader at West Central, Oct. 5 – Central Elkader at Central at Central City.

CAPSULES Central City Wildcats‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Matt Miers „„ 2017 RECORDS: 4-6 overall,

2-4 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 9 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (7): Trey Holub, wr-db, T.J. Ayers, ol-dl, Nile Coghlan, ol-dl, Wyatt Starry, ol-dl, Kyle Marsh wr-db, Keegan Kula, ol-dl, Nick Reid, qb-db.

Central Elkader Warriors‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Tom Wilwert „„ 2017 RECORDS: 2-7 overall, 1-5

district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 9 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (7): Max Wingert, rb-db, Noah Reinhart, rb-lb, Matt Whittle, ol-dl, Michael Heer, ol-dl, Jacob

Riniker, te-de, C.J. Polkinghorn, ol-lb,Hazen Loan, qb-db.

Easton Valley Riverhawks‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Tony Johnson „„ 2017 RECORDS: 2-7 overall, 2-4

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (4):

Josh Walleser, wr-db, Cam Olson, rb-db, Aidan Winters, ol-dl, Shawn Wild, ol-lb.

Midland Eagles‌

district

„„ HEAD COACH: Lennie Miller „„ 2017 RECORDS: 9-3 overall,

NERS: 13

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

6-0 district

NERS: 9 „ „ RETURNING STARTERS (5): Nick Johnson, rb-wr, Devin Said, Carter Mohr, wr-lb, Brett rb-de, Braydin Farrell, lb-te, Schoenherr, ol-dl, Luke Lasack, Kadin Graves, ol-dl, Reid Hinol, Griffin Gravel, lb, Carsen erichsen, ol-dl, Logan House, Rupp, db. te-de, Cade Jargo, wr-lb, Nate Trenkamp, qb-s. Springville Orioles‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Joe Martin Kee Hawks‌ „„ 2017 RECORDS: 3-7 overall, 1-5 „„ HEAD COACH: Chad Winters district „„ 2017 RECORDS: 3-6 overall, „ „ RETURNING LETTERWIN3-3 district NERS: 10 „„ RETURNING LETTERWIN„„ RETURNING STARTERS (7): NERS: 7 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (8):

Kyle Koppes, qb, Zach March, wr-db-pt, Jacob Hungate, rb-lb, Custin Sill, c, Jonathan Kelso, og-de, Caleb Weber, te-lb, Evan Corum, dt.

Turkey Valley Trojans‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Mark Scott „„ 2017 RECORDS: 6-3 overall, 3-3

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 11

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (7):

Decker Wirtz, ol-dl, Taylor Hepperle, rb-lb, Adam Dolf, qb-db, Tyler Buzynski, wb-lb, Joe Lamphere, ol-de, Dalton Vick, te-lb, Aiden Nelson, wr-db.

district

„„ RETURNING LETTERWIN-

NERS: 15

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (9):

Gage Gruenberg, ol, Brady Schmitt, ol, Kannon Leuenberger, ol-lb, Billy Swestka, te, Keegan Balk, te, Ethan Leibold, qb-dl, Dylan Elsbernd, dl, Seth Huinker, db, Eli Nymeyer db.

West Central Blue Devils‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Steve Milder „„ 2017 RECORDS: 0-10 overall,

0-6 district

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44

| THURSDAY, AUGUST 23, 2018

G-R From S42

we have out for football and how many kids we have in each grade. “So it’s the right fit for us. Now let’s take the challenge. The kids are excited about it and the coaches are excited about it. It’s something new.” Almost all of the current Rebels played eight-man football last season at the junior varsity or freshman levels. “I’m ready to play,” said senior Jackson Kiburis. “I think it’s gonna be awesome. We played it last year in JV and it was a lot of fun, I thought. It’s a smaller field ... a quicker, fastpaced game that’s a lot more athlete-driven. I’m just excited to get out there and start playing.” Colton Clark, another senior, had some initial reservations that didn’t last long. “I wasn’t so sure,” he said. “But I was excited at the same time, too. I thought it would be fun. It’s the same. Football’s football.”

8-player-3 From S43

ago, and most of them were twoway starters. There are outstanding quarterbacks, productive running backs, breakaway receivers, dangerous return men and punishing defenders. It all adds up to a wide-open district where it’s hard to leave any team out of postseason consideration. Turkey Valley coach Mark Scott has one of the teams expected to be in the hunt. The Trojans return nine players who held down 10 total starting positions among 15 letterwinners from a 6-3 season. Ethan Leibold put up some eye-opening numbers at quarterback a year ago when he completed 61 of 112 passes for 1,295

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW There is a learning curve, to be sure. “We started off a little shaky the first couple of days learning everything and trying to get everybody on the same page,” said Clark. “It’s coming together.” “It’s just like we’re moving down a classification,” added Kiburis. “I don’t see this as any different except we’re gonna have to work harder in practice to get adjusted to this.” Olson and his staff are adjusting, too. “It’s not a challenge because eight-man’s so much different than 11-man because it truly isn’t,” he explained. “The more you study it, the more you realize it’s pretty much the same thing. You’ve gotta run and you’ve gotta block and you’ve gotta tackle. “There are some things from a coaching standpoint that we don’t have the instinct for. Before, if this player did this it was, well let’s just do that instead and you make your adjustment. Now that adjustment’s not there. We’re fortunate that we have nine coaches on our staff who love being

here every single day and we do have a lot of experience coaching, just not necessarily in the eight-man game.” Olson and his staff have attended clinics in Minneapolis and Kansas City. They’ve built relationships with eight-player coaches from Oklahoma and Minnesota, as well as Iowa. G-R hosted a five-on-five tournament in July. One adjustment that has jumped out at Olson is the quarterback position. The Rebels’ Keagan Giesking is out with a broken leg, which has given the coaches cause to look at a lot of potential signal-callers. “We’re working with nine other people at quarterback and that’s something we’ve never done before,” said Olson. “That is a different position in eight-man football. Things have to happen quicker and faster and there isn’t a pocket, per se, and play action’s a little bit different. “So we can play more people there and we can have more fun with that position. It doesn’t have to be your prototypical 6-foot-3 guy that weighs 200

pounds and can throw the ball 80 yards. “That means the kids have a lot of input. One of them said to me yesterday, ‘On sweep, how do you want me to do this?’ I said, ‘You know what, I don’t know yet. What do you think works for you?’ “One quarterback we do it in this direction. Another quarterback might be doing it with a little different technique. We don’t have all the answers right now.” While everyone loves a winner, Olson never measures success in terms of wins and losses. “I think at G-R we pride ourselves in the process, not the product no matter what we’re playing,” he noted. “I think we’re just going to keep getting better and better and better and better and we’re going to be really good at the end of the year. Now whether that means we’re 4-5 or that means we’re 8-1, I don’t know what better is on a scale because I don’t know the opponents we’re going to play that well. “The thing we talk to the kids about is that there is a tradition

yards and 24 touchdowns with just three interceptions. Defensively, he was in on 62.5 tackles with 14 tackles for loss and six sacks. Of course, Leibold and company are up against opponents with similar makeups. “Midland, Easton Valley, Central City and Springville look to have good squads returning,” notes Scott. “I suspect Turkey Valley will be in the mix for the district title.” Midland was 9-3 a year ago. Two of its losses were to state champion Don Bosco, including a season-ender in the playoff semifinals. The Eagles are one of the few teams that don’t have a lot of starters back (five), but four of them were all-district selections. Two more players earned all-district honors as reserves. “The district opener vs. Turkey Valley is vital to winning the District 3 championship because

may feel Turkey Valley is a top contender, as well,” notes coach Lennie Miller. Easton Valley is coming off an uncharacteristic 2-7 season with something to prove. There are 13 letterwinners and eight starters back, including quarterback Nathan Trenkamp, who passed for 1,720 yards and 23 TDs a year ago. Central City has seven starters returning from a four-win team. Isaiah Damm rushed for 557 yards in 2017, Trey Holub made 89.5 tackles with four interceptions and Kyle Marsh averaged 29.5 yards on kickoff returns with two TDs. “We have lots of experience returning, and we have as much speed since I’ve been coaching here,” says fourth-year coach Matt Miers. Springville’s seven returning starters include a pair of productive receivers in Zach March

(42-604, 9 TDs) and Caleb Weber (16-428, 3 TDs). West Central is positioned to make a big move up after a disappointing season. Coach Steve Milder, in his 41st season with the Blue Devils and 44th year in coaching, returns a potent passing game with quarterback Adam Dolf (1,592 yards) and receivers Adam Nelson (47-778, 15 TDs), Taylor Hepperle (26-386, 3 TDs) and Tyler Buzynski (23 receptions). “Up front, Joe Lamphere, Dalton Vick and college prospect Decker Wirtz all return,” notes Milder, who is 221-160 at West Central. “On defense, seven starters return and the top three reserves return. “Injuries have really hurt the past few years. As of July 1, West Central had only 29 boys in grades 9-12. The lack of numbers and varsity players is our greatest weakness.”

here, but the tradition is the kids, not the record. We had really good tradition in 2008, 2009, 2010 when we were 7-2 and 8-1 and couldn’t quite get over the hump, as people would say, but we had 10 seniors every single year that would start. “We just have a lot of pride and tradition in the process. It’s coming to practice every day and working hard and having fun, doing community service projects, eating spaghetti together on Friday nights, having an on-off switch. “All those things don’t really matter about football. It’s about building relationships and having the right culture.” Seniors like Clark and Kiburis get that and welcome the chance to be the foundation for the Rebels’ eight-player future. “It’s definitely a chance to prove ourselves,” said Kiburis. “We graduated however many seniors last year ... a ton of great role models in our program. I think maybe since we’re stepping into a whole new thing for G-R, it’s a way for us to prove ourselves and continue the tradition of G-R football.” Stay connected with everything that’s uniquely local.

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW



Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 45

8-PLAYER, DISTRICT 5

New game, same expectations for G-R Rebels expected to contend in 8-player debut season DOUG NEWHOFF

doug.newhoff@wcfcourier.com‌

J‌ames Koop knows enough about Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s tradition that he doesn’t hesitate to predict more success for the Rebels this season as they transition from Class A to 8-player football. The AGWSR head coach points to G-R and Baxter as the teams to beat in this year’s District 5. “Both have solid coaching staffs, consistent programs and are successful year to year,” notes Koop, who has had his share of success with the Cougars, as well. AGWSR has some reloading to do after a 5-4 season. There’s plenty of talent, but it’s mostly inexperienced with just three

Players to watch PASSING „„ Taurice Grant, Meskwaki: 42114-14, 630 yards, 11 TDs RUSHING „„ Taurice Grant, Meskwaki: 90454, 5.0 avg., 8 TDs

RECEIVING „„ Ethan Harrington, Melcher-Dallas: 47-798, 17.0 avg., 15 TDs „„ Tate Bear, Meskwaki: 34-553, 16.3 avg., 10 TDs

„„ Brett Livesay, Collins-Maxwell:

26-406, 15.6 avg., 1 TD TACKLES (solo-ast.-total) „„ Lucas Starr, AGWSR: 35-22.5-

57.5, 8 TFLs

PUNTING „„ Jaden Penning, AGWSR: 5-186,

37.2 avg. KICKOFF RETURNS „„ Marshall Maple, Twin Cedars: 4-103, 25.8 avg., 1 TD

2018 schedule‌ Aug. 17 – HLV 57, Colo-NESCO 6 (ND), (ND), Don Bosco at Baxter (ND), Lenox English Valleys 70, Twin Cedars 6 (ND). at Melcher-Dallas (ND), Seymour-Moulton-Udell at Twin Cedars (ND), Aug. 24 – AGWSR at Turkey Valley Springville at Colo-NESCO (ND), Tur(ND), Baxter at Coon Rapids-Bayard key Valley at Gladbrook-Reinbeck (ND), (ND), Colo-NESCO at Central City (ND), West Bend-Mallard at AGWSR (ND), West Gladbrook-Reinbeck at Don Bosco Central at Meskwaki Settlement (ND). (ND), Melcher-Dallas at Seymour-Moulton-Udell (ND), Meskwaki Settlement Sept. 7 – AGWSR at Collins-Maxwell, at Midland (ND), Moravia at Twin Ce- Baxter at Melcher-Dallas, Gladbrook-Redars (ND), Newell-Fonda at Collins-Max- inbeck at Meskwaki Settlement, Twin Cedars at Colo-NESCO. well (ND).

Colo-NESCO at AGWSR, Melcher-Dal- Oct. 5 – AGWSR at Baxter, Collins-Maxlas at Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Meskwaki well at Meskwaki Settlement, Colo-NESCO at Melcher-Dallas, Twin Cedars at Settlement at Twin Cedars. Gladbrook-Reinbeck. Sept. 21 – AGWSR at Meskwaki SettleOct. 12 – Baxter at Colo-NESCO, Gladment, Baxter at Gladbrook-Reinbeck, brook-Reinbeck at AGWSR, Melcher-DalCollins- Maxwell at Colo-NESCO, Twin las at Meskwaki Settlement, Twin CeCedars at Melcher-Dallas. dars at Collins-Maxwell.

Sept. 28 – Baxter at Twin Cedars, Glad- Oct. 19 – AGWSR at Twin Cedars, Colbrook-Reinbeck at Collins-Maxwell, lins-Maxwell at Melcher-Dallas, CoMelcher- Dallas at AGWSR, Meskwaki lo-NESCO at Gladbrook-Reinbeck, MeskAug. 31 – Collins-Maxwell at Murray Sept. 14 – Collins-Maxwell at Baxter, Settlement at Colo-NESCO. waki Settlement at Baxter.

Please see 8-PLAYER-5, Page S46

CAPSULES AGWSR Cougars‌ „„ HEAD COACH: James Koop „„ 2017 RECORDS: 5-4 overall,

3-3 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 6 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (3): Zach Crain, ol-dl, Titan Opperman, qb-lb, Tanner Weichers, ol-dl.

Baxter Bolts‌ „„ HEAD COACH: Rob Luther „„ 2017 RECORDS: 8-1 overall,

0-0 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 10 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (4): Will Clapper, ol-dl, Cole Damman, wr-db, Micah Kearns, ol, Andrew Esqueda, ol.

Collins-Maxwell Spartans‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Cory Crnkovich „„ 2017 RECORDS: 0-9 overall,

0-0 district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: 9 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (9): Simon McKinney, qb, Caleb Fullerton rb, Kadin Bennett, wr, Brett Livesay, wr-db, Jordan Barrett, wr, Hunter Clair, wr-db, Mark Henry, dl, Zach Martinez, dl, A.J. Smith, db.

Adam Texeira, ol, Francis Bower, lb, Ethan Wilson, db, Zack McWherter, dl, Martin Nicholas, dl, Colin Hall, dl

Gladbrook-Reinbeck Rebels‌

„„ HEAD COACH: John Olson „„ 2017 RECORDS: 8-2 overall, 6-1

rington, wr-de, Blaise Cooper, wr-db, Cam Davis, c-dt, Eric Karpan, lb.

Meskwaki Warriors‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Andre Roberts „„ 2017 RECORDS: 1-8 overall, 1-6

district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:

12 district (Class A) „ „ RETURNING STARTERS (12): „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Emmett Roberts, rb-lb, Taurice NA Grant, qb-db, Tate Bear, wr„„ RETURNING STARTERS (1): qb-db, Tanner Garcia, wr-db, Keagan Giesking, rb-db. Victor Balderas, ol-dl, Teirnan Colo-Nesco Royals‌ Melcher-Dallas Saints‌ Wanatee, ol-lb-dl, Dante Daven„„ HEAD COACH: Josh Nessa „„ HEAD COACH: Mike Horstman port, ol-dl, Jovani Victor, ol-lb, „„ 2017 RECORDS: 6-3 overall, 5-2 „„ 2017 RECORDS: 6-3 overall, 4-3 Sage Keahna, ol, Noah Seymour, district district wr-db, Stanford Kapayou, ol-dl, „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Evan Nelson, db. 10 8 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (8):

Kelly Gray, wr, Brighton Clatt, wr,

„„ RETURNING STARTERS (5):

Dalton Lovell, qb-de, Ethan Har-

Twin Cedars Sabers‌

„„ HEAD COACH: Aaron Allspach

„„ 2017 RECORDS: 4-5 overall, 3-4

district „„ RETURNING LETTERWINNERS:

8 „„ RETURNING STARTERS (4):

Trenton Reed, ol-dl, Brock Denburger, wr-lb, Coty Goemaatt ol-dl, Marshal Maple, lb.

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46 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

These six seniors will lead Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s football team into its first season as an 8-player program this fall. From left to right are Tyler Beenken, Tyler Sparks, Ridge Van Dael, Colton Clark, Tyson Creswell and Jackson Kiburis.

8-player-5 From S45

starters back among six total letterwinners. As for G-R, the Rebels return only one varsity letterman from last season — running back-defensive back Keagan Giesking — and he’s out with a broken leg. Otherwise, most of head coach John Olson’s team will be seeing varsity action for the first time in their careers. G-R will find out how it measures up in Week 1 when it visits defending state champion Don Bosco. “We could play a really good game and a team like that could still beat us soundly,” says Olson. “Or, we could think we played a great game and Don Bosco plays a bad game, so I don’t know if we’re going to get a good gauge for how

good we are. “Someone asked me the other day what our strength is, and I said our strength is our inexperience. That’s not usually a team’s strength, but that’s our strength because we are who we are right now and we’re just going to be so much better at the end of the year. “We can mold these kids and they can help us as coaches get better.” Baxter and Collins-Maxwell played as 8-player independents a year ago after dividing their shared Class 2A program. Baxter went 8-1 with a veteran group while Collins-Maxwell went 0-9. Colo-Nesco has eight starters back from a 6-3 team, Melcher-Dallas has five of its top players back after also going 6-3, and Meskwaki Settlement School returns a dozen starters as it tries to improve on a onewin campaign under new coach Andre Roberts.

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2018 PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW



Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 47

2018-19 DISTRICT ASSIGNMENTS Fort Dodge St. Edmond

tral-Everly, Harris-Lake Park, Kingsley-Pierson, Newell-Fonda, District 1 — Emmetsburg, SibDistrict 1 — Ankeny, Des Moines District 3 — Belmond-Klemme, River Valley, Remsen St. Mary’s, ley-Ocheyedan, Unity Christian, Hoover, Des Moines Lincoln, West Algona Garrigan, GraettingWest Lyon, West Sioux, Western Des Moines Dowling, Sioux City er-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire, North West Bend-Mallard Christian East, Sioux City North Union, West Fork, West Hancock District 2 — Don Bosco, Dunkerton, Janesville, North Iowa, District 2 — Eagle Grove, Madrid, District 4 — Central Springs, District 2 — Ankeny Centennial, Northwood-Kensett, Riceville, Ogden, Pocahontas Area, South Nashua-Plainfield, Mason City Des Moines Roosevelt, Fort Rockford, Tripoli District 7 — Grinnell, Knoxville, Central Calhoun, South Hamilton Newman, Postville, St. Ansgar, Dodge, Marshalltown, Sioux City Newton, Oskaloosa, Pella, South South Winneshiek, Starmont West, Southeast Polk District 3 — Central City, Central District 3 — Aplington-ParkersTama Elkader, Easton Valley, Lansing burg, Denver, Lake Mills, North District 5 — Alburnett, Clayton District 3 — Cedar Falls, CeKee, Midland, Springville, Turkey Ridge, Edgewood-Colesburg, Butler, Osage, Sumner-FrederDistrict 8 — Ballard, Bondudar Rapids Jefferson, Dubuque Valley, West Central Lisbon, Maquoketa Valley, MFL/ icksburg rant-Farrar, Carlisle, Gilbert, Hempstead, Dubuque Senior, MarMac North Polk, Norwalk Cedar Rapids Prairie, Waterloo District 4 — English Valleys, District 4 — Dyersville Beckman, West District 6 — Belle Plaine, BrookBellevue, Cascade, North Cedar, HLV, Ioa Valley, Lone Tree, MonDistrict 9 — ADM, Creston, lyn BGM, Cardinal Eldon, Durant, tezuma, New London, ThornDistrict 4 — Davenport North, Glenwood, Harlan, Council Bluffs Northeast Goose Lake, West Riverside Highland, Pekin Branch burg Tri-County, WACO, WinIowa City High, Iowa City West, Lewis Central, Winterset field-Mount Union Linn-Mar, Muscatine, Pleasant District 7 — BCLUW, East BuDistrict 5 — Columbus CommuValley CLASS 2A chanan, GMG, Grundy Center, nity, Mediapolis, Sigourney-KeDistrict 5 — AGWSR, Baxter, ColHudson, North Tama, Wapsie District 1 — Boyden-Hull/Rock ota, Van Buren, Wapello, Wilton lins-Maxwell, Colo-Nesco, GladDistrict 5 — Bettendorf, BurlValley Valley, Central Lyon/George-Litbrook-Reinbeck, Melcher-Dallas, ington, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, District 6 — Dike-New Hartford, tle Rock, MOC-Floyd Valley, Meskwaki Settlement, Twin Cedar Rapids Washington, DavDistrict 8 — Central Decatur, East Marshall, Jesup, North Linn, Milford Okoboji, Sheldon, Sioux Cedars enport Central, Davenport West Grand View Christian, LynnIowa City Regina, South Hardin Center ville-Sully, Martensdale-St. District 6 — East Union, Lamoni, District 6 — Des Moines East, District 7 — Colfax-Mingo, Inter- Mary’s, North Mahaska, Wayne Lenox, Moravia, Mormon Trail, Indianola, Johnston, Mason City, District 2 — Algona, Claristate 35, Pella Christian, Pleason-Goldfield-Dows, Estherville District 9 — AHSTW, Earlham, Ottumwa, Waukee Murray, Seymour-Moulton-Udell, antville, Woodward Academy, Lincoln Central, Garner-HayNodaway Valley, Oakland RiverSoutheast Warren Woodward-Granger District 7 — Ames, Council Bluffs side, Southwest Valley, Council field-Ventura, Southeast Valley, Abraham Lincoln, Council Bluffs District 7 — Bedford, Clarinda District 8 — ACGC, Clarinda, Bluffs St. Albert Spirit Lake Thomas Jefferson, Des Moines Academy, East Mills, Essex, FreMount Ayr, Panorama, Van Meter, District 10 — Lawton-Bronson, North, Urbandale, West Des District 3 — Clear Lake, Crestmont-Mills, Griswold, Sidney, West Central Valley Logan-Magnolia, Tri-Center, West Stanton Moines Valley wood, Forest City, Hampton-DuDistrict 9 — Cherokee, East Sac Monona, Westwood, Woodbury mont-CAL, Iowa Falls-Alden, New District 8 — Audubon, Boyer County, Missouri Valley, MVAOCentral CLASS 3A Hampton COU, Treynor, Underwood Valley, CAM, Coon Rapids-BaDistrict 1 — Sioux City Heelan, District 4 — Anamosa, Waterloo yard, Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton, Denison-Schleswig, LeMars, CLASS A 8-PLAYER Glidden-Ralston, West Harrison, Columbus, Monticello, North FaySergeant Bluff-Luton, Spencer, Woodbine ette Valley, Oelwein, Waukon District 1 — Akron-Westfield, District 1 — Ar-We-Va, Clay CenStorm Lake LeMars Gehlen, Hartley-MelDistrict 5 — Camanche, LouiDistrict 2 — Boone, Carroll, Dalvin-Sanborn, Hinton, MMCRU, sa-Muscatine, Mount Vernon, las Center-Grimes, Humboldt, South O’Brien Tipton, West Burlington Notre Perry, Webster City District 2 — Alta-Aurelia, Dame, West Liberty District 3 — Charles City, DecIKM-Manning, Manson NW WebDistrict 6 — Albia, Central Lee, ster, Ridge View, Sioux Central, orah, Independence, Waterloo Davis County, Eddyville-BlakesEast, Waverly-Shell Rock, West burg-Fremont, Mid-Prairie, WilDelaware liamsburg District 4 — Center Point-Urbana, Western Dubuque, Maquo- District 7 — Benton Community, keta, Marion, Dubuque Wahlert, Nevada, Roland-Story, Union (La Porte City), Vinton-Shellsburg, Cedar Rapids Xavier Insurance West Marshall District 5 — Davenport AsDistrict 8 — Centerville, Charisumption, Central DeWitt, Clear Creek-Amana, Clinton, Iowa City ton, Clarke, Des Moines Christian, PCM (Monroe), Saydel Liberty, North Scott

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FALL SPORTS PREVIEW

48 | Thursday, August 23, 2018

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