High School Football Preview

(KMAland) -- The Fall Sports Preview extravaganza continues on with a look at Class A District 10. It was a league won by Westwood last season, and the Rebels proved to be the only team to qualify for the playoffs.

FALL PREVIEW LINKS 

FOOTBALL: Class 8-Man District 7

VOLLEYBALL: Hawkeye Ten Conference

MARTIN BLOG FALL PREVIEW NO. 3 - CLASS A DISTRICT 10

Lawton-Bronson Eagles — 2018 Record: 4-5 overall, 3-2 district

Coach: Jamey Lloyd

OVERVIEW: Eight seniors are gone from a team that won four of their final six games last season.  Seven juniors from last year could potentially return, and the junior class is even bigger with a possible 10 returning from last year’s sophomore group.

OFFENSE: Quarterback Connor Smith is back to call the signals after throwing for 324 yards, rushing for 202 and accounting for seven touchdowns. They lose their leading rusher, but senior Rico Garcia (369 yards), junior Hayden Dahlhauser (257 yards, 2 TD) and senior Hasten Michaels (229 yards, 2 TD) had plenty of work on the ground. Michaels (127 yards) and Dahlhauser (117 yards) had eight receptions each to lead a passing game that they turned to about seven times per game.

DEFENSE: Five of their top seven tacklers are gone from last season. That leaves Dahlhauser (35.5 tackles, 12 TFLs, 2 FR) and Garcia (29 tackles, 5.5 TFL) as the top two guys. Seniors Piper Krohn and Michaels, junior Zack Verzani and sophomore Matt Peters are others that could be key pieces or this year’s defensive unit.

CONCLUSION: They lost some key guys up front and quite a lot from their defense, but I’d say there’s definitely enough remaining to have a similar type season (or better) to last year.

Logan-Magnolia Panthers — 2018 Record: 1-8 overall, 0-5 district 

Coach: Matt Straight

OVERVIEW: Tough season. Weird season. I never could have imagined the Panthers would go 1-8, especially after a 21-14 win over St. Albert in Week 3. However, they generally competed in games and lost several close battles. With 12 seniors gone, there are some definite holes to fill. 

OFFENSE: The Panthers lost their top two running backs in Wyatt Wohlers and Weston Worley, and now sophomore Gavin Maguire (140 yards, 3 TD) and senior Bryce Hudnut (105 yards) figure to get plenty of carries this season. Senior quarterback Gabe Walski is also back after throwing for 564 yards. He loses his top two receivers, but junior Tre Melby (6 receptions, 66 yards, TD) is a very, very big target.

DEFENSE: Lo-Ma lost their top five tacklers from last season, but they do return plenty of solid contributors. Their top-returning tackler is senior Lucas Pickle, who had 30 takedowns, three TFLs and one sack. Hudnut (26 tackles), Walski (19.5 tackles), Melby (17.5 tackles, 2 FR), senior Barret Pitt (15.5 tackles), senior Dylan Cunard (12.5 tackles), senior Tanner Mace (11.5 tackles) and junior Drake Anderson (11 tackles) are others that got some tick on D last year.

CONCLUSION: The last time Logan-Magnolia had a bit of a “down” year they responded by winning the state championship one year later. I won’t step out on a ledge and say that is going to happen, but I’m guessing this summer has been intense as they try to get the train back on the tracks. 

Tri-Center Trojans — 2018 Record: 6-3 overall, 3-2 district 

Bryson Freeberg, Tri-Center

Pictured: Bryson Freeberg of Tri-Center

Coach: Ryan Schroder

OVERVIEW: Tri-Center started with a 5-1 record last season and turned things back to a positive note with a winning season. They will have to replace some really nice players from a 10-person senior class, but there were 13 juniors on last year’s roster. 

OFFENSE: Seniors Bryson Freeberg, Trevor Carlson and Gaven Heim will lead this year’s team. Freeberg was the quarterback of the evolution from an option-based offense to a spread passing look. Freeberg threw for 1,812 yards and 16 touchdowns while Carlson rushed for 772 yards and five more. Heim - after T-C lost their top four receivers - figures to be the go-to guy in the passing game. He had 21 receptions for 194 yards while Carlson had 25 for 156. I’d expect to see him even more involved in the passing game this year.

DEFENSE: Bryant Barrier was a beast. Unfortunately, he has graduated. Same for their next two tacklers and five of their top six. Carlson (50.5 tackles, 7 TFL) is the top returning guy here while junior Alex Ausdemore (31 tackles, 6 TFL) will look to have an even bigger season this year. Senior Grant Stone (28 tackles, 3 TFL), junior Mason Rohatsch (26 tackles, 2 INT) and sophomore Brecken Freeberg (18 tackles) are ready to take their turn in playing big roles for this year’s D.

CONCLUSION: The Trojans return some good-looking hosses up front, and that can only help as they move further into Coach Schroder’s offensive system. Freeberg, Carlson and Heim are a real solid start when it comes to leadership and offensive and defensive production. Seven-plus wins isn’t out of the question.

West Monona Spartans — 2018 Record: 4-5 overall, 1-4 district  

Coach: Drew Potter

OVERVIEW: They started last year at 3-0 before losing five of six, but three of those games were by just one score. The Spartans lost just six seniors and return a huge class of soon-to-be seniors (14?) that, I believe, should lead to some big things for the Spartans.

OFFENSE: The offense is going to be really, really nice. Senior quarterback Casey McMinamen is good after throwing for 1,003 yards and 11 touchdowns last year, but I think their running back tandem is going to be lethal. Seniors Josh Heather and Darius Gashe rushed for 678 and 348 yards, respectively, and combined for 17 touchdowns last season. Heather averaged 10.6 yards per carry and 26.8 yards per reception (for 268 yards) and had a terrific track season after that. (I’m real big into strong seasons in one sport leading into strong seasons in another.) These are some big-time offensive threats.

DEFENSE: Gashe was good on offense last year, but he was their best on defense. He finished with a team-high in tackles (70.5) and tackles for loss (18.5) and will be the quarterback of the defense again this year. Senior Logan Feige had 8.5 TFLs while Heather had eight to cause havoc for opposing offenses. Junior Derek Gashe (8 TFL) and senior Keegan Holverson (9 TFL) were also really strong defenders. Add in seniors McMinamen, Nate Carrigan, Trevor Storm and Shawn Holton, and the Spartans look good here, too. 

CONCLUSION: West Monona has to be thinking playoffs. They have a huge senior class with most - or all - of them coming back after major contributions. I have Heather over 1,200 yards on the ground this season, and I think the defense might actually be this team’s strength. West Monona is going to be real good.

Westwood, Sloan Rebels — 2018 Record: 8-2 overall, 5-0 district 

Coach: Cass Burkhart

OVERVIEW: Westwood’s fantastic season came behind a 12-person senior class with a large majority of them coming from those that wore the number 50 and on up. That means the Rebels had some dogs up front and may have some replacing to do up there. Good news - another double-digit senior class is likely.

OFFENSE: Senior Braulio Munoz is the top returning player in the district. He rushed for 1,122 yards  and 17 touchdowns as a complete workhorse (260 carries) a year ago. He’ll get the ball plenty again this year, but they’ll need senior Carter Copple to step into the QB spot where Sean Westergaard had 1,000+ on the ground of his own. Top receiver and senior Sam Miller is also back after snagging four touchdowns on his eight receptions and averaging 26.8 yards per grab.

DEFENSE: I’ll be interested in seeing what kind of role Copple plays here. He was their top defender last year, finishing with a team-high 54 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss. If he’s the QB as expected, maybe he’s not playing as many snaps on defense. Or maybe this is big-boy football, and he’s a dog on both sides. Anyway, Munoz (53 tackles, 6 TFLs) was also great last year in his role, and Miller (39 tackles, 5 INT) was a ballhawk. Senior Ben Brekke had a pick and 38.5 tackles, and fellow seniors Hunter Hanner, Luke Lyon, and Eddie Dandurand could be other standout defenders this season.

CONCLUSION: I mentioned the loss of some big guys, and that is certainly a concern. However, the backfield looks dangerous (again). Give Munoz an inch, and he will grind for 4-5 yards. And then he’ll go on and do that about another 30 times in the same game. Westwood won it last year, and they’ll be the favorite until further notice.

Woodbury Central Wildcats — 2018 Record: 6-3 overall, 3-2 district

Coach: Kurt Bremer

OVERVIEW: By the end of the season last year, Woodbury Central was playing as well as anyone in the league. They had 14 juniors turning into seniors, and now that they actually are seniors, they have to be thinking big.

OFFENSE: The only problem is that they will be breaking in a new QB. It’ll likely be either senior Mitchell Countryman, junior Jase Manker or sophomore Carter Bleil. Or I guess it could be someone else entirely, but those are the three that took snaps last year. Either way, a lot of the work will involve getting the ball to senior Wade Mitchell, who rushed for 582 yards and five touchdowns. Senior Jacob Kuntz also had 265 yards on the ground. When they throw, there’s some experience out there in seniors Ethan Copeland (322 yards, 6 TD) and Matt Carney (230 yards).

DEFENSE: The defense has their top four tacklers back, including Mitchell, who led the way with 80 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss last year. Kuntz, junior Gaige Heissel and Carney are others among that top four from last season. Countryman and Copeland combined for seven interceptions to lead the way in that category, and junior Beau Klingensmith could be primed for a breakout.

CONCLUSION: Their senior class will lead the way here, and they have the knowledge of knowing how well they were playing at the end of last season. There are always concerns with a new quarterback, but three guys did take snaps at some point during last season. I would expect the Wildcats to be in contention for a playoff spot.


PREDICTION 

This league was decent last season, but I think it’s going to be even better this year. There are some holes in certain spots for every team, but I think there’s a chance more than half of the teams are better.

I already noted that Westwood is the favorite until proven otherwise, but West Monona and Woodbury Central figure to be pretty solid. And Tri-Center’s trio are some dudes that should be surrounded by plenty of other guys feeling more comfortable in year two. Lo-Ma isn’t going to stay down for long, and Lawton-Bronson has some pieces, too. I think this will be one of the more competitive leagues in the area.

Send any questions, comments and/or concerns to dmartin@kmaland.com.