PIGSKIN PREVIEW TAB -- Continued from Page 20

While star receiver Brent Sexton is out of the lineup, healing from a broken ankle, the Tigers are going to have to rely on their running game. They're in good hands there, with Nick Tackmann (tailback) and John Bluhm (fullback) back as starters. Even when Sexton does come back, there is no assurance he'll get a steady diet of accurate throws to him. Lake City enters the season without a proven quarterback.

2002 tigers

Head coach: Gordy Ziebart, fifth year.

Assistants: Greg Berge, Phil Olson, Rob Nutt, Jim Heise, Trevor Narum, Mark Morrey, Joe Garvin, Nick Meyer, Shawn Sweeney, Chad Bray, Mike Harvey, Dan Tesch.

Last year's record (overall/conference): 11-2, 4-1.




Backs: Nick Tackhmann, John Bluhm, Jeremy Holst, Ross Kohrs, Nick Schlagenhaft. Receivers: Brent Sexton. Linemen: Ben Roberson, Kevin Sprout, Callin Koller.


Lourdes is coming off, by far, its best season in years.

With nine starters returning on defense and five on offense, expect more winning ways from the Eagles.

Lourdes has plenty of skill returning in the backfield, with Jay Kasner at quarterback and Ted Garry at running back. Gary rushed for 756 yards last year. Kasner, who possesses a strong arm, spent a chunk of last season nursing an injury.

One problem the Eagles have is tryng to replace Sam Schmitz. A three-year starter at linebacker and fullback, Schmitz has taken his football act to Division II national champion University of North Dakota. He led Lourdes in rushing last year (910 yards).


Pat Jewison is coming off a season in which he caught 27 passes for 490 yards. The Eagles also have skill along the lines, highlighted by 6-3, 260-pound senior Paul Macken and 6-2, 245-pound junior Chris Brunkhorst.


Head coach: Marv Peters, seventh year.

Assistants: Mike Kesler, Jake Thompson, Dave Jewison, Mike Carroll, Brian Krenik, Adam Schmalzbauer, John Jensen, Rodney Nolan, Dave Rahman, Chris Ford.

Last year's record (overall/conference): 9-2, 4-1.



Backs: Ted Garry, Jay Kasner. Receivers: Pat Jewison, Tim Carroll. Linemen: Paul Macken, Jeff Poterucha.



Back: Jace Hadaway.

Lineman: Chris Brunkhorst


The largest challenge for Stewartville is how heavily it needs to lean on its junior class. The Tigers begin the season with just eight eligible seniors.

"It's going to be an interesting season," Stewartville coach Curt Hughes said. "We've got a big junior class, and a lot of our season hinges on how well they mesh with our seniors."

Gavin Hofer is one of those juniors. As a returning starter, and at quarterback no less, he is one of the team's most vital cogs. Blessed with good speed and a strong arm, he is close to a finished piece. But Hughes is looking for improvement from him in his understanding of the game and his ability to read defenses.

The Tigers have one of the league's hardest workers in senior Adam Meyerhofer. The 6-foot-1, 240-pound offensive linemen "worked his tail off," over the summer, according to Hughes. Two more excellent linemen for the Tigers are senior Ricky Smith, a state shot put champion last spring, and 6-3, 225-pound junior offensive tackle Eric Schroeder.



Head coach: Curt Hughes, seventh year.

Assistants: Tim Bestor, Mark Schmitz, Nate Pfeilsticker, Greg Hale, Sean Hale, Larry Raadt, Rick Toews, Paul Tollefsrud, Daryl Howe.

Last year's record (overall/conference): 2-7, 0-5.



Backs: Isaac Johnson, Travis Amos. Receiver: Charlie Stevens. Linemen: Adam Meyerhofer, Eric Schroeder, Ricky Smith.



Backs: Tony Gehling, Gavin Hofer. Receivers: Brandon Howard, Zack Thompson.


First-year coach Willie Rauen helped bring the Cougars back from the depths last year. Rauen inherited a program that went 1-8 in 2000, then lifted them to a 5-4 mark last season.

Rauen has his work cut out again. He needs to replace 21 of his 22 starters from a year ago.

The one experienced player Z-M returns is a good one. Sam Boraas was impressive at safety last year, registering 12 unassisted tackles and 71 assisted ones. He'll also be the team's starting quarterback.

Joining him in the backfield are senior halfback Ben Sand (44 carries, 255 yards last year) and fullback Chris Miller. Z-M had lots of size last year. This season, they're relying more on quickness. They're also relying on a burning desire to win.


Head coach: Willie Rauen, second year.


Assistants: Paul Pagel, Darin Raasch, Mike Matuska, Matt Biever, Scott Paukert, Brad Prigge.

Last year's record (overall/conference): 5-4, 2-3.



Backs: Sam Boraas, Chris Miller, Ben Sand, Matt Perry, Chris Barden, Andy Meerkins, Tom Tangen. Receiver: Barden. Linemen: Jeff Matthees, Jake Klindworth, Tyler Lemmerman, Ross Miller.


Back: Kevin Raasch.



The wins were hard to come by for Hayfield last year, but the Vikings statistics didn't look too bad.

Hayfield was near the top in total offense and defense in the Hiawatha Valley League. It didn't have nearly so much luck in the standings, however, ending 1-4 in the HVL Gold.

But again, on the bright side, the Vikings won their first-round playoff game for the third straight year.

So what to expect this season? Well, based on experience, you've got to like the Vikings' chances. They return eight starters, including quarterback Scott Thompson and running back James O'Connor. O'Connor was one of the league's best last year, rushing for 1,100 yards. He runs a 4.8 40.

Thompson was solid, if not spectacular. He threw for 709 yards and had a 40 percent completion rate. Cody Hegna, who also returns, was a favorite receiver. He finished with 20 receptions for 302 yards.


Head coach: Vince Reynolds, sixth year.

Assistants: Mark Carlson, Charles Behrens, Tom Brown, Eric Thronson.

Last year's record (overall/conference): 2-8, 1-4.



Backs: James O'Connor, Scott Thompson. Receiver: Cody Hegna. Lineman: Carl Bemlet.


Byron is still aching to take its act a step further.

The Bears have won the Hiawatha Valley League Gold Division title three straight years. What they haven't done yet, however, is make it to the state tournament. The Bears are going to have to do it this season without their best player of the past two years, running back Adam Linbo. Linbo rushed for more than 3,000 yards in his career with Byron before graduating last spring. Now, running back duties shift to last year's starting quarterback, senior Adam Schroeder. Junior Bryce Fogelson inherits the quarterback job. Austin describes Schroeder as less powerful than Linbo but a bit shiftier.

The strength of the Bears is their talented and experienced offensive line. Isaac Raeen, Brent Eustice, Brandon Bordelon and Tim Fugleberg are all returing starters.

2002 BEARS

Head coach: John Austinson, sixth year.

Assistants: Karry Linbo, Dan Alsbury, Gary Prantner, Jeremy Christie.

Last year's record (overall/conference): 6-4, 4-1.



Backs: Adam Schroeder, Shawn Campion, Nate Moore, Alex Kuhlmann. Linemen: Isaac Raeen, Brent Eustice, Brandon Bordelon, Tim Fugleberg.


Receiver: Matt Storlie.


The Knights have nowhere to go but up. K-W wasn't close to winning a game last season.

Third-year coach Randy Hockinson likes the chances of that changing, based on his team's speed and overall attitude.

Hockinson is pleased with the speed of his running backs. Brian Christenson and Allen Froyum both run 4.8 or better 40s. And the team's overall best running back and defensive player is Bucky Rapp, a 5-foot-10, 175-pounder who was K-W's lone all-conference selection last year. Rapp doesn't have blinding speed but is a tough player and heavy hitter, according to Hockinson.

K-W has six starters returning on both sides of the ball. Nine of his starters will be seniors.


Head coach: Randy Hockinson, third year.

Assistants: Matt Nelson, Paul Kincaid, Paul Senjem.

Last year's record (overall/conference): 0-9, 0-5.



Backs: Allen Froyum, Brian Christenson, Bucky Rapp. Receiver: Kirby VanDeWalker. Linemen: Nick Hanson.


Lineman: Luke Yunker.


Shane Strong has gone from one program hit by lean times to another.

Strong lifted Houston from an 0-8 record in 2000 to 5-5 overall last year, his first season as the Hurricanes' head man. Now he'll try to pull off something similar at Pine Island, where he takes the place of longtime Panthers coach Dean Krambeer. Krambeer worked 32 years as either an assistant or head coach at Pine Island. The Panthers finished 2-7 last year.

Strong took the Pine Island job after being offered just a part-time teaching position at Houston.

The Panthers will be running a misdirection offense under Strong, who is guiding an undersized team.


Head coach: Shane Strong, first year.

Assistants: Don McPhail, Joe Ohm, Jim Huston, John Stapleton.

Last year's record (overall/conference): 2-7, 2-3.



Back: Jake Tewait. Receiver: Trevor White. Linemen: Brad Swanson, Brian Breidall.


Backs: Tyler Robertson, Abel Kleinschmidt.


Cobras coach Don Henderon is not ready to commit when it comes to assessing his team.

Triton had a slightly down year last season -- at least by its standards -- finishing 6-4 overall, yet still good enough at 4-1 to tie for the Gold Division HVL title.

Henderson is sure of one thing when it comes to this team. They've got the right attitude.

There are a number of positions that Henderson hasn't settled on yet. That includes quarterback, where three or four players are vying for the job.

Henderson was pleased with the defense his team played to conclude last year. He wants more of that, though he is likely going to have to get it from some inexperienced players. He has almost twice as many juniors as seniors out for the team. But there are certainly some seniors he will lean on heavily. They include captains Adam Schmoll (running back/linebacker), Jamin Eggert (running back/defensive back) and Jed Deno (tight end/defensive end).


Head coach: Don Henderson, 13th year.

Assistants: Craig Schlichting, Bruce Huber, Dennis Midthun, Jason Boe.

Last year's record (overall/conference): 6-5, 4-1.



Backs: Adam Schmoll, Jamin Eggert. Receiver: Jed Deno.


If the trend continues, look out for Winona Cotter.

Pat Bowlin's first year as head coach of the Ramblers was winless. Then they won three games, then last year four as well as tying for the HVL Gold Division title.

While line play was Cotter's strength last year, it is at the skill positions that it should excel this season. Matt DeMarais, a senior, is one of the top quarterbacks in the conference. He threw for 1,200 yards last season and is an extremely accurate passer, and Bowlin loves his football smarts.

DeMarais' top two receivers are back. Stephen Deter led the team in receiving yardage and touchdowns; Ladd Gorman led in total catches.

Deter is the team's top defensive player. At defensive end he led the team in sacks with six a year ago.


Head coach: Pat Bowlin, fourth year.

Assistants: Randy Lisowski, Chris Cichosz, Matt Walch, Mike O'Brien, Mat O'Brien, Nick Darnick, Scott Werlaf.

Last year's record (overall/conference): 4-5, 4-1.



Backs: Matt DeMarais, Bryan Wanek, Pat Leaf. Receivers: Stephen Deter, Ladd Gorman. Lineman: Deter.


Back: Kyle Erickson.

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