But fourth-year coach Doug Yost must rebuild his offense now that top rushers Jason Jacobson and Jacob Zamzow are gone, and so is leading receiver Tyler Jeche. That trio combined for over 2000 yards rushing, 400 receiving, and 25 TDs.

Returning starting QB Mike Hammel, a 6-foot junior, passed for about 800 yards and six TDs. One of his top targets is back, senior TE Brad Skrukrud. He had 16 catches for 160 yards in the regular season.

The new D-E backfield will start with senior Ben Barrone lead-blocking for senior Joey Fieseler or junior Scott Dick, both about 165 pounds. Barrone and Dick both had a few carries on varsity last season, but combined for less than 100 yards.

Yost has a pair of two-way returning starters on the line, 200-pound seniors Tony Bale and Logan Clark.

"We lose some poundage in the backfield and on the line," Yost said. "But we're not going to be easy for anybody to beat."



Head coach: Doug Yost, fourth season (18-14 career record).

Assistant coaches: Paul Spafford, Paul Jobe, Brian Harris, Dean Wieck.

Last year's record (conference/overall): 5-2/8-3.

Returning key players

Seniors: Brad Skrukrud (6-0, 190) TE/LB, Tony Bale (6-1, 210) OL/DL, Logan Clark (6-1, 200) OL/DL, Ben Barrone (6-0, 185), Joey Fieseler (165) RB.

Juniors: Mike Hammel (6-0, 160) QB, Scott Dick (165) RB.



Goodhue rushed to a share of the TRC title (with Dover-Eyota) and to the Class A state semifinals for the second time in four years. The 2001 Wildcats won nine in a row and whipped Royalton 20-0 in the state quarterfinals before falling to McLeod West 42-12. Goodhue finished 10-3, after going 5-6 in 2000.

The challenge for fifth-year coach Clair Austin is that few players are back from an offense that produced over 3,100 yards rushing and 1,300 passing. Gone is the entire starting backfield, plus a pair of receivers who combined for over 60 receptions and a dozen TDs -- five all-conference players.

"We had good leadership and very skilled athletes last season," said Austin. "We have a lot of holes to fill, but we should get some help from a B squad that was 6-2 last year."

Four returning two-way starters give Goodhue some good experience. Three are 200-pound senior linemen, Peter Burfiend, Ben O'Reilly, and Frank Garritano. Senior Tim O'Connor is back at fullback and linebacker.

Junior Brian Buck replaces Brett Voth at QB of a wishbone offense. Buck was the B team QB last year. He'll hand off to junior RB Corey Ryan, who rushed for 400 yards in four games last year after starter Chet Lexvold broke his hand. Senior Lincoln Mehrkens joins the starting backfield; he rushed about 25 times for 50 yards last year.


Head coach: Clair Austin, fifth year (33-15 career record).

Assistant coaches: Tony Poncelet, Jeff Swanson, Brian Cashman.


Last year's record (conference/overall): 5-2/10-3.

Returning key players

Seniors: Peter Burfiend (6-0, 200) G/DT, Ben O'Reilly (6-2, 210) C/DT, Frank Garritano (6-0, 215) T/DE, Tim O'Connor (5-10, 175) FB/LB, Lincoln Mehrkens (5-8, 160) RB.

Juniors: Corey Ryan (6-2, 175) RB, Brian Buck (5-9, 150) QB.


The 2001 L-A Cardinals were a dominating defensive team that posted five shutouts on the way to the Class AA state quarterfinals. The Cards had back-to-back shutouts in the Section 1AA semifinals and finals, over conference rivals St. Charles and Dover-Eyota, and finished 8-4 with a 21-7 loss to Breck in the state quarterfinals.

But little of that team remains for third-year coach Scott Schmaltz to work with. That team included 17 seniors, with more than a dozen who started on offense, defense, or both. L-A's B team won only two games last season, so it'll be up to a group of six returning players.

"We'll have that strong defense back; we're just putting in different athletes," Schmaltz said.


Returning junior QB Travis Spencer became a starter in the fourth game last year and passed for over 1,000 yards in eight games. Also back is speedy senior RB Tyler Ties, the third-leading rusher last season. He's joined in the backfield by senior Corey Clark, who was a guard last season.

Three linemen are back, seniors Mike Muller and Jeremy Peterson, and 240-pound junior Jed Kronebusch.


Head coach: Scott Schmaltz, third year (15-6 career record).

Assistant coaches: Todd Stokke, Brent Olson, Mike Richtman.

Last year's record (conference/overall): 4-3/8-4.

Returning key players

Seniors: Corey Clark (5-9, 185) FB, Mike Muller (5-9, 215) OL/DL, Tyler Ties (5-9, 145) RB/CB, Jeremy Peterson (5-10, 180) OL/DL.


Juniors: Travis Spencer (6-4, 190) QB, Jed Kronebusch (6-4, 240) OL/DL,


The PEM Bulldogs weren't as strong to the finish last season, after a 5-0 start. They lost three close games in a row, then upset Caledonia 21-20 in the Section 1AAA first round, and finished 6-4 with a four-overtime 42-41 loss to Lake City in the 1AAA semis. That was a good turnaround from 3-6 in 2000.

PEM is minus one of the top pass-catch combos in the area, now that QB Justin Tibor and WR Travis Klassen are gone; they hooked up 38 times for over 600 yards and eight TDs.

But that's about all that was lost for sixth-year coach Bill Ihrke. The 2002 Bulldogs are loaded with returning talent, with nine seniors who started one or both ways. Plus there'll be the addition of the best players from an unbeaten B team that dominated last year. This team will include four backs who were 1,000-yard rushers as B squaders.

Senior RB Randy Spring rushed for about 1,500 yards on over 6 yards per carry, and scored 19 TDs. The third-year back is closing in on 2,000 career yards. Senior RB Tom Speer added 200 yards on 5.5 per carry. Juniors Scott Mattke and Bobby Dessner were both 1,000-yard rushers on the B team last year and saw some varsity playoff action.

Senior QB Mike Reiter was a backup last year and completed 8-of-24 passes for 128 yards and two TDs.

"We feel like we've got a really strong backfield, and we've got some quality depth with good numbers," said Ihrke. He has 90 kids out for football in grades 9-12.



Head coach: Bill Ihrke, sixth year (29-20 career record).

Assistant coaches: Craig Ihrke, Bryan Brighton, Kevin Lamb, Bill Schultz, Ron Randall, Ben Peter.

Last year's record (conference/overall): 4-3/6-4.

Returning key players

Seniors: Mark Kohn (6-1, 220) OT/DT, Chris Fasching (6-2, 205) G/DE, Nick Naschansky (6-2, 215) OT/DT, Joe Bye (5-11, 180) OG/LB, Tom Speer (5-11, 180) FB/LB, Randy Spring (5-9, 175) RB/DB, Mike Reiter (6-0, 165) QB, Brad Swancutt (5-11, 165) DB/WR, Troy Helgerson (6-2, 210) TE/DE.

Juniors: Bobby Dessner (5-10, 175) FB/LB, Nick Anderson (6-3, 245) OT/DT, Brent Berning (6-2, 197) DE/OT, Michael Kasten (6-3, 190) DB/WR, Scott Mattke (5-10, 165) DB/RB, Clayton Kolb (6-1, 205) QB/LB, Jesse Kahn (5-10, 268) OG/DT, Benji Schneider (6-0, 190) G/LB, Tyler Johnson (6-0, 188) TE/LB.


The 2001 season was a tale of two seasons for St. Charles. The Saints lost their first four games, won their last four, and then split a pair of one-sided games in the Section 1AA playoffs. The Saints stunned top seed Fillmore Central 23-0 in the first round, and then lost 34-0 to Lewiston-Altura in the semis.

St. Charles second-year coach Jason Perry must replace 18 seniors from last year's team, including three who are now on college rosters; QB Reggie Stevens (Winona State), RB John Morris (St. John's University), and TE Scott Ludwig (Gustavus).

"Reggie was really a great roll-out quarterback and did a lot things on the run; that was the key to our season," Schmaltz said.

Only four starters are back, including senior back Ryan Keller, senior lineman Ed Denzer, senior flanker Brian Bambenek, and senior end Chris Ask. Keller rushed for 300 yards on 87 carries last year. Ask had seven receptions for 70 yards.

Senior Kevin Ryan gets his turn at QB. Perry said Ryan is quick and nimble with a very strong arm, and referred to him as a "secret weapon". Also new in the backfield is senior back Michael Ganrude, and possibly Matt Kohn, an up-and-coming 195-pound sophomore.


Head coach: Jason Perry, second year (5-5 career record).

Assistant coaches: John Barbier, Spud Stevens, Dave Braun, Reuben Torres, Jarett Schiebel.

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

Returning key players

Seniors: Ed Denzer (5-7, 215) C/G, Chris Ask (6-2, 164) WR/FS, Brian Bambenek (5-9, 140) FB/DB, Ryan Keller (6-0, 172) FB/LB, Kevin Ryan (5-11, 152) QB, Michael Ganrude (5-5, 141) RB/LB.

Sophomores: Matt Kohn (6-1, 194) RB/LB.


Wabasha-Kellogg struggled through its second straight winless conference campaign last year under young new coach Dan Martin. The Falcons are 1-15 in the last two years, and haven't qualified for the playoffs since 1999.

But things are looking up for Martin, 25, who has been with the program for three years. He has seven returning starters on offense, and six starters back on defense. That experience, plus help from a B team that was 6-2 last year, should make the Falcons competitive again.

W-K's offense was almost non-existent last season, with less than 300 yards rushing and 900 passing in the entire season. Martin said they've put in a new running scheme this year, and will mix things up with six or seven offensive sets.

Junior Brandon Gosse will start at QB. He'll hand off to juniors Jeff Riester and Brad Arens, part-timers last year who combined for about 120 yards rushing.

The Falcons will have some impressive size, with junior center Adam Yaeger (260), senior defensive tackles John Arens (270), and Ben Schellhammer (320). Senior lineman Brian Carrels is back after missing his junior year with a brain injury from an accident.


Head coach: Dan Martin, second year (0-8 career record).

Assistant coaches: Scott Lamey, Chris Biever, Steve Gosse, Josh Roberson.

Last year's record (conference/overall): 0-7/0-8.

Returning key players

Seniors: Aaron Wolfe (5-10, 205) OT, Josh Schmitz (6-0, 205) OG, Brian Carrels (6-0, 195) OG/DE, Cole Packer (6-0, 180) OT, Jake Bray (6-0, 185) WR/SS, A.J. Kohn (5-10, 175) WR/RS. John Arens (6-1, 270) DT, Ben Schellhammer (6-2, 320) DT.

Juniors: Adam Yaeger (6-1, 260) C, Tyson Wolfe (5-10, 195) TE/LB, Brandon Gosse (6-2, 175) QB, Brad Arens (5-10, 180) FB, Jeff Riester (5-10, 175) RB, Peter Heins (5-10, 215) NG, Robert Starnes (6-3, 175) DE, Paul Klees (5-10, 175) CB, Justin Passe (5-10, 185) CB.



Caledonia won the SEC Conference in 2001, but the Warriors fell in the first round of the Section 1AAA playoffs for the second straight year with an upset loss to Plainview/Elgin-Millville. Caledonia squandered a 20-7 halftime lead.

Sixth-year head coach Carl Fruechte has some good experience to work with, with six starters returning on both sides of the ball. The leader is senior RB Pete Schiltz, who rushed for 1,000 yards in the last six games. Junior Casey Meiners replaces Joe Ingvalson at QB

Schiltz and senior LB Wes Stemper were leading tacklers last year and will anchor the defense.

Caledonia will have good size in the lines, including seniors Erik Lund (280), Paul Whitesitt (260), Aaron Mitchell (225), Jeremy Bauer (220), and junior Kevin Klinski (220). Senior RB David VonRavenHorst (215) is a load out of the backfield.


Head coach: Carl Fruechte, 6th year (34-13 career record).

Assistant coaches: Roger Knutson, Mitch Mullins, Brent Schroeder, Phil Costigan.

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

Returning key players

Seniors: Erik Lund (6-4, 280) T/DE, Paul Whitesitt (6-3, 260) OG, Aaron Mitchell (6-0, 225) C, Jeremy Bauer (6-0, 220) OG/DE, Cole Hoscheit (5-10, 175) DT, Wes Stemper (6-0, 195) FB/LB, David VanRavenHorst (6-0, 215) FB/LB, Pete Schiltz (5-11, 180) TB/LB, Mitch Lange (5-9, 165) TB, Bryce Rohr (6-0, 160) WR/CB, Scott Hagen (6-0, 155) WR/FS.

Juniors: Kevin Klinski (5-9, 220) OT/DT, Casey Meiners (6-0, 165) QB, Ryan Johnson (5-9, 155) CB/WR.

Sophomores: Matt Frank (6-4, 150) WR/FS.


Chatfield has a new head coach, but not much will change with Gary Hansen in charge. Hansen, 52, has been with the program for 25 years, and he's back with veteran assistants Dan Hurley and Mike Walker.

Chatfield had a rare sub-.500 season last year after losing in the first round of the Section 1AA tournament. The Gophers had trouble rushing the football, with less than 800 yards total. QB Brandon Delaney passed for 1,200 yards and 10 TDs, but he graduated, along with three receivers who combined for 70 catches.

Only three starters return, senior lineman John Boyum, and senior RBs Matt Bell and Luke Proper. Proper rushed for 233 yards before suffering a broken leg in the seventh game. Six-foot senior Steve Opat moves in at QB, a position he has never played before this season.

Providing some size in the line are junior Brandon Pagel (270) and sophomore Josh Stevens (307).

"We're going to try and run the ball, and play smash-mouth football," Hansen said.


Head coach: Gary Hansen, first year.

Assistant coaches: Dan Hurley, Mike Walker.

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

Returning key players

Seniors: John Boyum (6-0, 230) G, Matt Bell (5-8, 200), Luke Proper (5-10, 190), Steve Opat (6-0, 160) QB/CB, Phil Snyder (6-4, 310) DT.

Juniors: Brandon Pagel (6-5, 270) DT/OT.

Sophomores: Josh Stevens (6-0, 307) DL.


Del Elston embarks on his 29th and final season as head coach with a team full of fresh faces. He lost 20 seniors from last year's team, including bruising 1,000-yard rusher Dallas Dornink.

Only two starters return on each side of the ball, including senior Brian Hadoff, who started both ways. Also back is junior Chris Scrabeck at center, and senior Sam Rindels at linebacker. The 6-foot-1 Rindels moves in at QB.

The Falcons suffered a setback before the season when senior Jeff Hellickson was advised by doctors not to return from an ACL knee injury he incurred last season.


Head coach: Del Elston, 29th year (172-106 career record).

Assistant coaches: Chris Mensink, Frank Tribon, Brad Holten.

Last year's record (conference/overall): 5-2 in SEC/6-3.

Returning key players

Seniors: Brian Hadoff (6-1, 165) WR/CB, Drew Scheevel (6-2, 165) TE/SS, Sam Rindels (6-1, 160) QB, Justin Bernard (5-11, 194) FB/LB, Kyle Morem (6-2, 170) DT/OG, Kyle Ristau (5-11, 155) RB/SS.

Juniors: Chris Scrabeck (6-2, 200) LB/C.


Kingsland won twice as many game last season as in 2000, and a bunch of returning players gives the Knights a chance to double their wins again.

"We have good size, good speed and lots of experience," said 11th-year head coach Mike Holzer. "We have 22 seniors, and they have high goals."

Kingsland will have to improve on an offense that managed less than 1,000 yards rushing and 650 passing last regular season. Two experienced QBs are back, senior Zach Sorenson and junior Dustin Kimball. They platooned for 51 completions and six TDs.

Holzer lists 14 returning starters, including the top three ball carriers from last year, Sorenson, senior Brady Mensink, and senior Justin Thomas.


Head coach: Mike Holzer, 11th year (40-55 career record).

Assistant coaches: Wally Beever, John Fenske, Mark Slinden.

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

Returning key players

Seniors: Dan Rollie (6-1, 190) RB, Scott Bickneses (6-1, 170) E, Luke Bicknese (5-10, 170) E, Chad Strike (5-11, 175) B, Matt Jensen (6-1, 215) T, Zach Sorenson (5-11, 165) B, John Copeman (5-9, 160) E, Toren Bires (5-10, 165) B, Jacque Kvam (5-8, 165) E, Paul Eickhoff (6-0, 200) C, Tim O'Connell (6-1, 240) G, Tim Howard (6-2, 270) T, Adam Greene (6-1, 225) T, Josh Berhow (6-1, 210) E, Justin Thomas (5-8, 183) B, Brady Mensink (6-0, 230) B.

Juniors: Dustin Kimball (6-0, 170) QB.


Rushford-Peterson should contend for the division title, based on returning experience. Head coach Jim Reinhardt has 12 starters back, with eight on defense and seven on offense.

Three all-conference picks are back, including senior RB Wade Thompson, who was the SEC Player of the Year, and senior linemen Ryan Agrimson and Joey Rye.

Providing good size up front are seniors Dan Moe (255), Caleb Wilkemeyer (230), and juniors Tyler Crouch (265) and Fred O'Hara (255).

"We were a young team last year and we expect our experience to be our advantage," said Reinhardt, who guided R-P to six section finals in the 1990's.

"We will have good team speed and more depth than we are used to. We expect a contribution from our sophomores."


Head coach: Jim Reinhardt, 18th year (127-55 career record/94-44 at R-P).

Assistant coaches: Glen Bernard, Duane Koenen, Mitch Thompson, Rod Anderson, Gary Wade.

Last year's record (conference/overall): 5-2 in SEC/6-4.

Returning key players

Seniors: Darrin Dessner (5-11, 175) RB/LB, Wade Thompson (5-10, 175) RB/S, Jacob Merchlewitz (5-11, 170) QB/LB, Jason Hall (5-11, 170) WR/DB, Mark Chambers (5-7, 155) RB/LB, Dustin Rislov (5-9, 170) G/LB, Ryan Agrimson (6-0, 185) G/LB, Dan Moe (6-4, 255) T/DT, Caleb Wilkemeyer (5-11, 230) T/DT, Eric Howe (6-0, 195) T/DE, Joey Rye (6-0, 170) T/DT, Cody Bellock (5-10, 200) G/DT, Hank Becker (5-9, 150) WR/CB, Travis Jonsgaard (6-0, 155) TE/DE.

Juniors: Reid Anderson (5-9, 160) RB/DB, James Colbenson (5-8, 145) RB/LB, Tyler Crouch (6-1, 265) T/DT, Fred O'Hara (6-4, 255) T/DT, Michael Johnson (6-3, 210) TE/DL.


Head coach Dick Strand will guide Southland for his 29th and final season, and his last Rebels team should be solid. Southland rebounded last year after an 0-2 start and won six straight. Their season ended in the Section 1AA semis with a 29-8 loss to Dover-Eyota.

Strand's defense will be more experienced than his offense, with six returning starters. He needs to replace his entire offensive line.

Senior Adam Naegle is back for his third season at QB, after passing for over 900 yards in each of his first two seasons. His top targets are also back, senior ends Dan Bakker and Tim Schneider. Senior Steve Snyder had nearly 700 yards and four TDs returning punts and kickoffs.


Head coach: Dick Strand, 29th year (166-97 career record).

Assistant coaches: Bill Feuchtenberger, Jim Guthmiller, Eric Feuchtenberger.

Last year's record (conference/overall): 5-2 in SEC/6-4.

Returning key players

Seniors: Dan Bakker (6-2, 195) DE/LB, Tim Schneider (6-5, 230) DT/DE, Adam Naegle (6-0, 175) QB/CB, Steve Snyder (5-10, 165) RB/S, Pete Churchill (5-8, 165) HB/LB, Jared Kulow (6-2, 260) OT/DT, Chad Emanuel (6-1, 150) CB.

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