Local teams to kick off season with a bangPublished 11:26am Thursday, August 29, 2013
Two-a-days are finally over.
After battling through grueling practices, the unusual late August heat and a few bumps and bruises, the 2013 high school football season is finally here.
A few teams will make their stand tonight, while several others will play the traditional Friday opener.
The Fergus Falls Otters and M State – Fergus Falls Spartans are set to kickoff its regular seasons at home, while the Hillcrest Comets will play road warrior in week one.
On Friday, the new-look Otters will hit the field with first year head coach Steve Olson to take on Central Lakes rival Brainerd. Olson and the Otters will open in a David versus Goliath match up that pits the co-CLC champions against one another.
“Brainerd has tremendous team speed,” Olson said. “They like to spread you out, but run behind pulling guards and tackles. Defensively, they look to be a 3-4 and do a lot of pre-snap shifting.”
The Otters will see senior Austin Rund taking snaps from center, while junior quarterback Noah Strom should see significant time on the field, as well.
Olson is hoping that fundamentals and correct alignment will allow the Otters to keep the ball out of the Warriors hands and lead to victory.
Also on Friday, the Comets will line up against Pheasant Conference opponent Brandon-Evansville.
The Comets will use several of its players in versatile roles as head coach Charlie Brue continues to look for the right mix of players on both sides of the ball.
Senior captain Jake Isaac will quarterback Hillcrest this year after the graduation of Dalton Tostenson. The Comets will also need to find a replacement for workhorse runningback Theo Taylor this season.
The hosting Chargers have high expectations for this season as it returns a majority of its offense and defensive linemen, linebackers and runningbacks.
The Chargers will lack depth, which could play to the advantage of the Comets in the stifling heat.
Moving into Labor Day weekend, the M State Spartans will play host to the Mesabi Range Norsemen for the first time in over a decade.
Last season, due to schedule restructuring and the end of the MCAC Kickoff Classic at St. Cloud State, the two teams did not meet.
Both teams suffered through the season as the Spartans finished the year 2-6, while the Norsemen tallied 1 win in eight attempts.
The Spartans, who have a new look offense of its own, will look to put the ball in runningback Hayden Zenner’s hands as the sophomore returns to the team at full health.
Defensively, M State has prepared for a bevy of things as Mesabi’s offense changed with color of the leaves last season and this year they have brought in a new offensive coordinator.
The Otters and Comets open at 7 p.m. Friday, while the Spartans take the gridiron at 2 p.m. Saturday.