After a longer wait than most football teams enjoy, the Fergus Falls Otters will finally hit the field for the first time in 2020 Friday at 6 p.m. against the East Grand Forks Green Wave. The Otters are ready to hit the field and improve on last season’s winning percentage that saw the team finish with a .500 record.
While the season was pushed deeper into the fall, the game remains the same as head coach Steve Olson will look to his upperclassmen to help navigate the team through the season. Key returners this season for the Otters are seniors Jack Vogl (OL/DL), Jack Uhrich (OL/LB), Dominic Aguilar (WR/QB/DB), Ian Richards (OL/DL), Bryce Burrill (TE/DL), Logen Schake (RB/DB), Abel Aho (WR/DB), Kaden Hartwell (RB/DB), and juniors Landon Thacker (RB/LB), Lucas Oliphant (OL/DL) and Luke Newman (WR/DL).
The Otters will need to find a new signal-caller after the graduation of quarterback Ethan Olson.
“We will need to settle on a quarterback and build our offense around his skill set,” coach Olson said. Other losses from last year’s squad include Parker Jacobs (RB/LB), Brock Kotschevar (WR/DB), Cody Norgren (WR/DB), Gus Gerhardson (OL/DL), Brenden Adams (OL/DL) and Mike Wiederich (DB).
Despite a few key positions having vacancies, coach Olson is confident that the team can rely on its nucleus to get the job done.
“We have some experience on the offensive line and hope to improve there as the season progresses. Defensively, we need to be assignment sound and tackle well,” Olson added.
With some varsity openings, the Otters head coach will look to a bevy of young talent to step-in and learn fast at the varsity level. Coach Olson recognized senior Austin Rinke (TE/DB), juniors Carter Thielke (WR/QB/DB), Cole Zierden (WR/DB), Andrew Johnson (QB/LB), Owen Babolian (WR/DB), and sophomores Jordan Sitagata (OL/DL) and Alex Jensen (OL/DL) as up-and-comers that can make an impact at the varsity level.
Playing a smaller schedule this year, coach Olson sees two-time defending Section 8AAA champ Perham as the team to beat as they bring back a very talented roster. Detroit Lakes and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton are also on the radar as both teams have been tough the past few seasons.
Coach Olson will be assisted by Shane Thielke, Kevin Pearson, Keith Pearson, Josh Steer, Judan Burlingame, Ike Carlson and Matt Johnson.
With restrictions placed on attendance for football games this season due to COVID-19, the Otters hope that you will root them on by watching Park Region television PRTV1 and listening to 97.7 FM at 6 p.m.