Sioux Falls Roosevelt came painfully close to earning a berth in last year's 11AA championship game. A botched extra point following a late fourth quarter touchdown proved to be the difference in the Rough Riders' 28-27 loss to O'Gorman.
That one was tough to stomach for head coach Kim Nelson, who expects his team to be back in the mix in 2011.
Q. You had a pretty good year last year, and you’ve got a lot of skill guys coming back. Is that a recipe for another good year?
A. I think we’ve got a good mix of returning players and some young kids that have done some work in the offseason to get there. I don’t know if we have as much depth as we’ve had in the past. We have to be a little more careful in practice not to be beating each other up, but I like our team. I know O’Gorman, Washington are probably the teams to beat right now, preseason. But I’d like to think we’re going to be tough to beat. We’re going to be competitive with those guys.
Q. It sounds like numbers are down a little bit. Are you going to be forced to play some guys both ways, or is that by choice?
A. It’s more by choice. We could play some guys there that are younger, with less experience. But Andy Smith and Josh Angulo, Daquan Brooks are guys that we’re looking at playing both ways. John Wessel maybe a little bit as a linebacker/receiver/tight end kind of guy. Those guys are good enough to play both ways. They won’t play every down both ways. They’ll probably play every down on one side of the ball and then rotate a little bit on the other side, mainly because they’re really talented kids and they need to be on the field as much as possible. So that’s a good thing.
Q. Do you expect a power shift in the state this year, or will everything come through Sioux Falls again?
A. It looks the same to me as last year, power wise. Top four teams, Washington has to be the team to beat until somebody does. We don’t get them until the end of the season. O’Gorman, a lot of really key players back. Lincoln, all of their skill guys are back and they find linemen. We thought their offensive line was going to be kind of week last year and they rammed it down our throats for about three quarters, so we learned a lesson there, I think.
I hope we’re in that mix with the top four. I think the ESD is balanced. I don’t see any one team coming out of the ESD that’s really going to be head and shoulders above the rest. I don’t really know what to expect from them. Watertown was good last year, but they graduated a really talented senior class. Yankton has some kids back. I think Aberdeen is about a year or two away, they’ve got a good young class or two coming. I don’t know much about the rest. We play Sturgis and the Rapid City schools. I think they’re going to be maybe about the same as last year. Sturgis I think loses some pretty good seniors. Stevens loses some really good seniors, they’re kind of rebuilding. Central might be the team to beat out west with some of the guys they’ve got coming back. The four best teams, in my mind, are going to be the four Sioux Falls schools and I hope I’m right. I hope we’re one of them.
Roosevelt and arch-rival O'Gorman will kick off the 2011 President's Bowl on Sept. 3. That game, along with the nightcap between Lincoln and Washington, will air live on Midco Sports Network.
- Sept. 3: O'Gorman vs. Roosevelt (President's Bowl), 4:30 p.m.
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