2018 CLASS 9A Preview
Why wait until August to start talking High School Football? I'm going to slow-release the goodness of preseason coverage by spreading out my previews from now until the season starts. This week we'll start with the three nine-man classes. Next week we'll talk 11B. The week of July 23rd we'll break down Class 11A. July 30th I'll release my thoughts on Class 11AA and August 6th I'll unveil the season preview for 11AAA.
I'll also bring you an extensive list of players to watch as well as the top players in each class. I'll also rank each and every team in every class to get the conversation started. Remember your opinion matters. I'll take feedback from you on my twitter account before I submit my official rankings vote for the first Media Poll of the year. So be heard and let me know what you think!
Let's talk 9A football. There is no clear cut favorite in this class, the defending champions from Britton-Hecla are ready to go but so are the other 23 teams chasing after them. Here we go...
I don’t like picking the defending champs to repeat very often, but Britton-Hecla is not a one-year wonder. They will definitely miss some key players from last year’s title run but they have some firepower ready to step in. Five starters are back to try to repeat in the class. They lost their first game of the year last season and then didn’t lose the rest of the way.
Stanley Haskins Jr started out the season as a defensive multi-tool who made plays all over the field. He ended up playing in the offensive backfield as well and helped the Braves to 70 yards and a touchdown in the championship game (130 att, 1394 yds, 19 TD). Jory Flanery is a big tight end and Kyler Meyer or Trevor Zuekhlke will step in at QB.
Their two toughest opponents are both at home this year. Aug 17 vs. Hamlin; Sep 21 vs. Clark-Willow Lake.
On the surface it may look like Britton-Hecla lost way too much to defend their title, however they have a fantastic junior class emerging and enough experience to make a serious title defense.
The Tigers went 7-1 last year with a slim loss to Irene-Wakonda last year in the regular season and another close loss in the semifinals 36-22. This season Pat Ruml and crew return five starters. The challenge will be replacing two big all-state linemen and finding a new quarterback.
There may not be a better backfield in 9-man football than the one Howard features. Michael Hofer, Zach Pardy and Gavin Reisdorfer present multiple problems for defenses. EJ Leetch leads a very tough defense at defensive end.
The Tigers come out of the chute with home games against Garretson and Canistota/Freeman and have a huge game on September 14th at home against Irene-Wakonda. Those three big games are all on their home turf.
Howard could explode some scoreboards this season. They should be shooting for the dome or bust this season.
The Jags will miss much of the size that made them dominant the past two years (Graduated five 200+ pounders), but the skill is still there. Last season they ran the table all the way until the championship game and lost in overtime to Britton-Hecla.
Blake Moke and Caysen Eide will take over this season for the Jaguars. Moke wasn’t used to pass the ball very often during the regular season but came up big in the playoffs and has the potential to be one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the class. Eide is a quick back who should be the bell cow for C-S this year.
The Jags rolled through their schedule last year, however they’ll have to get past Alcester-Hudson on the road this year and visit Colome on October 5th this season to match last year’s record.
Head Coach Jason Broughton will have some playmakers and some emerging talent up front to work with. They should be a contender once again.
Warner fought hard to a 6-2 regular season and narrowly missed a chance to play for a title last season, they lost 24-20 in the semis to Britton-Hecla. This season they’ll have some new faces but will continue to be a 9A contender.
Zach Jones may be the most talented player on the team as a guard and defensive end. He’ll pave the way for some players like Wyatt Larson, Daylin Simon, Spencer Ketterling, and Levi Wiedbush among many others. Still a lot of decisions to be made for this up and coming group as far as playing time is concerned.
The first half of the season should be doable for Warner even though they have a tough game against Faulkton Area on August 24, however the second half of the year things heat up. They go on the road to Onida on October 14th and come back home for Bon Homme on September 28 and North Border on October 12th.
Warner may have a few setbacks during the regular season but they should be hitting their stride by the playoffs. This is a sneaky good team that could cause some ruckus on their way to a title hunt.
5. CLARK/WILLOW LAKE
The Cyclones got out to a 5-0 start before struggling down the stretch and eventually losing in the first round of the playoffs 34-12 to Britton-Hecla.
Grayson Florey exploded for several big games last year and should get a big share of the workload this year. Caleb Orris leads an experienced defense for the Cyclones.
Expect another great start to the season, however once the Cyclones take a trip to Britton on September 21st the season starts for real. The following week they go to Webster and they finish off at home against Hamlin.
How they play down the stretch will determine if they’re a true contender or not. Grayson Florey will have a huge season but they’ll need to reload at quarterback and several line positions to stay strong down the stretch.
PLAYERS TO WATCH IN CLASS 9A
|Grayson Florey||Sr.||Clark/Willow Lake||RB/LB|
|Stanley Haskins Jr.||Jr.||Britton-Hecla||RB/DL/LB|
|Tucker Kraft||Sr.||Timber Lake||LB|
|Jacob McNutt||Sr.||New Underwood||WR/S|
|Peter Rausch||Sr.||Potter County||LB|
|Dawson Simon||Sr.||Potter County||WR|
JASON ANDERA'S 2018 9A PROJECTIONS