COLFAX — Coming off a 2-7 season in which they won their first and last game but lost all the rest in between, the Colfax football team along with head coach Mark Maloney thinks their team unity and extra time in the weight room in the off season will allow them to improve on that record this season.
The Vikings will have to replace starting quarterback Dillon Lloyd along with running back/defensive back Michael Hover and lineman Trevor Secraw as well as leading receiver/defensive back Cody Zivcic and Austin Lee and Reed Gibson who all graduated. Hover and Secraw were All Conference players and Secraw hopes to be on the roster for UW-Eau Claire this fall.
A strong core of returning letter winners should be able to lead the troops this year according to third year coach Maloney.
“We really worked on team unity starting last spring to emphasize football is a team sport and everyone needs to work together to be successful,” he said. “We had a large group of kids in the weight room on a steady basis over the summer and they are eager to make a change in the conference standings. Our goal is to increase our win total and make it to playoffs but we need to have a winning record in conference games to do that.”
It won’t be an easy task if the Vikings want to get to playoffs for the first time since 2006. Every game will be tough, especially in the conference with defending Division 7 state champion Glenwood City returning a lot of their players from last season. Maloney also expects Mondovi to be a contender and possibly St. Croix Central.
At least five different players will play running back this year including seniors Noah Pretasky, Ethin Kiekhafer (a receiver the past three seasons) and juniors Sawyer DeMoe, Jeremiah Wait and Andrew Adix. Pretasky and Kiekhafer were both All Conference picks as juniors.
“We have a lot of good athletes on this team and we want to get the ball in their hands as much as possible,” Maloney said. “Running with the ball should be one of our strengths this season.”
Other seniors with varsity experience expected to help out are lineman Nolan Prince, Rhett Kragness, Devin Utpadel, Logan Sikora, Peter Lyrek, Tyson Hellmann and Colton Breezee. Troy Bird also returns as a receiver and defensive back.
Juniors include receivers Brett Johnson and Tucker Teige, while Trevor Olson, Ben Kragness and Brandon Anderson will spend time on the line, possible on both sides of the ball.
Sophomore Jarrod Rudi is expected to take over the quarterback duties and Jacob Steinke will fill a receiver slot while Hunter Clementson will do some running with the ball and Brett Prince (also a cross country runner) may play some quarterback. Other sophomores include linemen Ross Taylor, Jake Floodquist, Stephan Snyder, Ben Christianson and Zach Meyer.
Freshmen rounding out the roster are running backs Alimu Davis and Cole Anderson-Olson and receivers Bryce Kragness, Austin Dressel and Tyler Snyder.
Maloney is assisted by Joel Steinke and Jeff Prince, both in their sixth year with the team along with first year assistants Carl Rudi, Matt DeMoe and volunteer Chad Evenson.
The Vikings will open the season August 23 at Eleva-Strum who are under the direction of first year head coach Chad Hanson, a fellow Maloney is very familiar with.
“We coached together at Chippewa Falls McDonell years ago so we know each others coaching style very well,” he said. “It should be an interesting match up for our opening game.”