Long-time rivals collide in the season opener for both as Sioux City East visits Class 3A second ranked Sioux City Heelan. East coach Bob Goodvin has tabbed Marcel Dunson as his starting quarterback but won’t be the only signal caller for the Black Raiders.
Goodvin says the other two quarterbacks will see some playing time too, and they tend to throw the ball more.
Meanwhile for perennial playoff contender Bishop Heelan some of the faces have changed but coach Roger Jansen isn’t planning on changing the X’s and O’s. He says they will plug the schemes into the personnel they have and try to keep the other offense off the field.
Jansen tabbed junior Trenton Solsma as the Heelan quarterback taking over for three year starter Paul Jacobson. Solsma is counting on his veteran offensive line to give him time to make plays.
East and Bishop Heelan meet tonight for the 75th time with Heelan leading the overall series 45-27-2. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Heelan’s Memorial Field.
One thing we do know about the 2012 high school football season is that there will be a new champion in Class 3A. Union won last year’s title, but the Knights will compete in Class 2A this season. Union coach Joe Hadachek says he doesn’t expect a big drop-off in competition.
Hadacek says some of the top teams in 2A can compete in 3A and he says Solon is a good example. The Knights return a couple of big time playmakers in quarterback Jay Scheel and wideout Trev Hadachek, the coach’s son. Coach Hadachek says the two always seem to know what the other is thinking.
“Those two have a special connection, not only on the field, but off the field they are good friends,” Hadacek says.
Scheel took over at quarterback after an injury to the younger Hadachek midway through the regular season last year.
Coach Hadachek says that with the experience of leading a team to the UNI-Dome under his belt, Scheel should be a more complete quarterback this year. He says you can’t replace experience in that position, and he expects that experience to make Scheel a better passer and more confident leader overall.
The Knights open the season at home against Center Point-Urbana, another team that is in Class 2A this season after playing 3A ball last year.
Expectations are high at Council Bluffs St. Albert where the Class 1A second ranked Falcons open on the road at Griswold. Coach Kevin Culjat’s team borrowed a theme from many college basketball programs as they conducted their own version of “Midnight Madness” to open pre-season practice.
He says the weather was so hot, they were practicing in the evening anyway and he says practicing at 12:01 a.m. allowed the kids to practice and then sleep the rest of the day. Culjat says the Falcons will be tested by Griswold.
Two teams that lost in the quarterfinal round of the 2011 playoffs to eventual state champions collide as class 2A second ranked Mediapolis visits class A ninth ranked Lone Tree. Mediapolis has a number of key players back from last year’s team.
Mediapolis coach Brian Borrison who says there are always question marks heading into a season opener. Lone Tree has eight senior starters returning from last year’s team that finished 10-2 but coach Regan Stone says there are some holes to fill.
Stone says it will be good to answer some of the questions in the first two non-district games, and the team is looking forward to them.
Class 3A top ranked Decorah opens at home against Waverly-Shell Rock. The Vikings have several starters back from last year’s team that finished as the state runner-up and coach Bill Post says his team is ready for a game.
Post knows expectations in the community are high for this season. “It’s good to see the excitement…that’s what fans and everybody else is for, but as a coach, it’s a whole different ballgame,” Post says.
Post says the Vikings know they enter the season with a target on their back. “I can feel it, I sense it and I know the guys to a certain degree do,” Post says. He says he isn’t stressing it much to the team, he just tells them to prepare for each opponent.
Class A 10th ranked Lynnville-Sully opens at home against class 1A-eighth ranked Pella Christian. Lynnville-Sully has several starters back from last year’s team that finished 8-3 and made it two the second round of the state playoffs.
This will be the fist time these schools have met on the football field.
Two top ten teams face off at the UNI-Dome tonight as 7th ranked Cedar Falls host #9 Iowa City High. The Tigers graduated three Division One players from last year’s semifinalist team, including All-State running back Barkley Hill. Coach Pat Mitchell says Cedar Falls will use several backs to fill Hill’s shoes.
The Tigers eliminated City High from the 4A playoffs last fall. Mitchell says there’s really no way of telling how the Little Hawks will line up defensively.
One thing Cedar Falls is expecting is a heavy dose of Amos Lavella from the City High offense. The senior is starting for the third season at Cedar Falls co-head coach Brad Remmert says the Tigers have to assume he’ll play a big part in the Little Hawk offense.
Justin Barker KSCJ Sioux City; Jesse Gavin KCNZ, Cedar Falls; Darin Svenson KDEC Decorah, all contributed to this story.