Bayside Chatter: Fall sports preview
for the Lake County News-Chronicle
The Mariners open their 2014 football season tonight with a road trip to Bigfork to take on the Huskies.The Huskies, who finished last season 4-6, have to be considered the favorites over the young Mariners.The Huskies traditionally have liked to run the ball behind a big offensive line. Their top returning offensive players are quarterback Ethan Beckman and running back Josh Lovdahl.
The Mariners have to replace center Michael Klofstad, quarterback Luke Small, running back Jonah Koehler, lineman and tight end Chad Smuk and lineman Eben Fischer. Sophomore Hunter Monson is slated to start out as the quarterback. In the backfield will be running back Michael Fischer and wing backs Nathan Bauck and Justin Ketola. Troy LeBlanc takes over at center with Carter LeBlanc and Nick Perfetto at guard. The tight ends will be Brandon Johnson, Cody Peterson and Tanner Ketola. Fischer will handle the kicking. Fischer is the top returning scorer and rusher with 50 points and 631 yards. Bauck, with 10 catches for 167 yards, is the top returning receiver.
On defense, the Mariners will have the LeBlanc cousins, Perfetto, Chip Russell and Peterson up front. In the middle at linebacker will be Johnson, Fischer and Mitchell Bloomberg .The Ketola brothers and Bauck will be at rear at defensive back. Bauck led the team with four interceptions last season. The top returning tacklers are Fischer with 41, Peterson with 35, Johnson with 30 and Bauck with 29.
This team has only three seniors and thus this season could be looked at as a dress rehearsal for next season. The coaches say this group is not afraid of hard work and is very eager to learn. Look for other names to show up as the season progresses as new players step up with on-field contributions and make themselves known. Head coach Ward Kaiser and assistant Jamie Otterblad have switched this season, with Ward running the defense and Jamie now running the offense.
The Mariners got things off last Friday with scrimmage play against both Carlton and Wrenshall.
The Mariners have a killer start to their schedule. After Bigfork, they face two-time defending Section 7 champ Ely, Section 5 runner up South Ridge and Mountain Iron-Buhl. South Ridge and last year's champ Floodwood are my favorites in Section 5 and MIB is my favorite in Section 7.
The Mariners have one of the most unique fields in the state, flanked by agriculture. In one end zone and hill side is an apple orchard. On the hillside next to the bleachers is also a vegetable garden that will be utilized in the school kitchen. Across the field from the bleachers is a huge raspberry patch.
The volleyball team kicked off its season with a loss to Cook County on Tuesday. They lost in three sets 25-14, 25-9 and 25-19. They played Thursday at home and head to Floodwood on Sept. 4.