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Bayside Chatter

The Mariners open their 2013 football season at Littlefork versus the Littlefork/Big Falls Vikings at noon on Thursday, Aug. 29.The Mariners return seven starters on offense and six on defense, as they graduated only three players from last year's team.

With senior Michael Klofstad volunteering and wanting the center position, that filled one hole on offense as they needed to replace a guard and a center. Sophomores Brandon Johnson and Carter LeBlanc along with junior Troy LeBlanc are the top candidates for the other guard position. Senior Luke Small returns at quarterback. He completed 39 of 92 passes last season for 585 yards and eight touchdowns.He also rushed for 251 yards and four more TDs.

Senior Jonah Koehler returns at running back.He led the team last season with 661 yards, eight touchdowns and 56 points. Seniors Eben Fischer and Chad Smuk return at tailback/tight end and fullback/tight end, respectively. They were the Mariners' top two receivers last season.Fischer had 10 receptions for 204 yards and Smuk had 11 for 109 yards.Sophomore Nathan Bauck who saw quite a bit of action last season will be at wide receiver/running back, which leaves another position on the line to be filled according to what formation they are in. Only the guards and center are ineligible to catch passes in nine man football.

Small,Fischer,Klofstad and Bauck are the top returning tacklers for the Mariner defense.For the most part, the Bay plays four down linemen,four linebackers and a deep man. It leaves one lineman and two linebacker positions to be replaced.

The Mariners open the home portion of their schedule on Sept. 6, versus North Woods.They will travel to play Mountain Iron-Buhl,Ely and South Ridge.They will host Chisholm, Northeast Range and Cherry. The Mariners are in the south division of the Big North Conference with Chisholm,Cherry,North Woods and South Ridge.The north division has Ely, Littlefork, Bigfork, Mountain Iron and Northeast Range.

The Mariners finished last season with a record of 2-7.They lost at Cromwell in the first round of the playoffs.Smuk and Small were all-conference last season and Koehler received honorable mention. I look for this team to win at least as many games as they lose.

The Mariner volleyball team opens 2013 play at Ely on Aug. 27. Their first home contest is against Cook County on Sept. 3.The Mariners finished the 2012 season with a record of 10-11. They won a playing game against Wrenshall before falling to South Ridge in section 7A play.The Mariners graduated half their varsity roster last season and will be a rather young squad this season.

Local stock car racer Deven VanHouse is doing very well in the Midwest Modified division on the local tracks this summer. He is currently second at Proctor, third at Superior and first at Hibbing in the points standings.