Preview of St. Mary's Knights football team.
The St. Mary’s Knights have very high expectations for this football season. “We have a big and talented Senior Class,” Coach Brent Kucera said. “We are a team built on size and strength, with great running backs.”
Coaches: Brent Kucera, Matt Andres, Mark Simon, Mark Simon, Andy Hoffmann
Players lost to graduation: Nick Labat, Blake Steffesmeier, Marcus Lang, Zach Rutscher, Kyle Fischer and Mike Ludewig.
Seniors: Patrick Hoffmann, Brad Balko, Jon Balko, Anthony Helget, Riley Strate, Spencer Hoffman, Caleb Schumacher, and Braden Hansen.
Players to watch:
Coach Kucera said:
“Riley Strate is the biggest name to watch this year. He has missed most of the last two seasons due to injury. He is the key guy for our defense and could a dominant Running Back.
“Joey Herzog — we are making a strong effort to get him more involved on offense. He is dynamic with his athleticism. I think he will surprise a lot of people this season. We have not had anyone this elusive in a long time.
“Braden Hansen will be a newcomer to the offense this year as a Senior. He will be a great change of pace TE for the offense.
“The combination of Anthony Helget, Brad Balko, and Jon Balko — three Senior linemen that average 260 pounds. They have shown at practice that they are mentally focused to dominate the line of scrimmage this year.
“Jacob Stevens is our returning Defensive MVP. He is an all around great player on both sides of the ball.
“Kaleb Wait will be a very deceptive Safety for our defense. You can not trick him and he knows how to find the ball. I expect him to have multiple interceptions this year.
“Patrick Hoffmann moves to a new role on offense as our ‘H-Back.’ This position is built for a person of his skill set. This will be very key in complimenting our strengths of the team which is size and strength of the line at our Running Backs, Trent Steffensmeier and Riley Strate.”
Top teams this year:
While Kucera expects a good year for the Knights, he had good things to say about the following teams:
•Hills Beaver Creek - I think they are the number one 9man team in the State overall. They have most of their team back and the best QB/RB combo we have seen in awhile.
•Mountain Lake is the defending State Champion.
•Edgerton Ellsworth will be tough. They have a Division 1 lineman on their roster.
•Renville County West has a lot of talent returning. They could have competed for the State Championship this year.