Football team begins season focused on State
Photo courtesy of Enstrom Studios
The running Rebels are reloading with aspirations to continue tradition and to make another trip to a State Championship football appearance.
Head Coach Dave Louzek, in his 15th season, is the defensive coordinator.
Louzek has a crew of experienced coaches behind him to take the troops and to make the most of the squad.
“Andy Dahl is our offensive coordinator,” said Louzek. "Our head assistant coach, as he calls himself, is James Bohaty.
"Kevin Szczyrbak is an assistant, as are Tony Andres and Matt Hosmer. Wes Cummins and Scott Battaglia handle to junior varsity tea.
Most of them have four or five years with us so it’s nice to that consistency.”
The Rebels were 13-1 last year and the year before as they blazed their way to shots at State Champion ships.
“We finished second the last two years,” stated Louzek. "The lat three out of four years were second in Class AA.
"It’s seven years in a row as Section Champs and eight of those since 2000.
"We lost nine offensive starters and nine defensive starters. Our returning starters or Ezra Szczyrbak and Hunter Herzog on the offensive line. On defense, it’s Ezra and linebacker Brett Hawkins."
Louzek spoke to the haves “At offensive tight ends Ike Pederson and Cody Gerard and Charlie Adamczak will be in that mix,” he said.
“The tackles are Josh Butterfield and Jeremiah Chavez. The guards are Hunter and Ezra. The center is Trevor Bailey.
"Brad Fossum is at quarterback. The fullback is a competition between Dylan Lovegreen and Milan Dragicevich. The running backs are Alex Kenemore, Josh Pettersen and Jon Evenson.
"With as many new starters, the biggest thing is they will need to learn is to have consistency and make decisions and adjustments in the huddle.
"They will just need to get more comfortable in running the varsity offense. We won’t have the speed we had last year, but Josh Pettersen will be one of the fastest running backs in the area.
“On defense, it will be Charlie and Ezra at D tackle. We will have Hunter and Josh Leonard.
"The middle linebacker is Brett Hawkins and Jeremiah Chavez. The outside linebackers will be David Moonen and Jon Evenson.
"The cornerbacks will be Ike Pettersen and Alex Kenemore and our safety is JJ Sayler.
"Again, with a big turnover from last’s team, the new starters will have to become comfortable and make adjustment during the game.
"We have decent speed and will continue to bring people to the ball. We’ve always done that and will continue to do that.”
Louzek named the captains. “They are Jon Evenson, Ezra and Hunter,” he said.
“Overall, right now, the biggest strength is team chemistry in the locker room and on the field. They work hard in practice and after practice, in the weight room."Jon Evenson is the strongest kid. He’s made the 1100 Pound Club and just 75 pounds away from the 1300 pound club and that’s very impressive.
"We will be overcoming that lack of experience and we will be developing that mind set of competing in the State Tournament and competing for a state championship.
"Hermantown, our opening at game at home this Thursday, will be a great opening game for us.
"We have Esko at Proctor for week two.
"We played Duluth Marshall in the Section final last year and we look for them to be good again with their new coach back."
The coach wrapped it up.
“As a coaching staff, we’re very excited to have all these new position opportunities with the competition for spots to work with,” he said.
“We are hoping to be continuing the Rebel football tradition.”