Keeping it simple is theme fror Northome-Kelliher football team
Many high school players and coaches have a tendency to look too far into the future when assessing team goals. At Northome-Kelliher, however, the outlook is kept simple.
"Our goal is always to win our next game," said Mustangs coach Derrick Gross.
Last fall N-K accomplished that goal more often than not as the Mustangs compiled a 6-2 record in the regular season and split a pair of Section 7 Nine-Man games. In its playoff opener Northome-Kelliher edged Northwoods 28-24 but its season ended a game later when it fell 26-6 at Ely.
Gross is expecting another successful campaign although how far the Mustangs will go may depend upon the health of his players.
"We have a solid group of really great kids," the coach said. "Win or lose, I'm really looking forward to the season.
"Our overall numbers are down a little so we don't have as much depth as we'd hoped. But if we can avoid injuries and improve our depth by bringing along some of our younger players, we'll have a good year," Gross added.
The Mustangs return 11 lettermen including seniors Isaiah Rahier, Mark Geerdes and Brody Grundmier.
Also back are juniors Cody Rankin, Eli Rahier, Dylan Villeran, Adrian Pink, Shawn O'Neil and Donald Lindquist, sophomore Cal Roosdett plus freshman Joseph Weidenborner.
"We are a fairly experienced group and that should be a strength," Gross said. "I think we also have good speed and we expect to be a physical team."
Gross said that the coaches will rely on every player on the roster and he expects to open with seven players going both ways.
A probable starting offense could see Lindquist at center, O'Neil at guard, Pink at tackle, Villeran as the tight end, Rankin in the flat, Roosdett as the split end, Eli Rahier as the fullback, Geerdes as the tailback and Isaiah Rahier as the quarterback.
Defensively the coach could use Grundemier and Villeran at the ends, Lindquist and Pink at the tackles, Roosdett, Eli Rahier, Geerdes and Rankin as the linebackers and Isaiah Rahier at safety.
"Geerdes and Isaiah Rahier are our leaders," Gross said. "How far they can take us I don't know. But I do know that these two will be leading from the front when we get there."
The Mustangs open the season Friday at home against McGregor. Other road games will be Sept. 13 against Nevis, Sept. 27against Onamia and Oct. 16 against Wrenshall.
Northome-Kelliher's road schedule includes games at Isle (Sept. 6), at Lake of the Woods (Sept. 20), at Hill City (Oct. 4) and at Remer (Oct. 11).
8/30 McGregor, 7 p.m.
9/6 at Isle, 7 p.m.
9/13 Nevis, 7 p.m.
9/20 at Lake of the Woods, 7 p.m.
9/27 Onamia, 7 p.m.
10/4 at Hill City, 7 p.m.
10/11 at Northland-Remer, 7 p.m.
10/16 Wrenshall, 7 p.m.
10/22 Section 7 playoffs, TBD