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Gridders open with old rival

By Staff | Aug 31, 2009

The renewal of an old rivalry and a game in St. Paul highlight two of the biggest changes in the schedule for the 2009 Buccaneer’s football team.

Practice began on Aug. 17 for the team.

Following a scrimmage at Maple River on Aug. 29, the Bucs will travel to Wells on Sept. 4 to face the USC Rebels in their first game of the season. It has been a number of years since the cross-county rivals have squared off on the grid iron.

“This should be fun for both schools,” comments Bucs Head Coach Randy Kuechenmeister. “It’s a good rivalry.”

The Bucs open their conference schedule on Sept. 11 as they host the Waseca Bluejays. The Bluejays return a large number of players from last year and are one of two teams that are favored to battle for the conference crown.

“Sam Milbrett of Waseca is probably the best back in the conference,” says Kuechenmeister.

A trip to St. Paul to face St. Paul Humbolt at Griffin Stadium on Sept. 19 for a Saturday non-conference game will give the team a chance to face an opponent that is completely unfamiliar to them.

USC and St. Paul Humbolt replaced Jackson County Central and Windom Area from previous year’s schedules.

The Bucs will stay on the road the following week as they travel to St. James to face the Saints. They return home the next week to host New Ulm on Oct. 2 for their homecoming game.

Fairmont, the other favorite for the conference title, will come to Blue Earth on October 9 to square off against the Bucs in the battle for the Little Brown Jug.

“The Cardinals have a lot of talent, a good quarterback, and will be very tough this year,” states Kuechenmeister.

The Bucs continue their season with a game at Waseca in a non conference match-up before wrapping up the regular season hosting the St. Peter Saints on Oct. 20.

Ten seniors, 17 juniors, 18 sophomores and 21 freshmen are out for football this year.

The Bucs return most of their experienced players in the offensive and defensive backfields while they are most inexperienced in the line. They will however, have some good size on both sides of the line.

Garrett Anderson returns at quarterback and will have some familiar receivers to throw to, with Nate Carr, Joe Franta, Jared Smith and Collin Nienhaus all returning from last year. Nick Lee also comes back after missing last year due to knee surgery.

Senior Taylor Andrews returns to anchor the line at center. Zach Tvedten will try and build on last year’s late season success as he sees action at running back.

Daniel Eckhardt, who finished third on the team in tackles last year, will help lead the defense from his linebacker position. The Bucs will employ an attacking defense.

“We want to get after people,” says Kuechenmeister.

Other returning seniors this year are Cody Eckhardt, Ryan Ihle, D.J. Gronewold and Erik Zingler.

Kuechenmeister, who begins his 19th year as the head coach, says he has liked what he has seen in the early going.

“The team has a great attitude, they are working hard and are making progress,” he says.