Bucs football ready for a change
They say change is inevitable. That certainly is the case with the 2015 edition of the Blue Earth Area football team. Three offensive and three defensive starters are all that remain from last year’s state qualifying team.
Ironically the three returning starters on offense are playing different positions this year. Bailey Olson makes the move from wide receiver to quarterback, a position he played earlier in his career. Kolt Gorg moves from the offensive line to running back and Jarod Armon slides out one spot on the offensive line from guard to tackle.
Brandon Olson, out with an injury for much of last year, also brings some experience to the offensive backfield as a running back.
The defense has Caleb Jordan returning as a defensive tackle, Gorg, who moves from outside linebacker into the middle linebacker role, and Bailey Olson who will be playing safety.
Nineteen seniors and 23 juniors return to the squad with 22 being returning lettermen.
Perhaps the next biggest change is the schedule. The Prep Bowl is played at TCF Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Gophers and also the Minnesota Vikings (until their new stadium is completed). Conflicts in scheduling led to the Prep Bowl being played earlier than normal which necessitated that the high school football season start two weeks earlier than normal. The Bucs will actually have three games under their belt before Labor Day this year, compared to one normally.
Unlike most years when the team is able to get a scrimmage in before their first game, this year there was no scrimmage.
“Everything is speeded up this year,” says Bucs mentor Randy Kuechenmeister. “We are still in the process of figuring out what we do best to become the best team that we can be.”
Change has also come to the alignment of Minnesota’s high school football teams. Teams no longer play a conference schedule. The state is now divided into districts. Blue Earth Area is a member of the South Central District comprising 28 teams. The South Central District is then split into three different sub-districts as listed on the Minnesota State High School League website.
The South Central District has the Red, White, and Blue sub-districts. The South Central Red is made up of 10 schools having the largest enrollment, the South Central Blue has the 10 smaller schools and the South Central White has the eight schools that fall in the middle.
Blue Earth Area is in the South Central White. This would be similar to their conference under the old system. The other teams grouped with the Bucs are Luverne, Martin County West, Pipestone Area, Redwood Valley, Windom Area, Jackson County Central, and St. James Area.
Blue Earth Area also dropped a class size this year and will compete in Class AA after being in Class AAA the last three years. Luverne and Jackson County Central are Class AAA teams while the remaining teams in the South Central White are Class AA teams.
Come playoff time the Bucs are grouped with seven other teams in Section 2AA. The other teams in the section are Maple River, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, Kenyon-Wanamingo, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, Le Sueur-Henderson, and Medford.
Section playoffs begin Oct. 14 and the Class AA state champion will be crowned Nov. 13.