CALEDONIA FOOTBALL 2015: BUCKLE YOUR SEAT BELTS, IT'S GONNA BE A FUN RIDE
Caledonia Football 2015: Buckle your seat belts, it's gonna be a fun ride
By Dugan Thomas
CALEDONIA, MN - 08/21/2015
The toll sits at 5 state titles in the last 8 years for Caledonia Football. An impressive fact to say the least, but not impressive enough for the Caledonia Football program...they want em' all.
The 2009 state quarterfinal loss to Waterville-Elysian-Morristown still stings. W-E-M won it all that year.
The 2013 section championship overtime loss to Chatfield really stings. Chatfield won it all in 2013 as well.
The 2014 state semi-final loss to BOLD in the snow at Eden Prairie is still fresh in Caledonia's minds. BOLD had the state title in their grasps, but lost in double overtime to Holdingford.
2015 is a new year for Caledonia Football. They want it all again, and they have a team capable of doing it.
The summer 7-on-7 circuit has been a staple for Caledonia Football over the years. In the summer of 2015 it was incredible.
7-on-7 is for skill position players. Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends on offense. Linebackers, and defensive backs on defense.
Caledonia competed in and won the U of M sponsored 7-on-7 title at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis on June 10th. They beat some of the biggest schools in the state. Maple Grove, Mankato West, Cretin Derham Hall, Menomonie (WI), and Lakeville South. These schools have enrollments in the thousands. Caledonia has an enrollment of 218.
I was unable to cover the event, so I messaged Editor-in-Chief Adam Rossow of Northstar Football News to give me his thoughts on Caledonia's performance:
"The first thing I noticed, both at the U and MSU-Mankato, was how hard the Caledonia players on the field are competing. I think that's a testament to what Brent and Carl have done as coaches, to make each and every kid want to win the battle against whomever is lined up across from them."
"On a more individual level, I thought Tanner Gran was the most impressive player at the U of M tournament. He routinely matched up against the opposition's best athlete and was never outmatched or outplayed."
"I could also tell that Mitchell Schmitz was the leader of the defense, just by the way he communicated and made calls to make sure the defense was in the correct spot."
"Lastly, I was impressed with Owen King's arm strength and size as a sophomore. I even joked with Carl that the staff was actually going to have to try and pass the ball more than two or three times a game, because of his talent."
Thank you Adam Rossow for your expertise and insight. That is music to the ears of the Caledonia Football faithful, and we couldn't be more proud of our football program.
The full-contact Augustana Football Camp in Sioux Falls, SD in late June is always the true measuring stick for the upcoming season.
Head Coach Brent Schroeder told me, "I didn't think we'd win a game all year long after the first day of the Augustana camp. We didn't have any fire, and we were flat as hell. The second and third day we came alive. We made an adjustment and put Tanner Gran at linebacker, and it was game over. We came through the scrimmage finals, and almost won the King of KO end of camp scrimmage. We took Brandon Valley, SD to sudden death OT, but we couldn't pull it out on the last play."
I also went through the Warriors roster position-by-position with Coach Schroeder. This is how they will stack up this year.
Brand new sophomore sensation Owen King will be the leader of the team at quarterback this year. An 8th grade starter on the basketball court, everyone knows Owen's athletic ability. This year we'll get to see his arm, and it's rumored to be a Division-I talent arm. The scouts are already salivating with his work in the summer camps.
Starting running backs will be seniors Mitchell Schmitz and Sam Stemper. Two returning starter workhorses who are as tough as they come. Senior Tanner Gran had 379 yards rushing in 2014 with 9 total TD's. He'll be a major player at running back and wide receiver as well. Ben McCabe flashed his speed and moves last year, he'll be getting the rock in the Warriors backfield. Junior Alex Goergen and senior Jacob Winjum will also get their chance to be mixed in. The Warriors backfield is stacked.
Wide receivers will be the lightning quick blonde sensation Colton Lampert, and the aforementioned multi-talented Tanner Gran. Sean McGonigle and Jacob Winjum will be in the mix at WR as well, with Ezekiel Ott and Symon Ely at tight end.
The offensive line starts with the man in the middle. Shifting over to be the leader of this group is the massive senior Hunter Hoscheit. I feel bad for the kids that have to line-up opposite #75, because if they do, it's gonna be a long night. The guard spots will be occupied by the triumphant return of Blake Mauss for his senior season, and returning senior starter Joe Schieber. The tackle spots are senior Eli Craig, who had an incredible year last year, and newcomer junior Brandon Robley. Massive junior Nick Logging will be the next man up.
The defensive side of the ball starts with the stacked 4/4 defensive juggernaut of coach Brent Schroeder. Ezekiel Ott has been turning heads in the summer camps with his size and speed off the edge at defensive end. Eli Craig can do it all on defense, and he'll be manning the other DE spot. Tackles will be Blake Mauss and Joe Schieber, with Hunter Hoscheit giving them a loaded front end.
The linebacker group is as talented as they come. Mitchell Schmitz is the leader of this defense, his size, speed, and toughness are second to none. Sam Stemper is fully healed and 100% full go, ready to prove himself again this year. Junior Alex Goergen had an awesome season in his first year starting in 2014. The state wrestling stud is healthy and ready to show off his skills at LB again. The special teams MVP is a great punter and kicker as well. Tanner Gran became a star at LB this summer, the kid can flat out play ball.
Cornerbacks will be the lockdown Jacob Winjum, with Sean McGonigle earning his starter stripes at Augustana this summer. The speedster Ben McCabe will be the starting safety.
The coaches are Hall of Fame worthy, no doubts there. Schroeder, Fruechte, Knutson, Mullins, Hauser, the list goes on. The best coaching staff in the state.
This is your 2015 Caledonia Warriors football squad. It looks impressive and it definitely is, but they have to go out this year and prove it. Nothing is won in the off-season, it's a full-season of week-by-week being the best they can be. By November, we'll know who's the best. Caledonia football has 14 weeks to be the best in Class AA. I can't wait to see what they've got.
First up, La Crescent. I personally played La Crescent in the fall of 1989 and 1990 with Caledonia football. We beat them soundly both years, and it was one of the best feelings I've ever had as an athlete. Hopefully the rivalry continues, because it's been a great one for a long time, and it needs to continue.
Caledonia vs. La Crescent at CaledoniaHigh School Stadium. This Saturday August 22nd, .