Caledonia Football 2017: Nothing is Given...Everything is Earned

By Dugan Thomas

Caledonia 2-time All-State quarterback Owen King will be leading his team again in his senior season.

, MN
- 08/30/2017

The 2-time defending state champion Caledonia Warriors return in 2017 riding a 28-game winning streak. They've won 47 straight regular season games, and have taken home the state championship trophy 7 times in the last 10 years. Their 8 total state titles rank 3rd in Minnesota history, only Eden Prairie and Totino-Grace have more.

You would think a team might get complacent after that kind of success. It might actually be a natural way of thinking to expect success.

Success year-after-year-after-year with little or no drop-off. After all, they're just kids, how are they supposed to know any different?

Enter Caledonia head coach Carl Fruechte, and assistant head coach Brent Schroeder.

At practice this past Monday afternoon, this theme was put on full display. When Coach Fruechte and Coach Schroeder noticed a lack of focus, and a lack of enthusiasm and effort by their team, a group talk was in order.

These two coaches have a combined 7 state titles in the last 10 years to their credit. When they notice something and have something to say, you better listen.

The message was clear. Nothing is given automatically...everything is earned by hard work.

Last year is in the past, this is a new year and a new team full of promise, but it has to be earned with hard work and focused dedication to being a better football player, teammate, and student athlete. If there's a problem on or off the field, let's talk about it now and work through it, so we can move forward and put it in the past.

Caledonia football coaches like to teach life lessons through football. Everything they teach through football can relate to later in life. Whether that's as an NFL football player, a United States Navy Seal, the city mayor, a respected leader in the business community, a sports photographer, a school teacher, or just being the best husband and father you can be.

These life lessons learned through football translate, and it's a proven fact in life after Caledonia Football. It's a fundamental challenge that extends not just for your high school career, but for the rest of your life to strive to be the best you can be. That challenge never stops.

2017 Caledonia Warriors

Caledonia Football heads into the 2017 season with incredible talent on the offensive side of the ball coming back from last year. 2-time All-State quarterback Owen King will lead the Warriors offense in his senior season. 28-0 as a starter in his career, King threw for over 2800 yards and 48 touchdowns last season to win a second straight state championship for Caledonia. The South Dakota State basketball recruit has a chance to light-up the record books again this season for the Warriors before he heads west to Brookings for basketball next fall.

King's favorite target, senior Andrew Goergen returns after a 1200-yard plus season and 25 touchdowns. The lightning quick wide receiver is a precision route runner with great hands. It doesn't matter what part of the field Goergen is on, get the ball close and he'll haul it in with yards after the catch.

Returning senior wide receivers Jordan Burg and Sam Barthel bring back a lethal 1-2-3 punch from their experience last year. They really came-on down the stretch in the playoffs, and lit-it-up in the state championship game to blow-out Eden Valley-Watkins. Both have prototypical height (6' 2") and speed for the wide receiver position, with Barthel being one of the fastest football players in southeast Minnesota. They combined for over 800 yards of offense and 15 touchdowns last year. A couple other options at wide receiver and tight end for the Warriors could be (6'5") Marten Morem, Tate Meiners, Noah Kearney, Austin Heim, Kyle Cavanaugh, and Riley Gavin.

The talented workhorse running back Ben McCabe graduated, and is off to Winona State after a 1600 yard, 26 touchdown season. His fill-in could be his younger brother junior Nick McCabe, who showed plenty of promise last year with around 500 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns. He's shifty, with great cut-back ability and good speed. He reminds me of his uncle, the great Carl Fruechte from back in the day.

One running back who locked himself in the weight room over the last year is RB/FB Mason Staggemeyer. #22 definitely looks the part, and he'll need that extra bulk to take the pounding of a more prominent role in his senior season in the backfield and as the Warriors stud linebacker.

Jack Beardmore, Noah Snell, and even Andrew Goergen could get a sniff of some carries out of the backfield this season, and all have plenty of speed and talent to get the job done.

The Warriors offensive line returns only two starters from last year, but they bring back experience and plenty of toughness to lead the group. Seniors Spencer Stemper and Brent Robley return along with David Seymour who started in the playoffs and state championship game. Others on the offensive line to watch for are Walker Spier, Arick Bauer, Brady Rosendahl, and Matt Gavin. This group might lack overall size, but they will be tough, strong, and athletic, a staple of Carl Fruechte's offensive lines.

On the defensive side of the ball the Warriors lost two of the best defensive players of the last decade in defensive end Zeke Ott, and linebacker Alex Goergen. Filling those holes will be a tough task, but I expect returning linebacker studs Mason Staggemeyer, and Jordan Burg, along with defensive tackle Brent Robley will lead the group into battle this season. The defensive line and linebackers will be fast and athletic as always. Austin Heim, Evan Denstad, Noah Snell, Ryan Wagner, Spencer Stemper, Matt Gavin, David Seymour, and Walker Spier will all get their shot, and defensive coach Brent Schroeder will figure it out like he always does. The best defensive coach I've ever seen.

The defensive backfield will be led by returning starter Marten Morem, and the very athletic and talented Andrew Goergen, and Tate Meiners. Meiners was singled out by the coaching staff as one who was working his tail off in preseason camp. He was a special teams star last year, maybe this is the year the junior makes his mark on the defensive side of the ball. Noah Kearney, Kyle Cavanaugh, Nick McCabe, and Sam Barthel will also be ones to watch for in the defensive backfield.

The Caledonia coaching staff is the best in the business, everyone knows that. Very few changes from last year, and the community is blessed to have them. Carl Fruechte, Brent Schroeder, John Hauser, Mitch Mullins, Ernie Hodges, Doug Miller, Ryan Pitts, Brad and Randy King, Dustin King, Luke Lampert, Eddie Hodges, Nick Oeltjen, and Will Speckeen.

Caledonia's regular season schedule will be much tougher this year. Along with Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Triton as tough opponents last year, perennial power Lewiston-Altura was added to the mix. Lake City and Cannon Falls are AAA schools that were also added to the schedule to make the conference more formidable, along with our arch rival Chatfield.

It all starts this Friday night, September 1st, at Caledonia High School, game time 7:00 PM against Lake City. The Warriors definitely have the talent and experience to make another state title run, but will they put in the work and effort, and have enough talent to get the job done? That is the question every year, and I can't wait to find out.

There's nothing like Caledonia Warriors Football. I'll see you Friday night.