Football preview: Looking for some familiarity
The Farmington football team will face three unfamiliar opponents this season with the addition of a non-conference game against Hudson (Wis.) and contests against new Missota Conference members Chaska and Chanhassen.
It seems appropriate, since the Tigers, themselves, might be difficult to recognize. The team lost 33 seniors to graduation from last year's 3-6 squad, and returns just four starters. Gone are the team's starting quarterback, top seven rushers and 18 of its top 20 tacklers from a year ago.
This year's Tigers boast 20 seniors head coach Mark Froehling hopes will help keep the team afloat while the rest of the younger players on the roster acquaint themselves with the varsity game.
"We have a good core of senior athletes who will help our team stay competitive as our young athletes learn and develop," Froehling said. "We have good speed at running back with (Tyler) Grubb and (CJ) Record and some experience at offensive line with (Cory) Johnson, (John) Schimmell and (Tommy) Korbein. Our youth and large number of inexperienced starters give us some uncertainties as we enter the season until they gain some experience playing under the lights on Friday nights."
Froehling has converted Grubb and Record, two of the team's most explosive players, into running backs in an attempt to get the ball in their hands more often. Grubb led the team with 218 receiving yards last year and Record is the team's top returning defensive player after recording 41 tackles and five interceptions.
The duo could be receiving handoffs from any one of three options at quarterback. Nate Graham is back after quarterbacking the sophomore team last year, Darren Beenken returns after taking snaps for the freshman team and junior Dillon Jones has been doing a good job running the offense in practice, according to Froehling.
With Grubb moved to the backfield, receiving duties will go to senior Dayne Eich, juniors Blake Weinand and Austin Bassett and sophomore Alex Chadwick.
Joining Johnson, Schimmell and Korbein on the offensive line will be Tyler Bagley (6-2, 272), Jacob Lee (6-3, 279), Dillon Pariseau (6-5, 295), Bret Hoffman (5-9, 238) and Andy VanBlarcom (5-7, 213).
Korbein will also anchor a defensive line that will likely include Grubb, Hoffman and Eric McWright. They will be backed by a linebacking core that includes Jake Schaeppi, Sebren Baer and Jake Mendala, among others.
Record will be joined in the secondary by Graham, Weinand and a host of other players.