Fire football rebuilding for 2012 season

After losing many seniors last season, the Holy Family football team is viewing 2012 as a rebuilding year.

The Fire finished the 2011 season 10-2 overall. Their only loss of the regular season came in a 17-6 contest against New London-Spicer on Sept. 23. The post season was cut short when Holy Family fell 34-10 to Fairmont in the state quarter finals on Nov. 11. The 2011 Fire offense was strong, winning many games by over two touchdowns including a 50-14 victory over Escanaba (Michigan), a 40-12 win over New Ulm, a 41-14 game versus Duluth Denfeld, and a 42-0 blow out against Jordan.

This season, the Fire will become a member of the Wright County Conference, joining a competitive conference that also welcomes New London-Spicer this season. The WCC now consists of 11 schools, including Holy Family, New London-Spicer, Annandale, Dassel-Cokato, Delano, Hutchinson, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Litchfield, Mound-Westonka, Orono, and Waconia.

Holy Family head coach Dave Hopkins said the Panthers of Glencoe-Silver Lake are the favorite to win the WCC this season. With what Hopkins calls a “decent mix of size and athleticism” the team returns many key players, despite the losses from last season. The offense returns seniors Connor Byrnes, Tom Green, and Derek Ogren. Byrnes, Green, and Ogren are also the key returners for the defensive effort of the Fire. Key newcomers to the team, according to Hopkins, include seniors Ben Baker, Connor Riddle, and AJ Eskew, along with sophomore Chazz Johnson to add to the Fire offense this year. Baker and Riddle are expected to play a key part in the defensive effort as well, along with the fresh faces to the starting lineup of seniors Jimmy Curran, Stephen Kohler, Rob LaRose, Charlie Marschall, and David Westerhaus, all of whom played in games last season.

This is Hopkins’ 11th season at Holy Family. He holds a career record of 68-38. The season kicks off Aug. 31 at Glencoe-Silver Lake, with the first home game on Sept. 7. Homecoming is Sept. 21.