Dragons going for 4th consecutive Section 3A championshipADRIAN — Coming off a 10-2 season and a third consecutive Section 3A championship, the Adrian Dragons have sustained a solid high school football tradition under the guidance of long-time head coach Randy Strand, who begins his 28th season in charge of the program this fall.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
ADRIAN — Coming off a 10-2 season and a third consecutive Section 3A championship, the Adrian Dragons have sustained a solid high school football tradition under the guidance of long-time head coach Randy Strand, who begins his 28th season in charge of the program this fall.
“We graduated a lot of good players off of last year’s team,” Strand said. “But, that’s what happens at schools our size. We do return some key guys, and we have a lot of kids who have a passion to play football.”
The Dragons, however, have only five seniors on this year’s roster, and a lack of experienced depth may hamper the squad — at least early in the campaign.
Adrian returns a pair of senior standouts who each earned all-conference honors in the Little Sioux Conference as juniors in 2011.
Jake Tiede (6-1, 210) returns as a rugged middle linebacker and bruising offensive fullback. Tiede, who led the Dragons in tackles last season, was injured (broken ankle) early in Adrian’s sectional championship (26-22) victory over Wabasso.
His absence was certainly felt in the Dragons’ 34-15 loss to Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s in the state tournament quarterfinals.
“Jake’s fully recovered and is ready for this season,” summed up Strand about Tiede. “He did a lot for us last year, and we expect him to contribute even more as a senior.”
Classmate Jake Diekmann (6-1, 270) returns as the starting left tackle on offense and will also man a tackle position on Adrian’s defensive line. He was on of the league’s best linemen last season and his size, experience and football savvy give Strand a mainstay to build around.
“Jake Diekmann is a big, strong guy who moves well and gives us a solid anchor in both our offensive and defensive lines,” praised Strand. “His return is one of our strengths.”
Looking to join Diekmann along the AHS starting offensive line are junior Dillon John (6-0, 185) at center, junior Andy McCann (5-11, 175) and sophomore Jesse Slater (6-0, 175) at guards, along with freshman Matt Slater (6-0, 160) at right tackle.
Senior Adam Garms (6-5, 185) returns as the starting tight end, while senior Jordan Preuss (6-2, 155) is lining up as the Dragons’ split end.
In the backfield, Tiede will be the fullback, while junior Jordan Dingmann (5-9, 150) is getting the nod at the tailback position, running behind Tiede.
The leading quarterback candidates are senior Nate Loosbrock (5-9, 150) and freshman Logan Rogers (5-10, 160).
“Nate and Logan will both start in our backfield,” Strand said. “One will be our quarterback, and the other will play wingback. We (the coaching staff) have to decide which way will make us a better team.”
On defense, many of the same players will see action, as the early first string has Garms and John playing the defensive ends, while Diekmann and Jesse Slater return in the trenches as the tackles.
Junior Jacob Bullerman-Diekmann (5-7, 150) will join Tiede as an inside linebacker in Adrian’s 4-4 defensive alignment, while Dingmann and Matt Slater are the early leaders at the outside linebacking positions.
Loosbrock and Preuss are the top two cornerback candidates and will join Rogers, the safety, in the starting AHS defensive secondary.
Junior Jordan Bertrand (5-11, 130), along with sophomores Brady Lonneman (6-3, 150) and Cody Polzine (5-10, 145), will also play in the defensive backfield, while sophomore Tony Sieve (5-11, 165) and junior Sid Kounlabout (6-2, 155) provide good depth as linebackers.
Up front, the Dragons will look for support from juniors Austin Kamm (6-1, 285) and Trey Henning (6-0, 160) along with sophomores Alex Vasquez (5-8, 195) and Tanner Kamm (6-0, 205) on the offensive and defensive lines.
“For us, everything starts with our line,” concluded Strand. “We need to win those battles in the trenches, which allow us to establish the run.”
After opening the season at home Thursday against MACCRAY, the Dragons travel to tangle with always-tough Minneota Sept. 7.