Fulda set to make transition to Class 9-man footballFULDA — The Raider football team opens up the new season with a new conference as Fulda completes its transition to 9-man football.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
FULDA — The Raider football team opens up the new season with a new conference as Fulda completes its transition to 9-man football.
Following many years in the Little Sioux Conference, co-head coaches Mike Pagel and Greg Erdmann’s squad makes its debut in the Southern Confederacy Conference. The Raiders, who will play in the West division, traveled to play Cleveland, a foe from the East portion of the conference, in the season opener.
Fulda is coming off a 3-7 2011 campaign that included an opening-round playoff win over now-conference rival Westbrook-Walnut Grove in the Section 3 9-man playoffs last October.
“We are looking to improve upon the experiences that we had in 9-man towards the end of last season and carry that into this year,” Erdmann said of his hopes for the 2012 campaign. “We would like to be competitive in every game and give ourselves a chance at playing .500 ball.
“We left a tough conference in the Little Sioux for another another tough conference in the Southern Confederacy. We lost some good experience on both sides of the football, but we feel that we have the kids returning that will give us a chance to compete.”
One of the players the Raiders will be without is Max Dibble, a standout linebacker and running back for several years with Fulda. He will be playing college football for Bemidji State University.
“Max was really the centerpiece of both our offense and defense the past few seasons,” Erdmann said. “Losing him along with the likes of Aaron Tiesler, Keith Gehl and Mic Holinka gives us some holes to fill on both sides of the football.”
Erdmann fields a squad of 25 players this year, which includes seven seniors, four juniors, six sophmores and eight freshmen.
“We aren’t the deepest squad, but we will have a lot of good senior leadership,” Erdmann stressed.
Senior quarterback Todd Peterson (170) will lead the Raiders offensively.
“Todd has experience behind center the past two years,” Erdmann said. “He throws a really nice ball and will provide us with good leadership on both sides of the ball.”
Seniors Trevor Ruesch (175) and Zachary Holt (150) will be the primary ball carriers out of the Fulda backfield. Erdmann feels the the two should compliment each other well.
Holt also provides depth at the quarterback position, while seniors John Getting (160) and Mason Trejo (190) may also see some looks at running back.
Peterson’s primary targets in the passing game will be seniors Nathan Getting (155) and Trejo along with junior end Matthew Thier (220).
Fulda’s offensive line will be anchored by junior center Jared Smith (175), while junior Joey Voss (225) and sophomore Tom Salentiny (280) will man the guard positions.
“We have good size up front,” Erdmann said of his offensive line. “With that size and some speed on the outside and in the backfield, we hope be able to do some good things offensively.”
Defensively, Fulda’s front will include Salentiny and Voss along with junior Ryan Schumacher (220), who is battling for time at the defensive tackle position.
Thier and Smith will line up at the defensive end positions, and John Getting and Nathan Getting will be the primary linebackers.
In the secondary, the Raiders will turn to Ruesch, Holt and Peterson to stymie opposing aerial attacks.
Other in the mix for defensive playing time is sophomore Bennett Appel (160) at linebacker, as well as sophomore Bret Cuperus (145) and freshman Brian Fenske (150) in the secondary.
“With the narrower field in the 9-man game, we think that our size and speed will help us adjust quickly to the new conference,” Erdmann said. “Every game on our schedule looks like it will be a battle.
“We hope to stay healthy and be competitive. Going into the opener with Cleveland, we will need to execute on offensive and stop them on D.”
Following Fulda’s opener with Cleveland, the Raiders stay on the road Friday with a game in Westbrook against the Chargers before opening at home in Week 3 with Southwestern United.