MCC wants to be at the top of the Little SiouxSLAYTON — Heading into his 15th season with the Murray County Central Rebels, head coach Chris Davis has only one expectation. Compete with the powerhouses of the Little Sioux Conference.
By: Jordan Willi, Worthington Daily Globe
SLAYTON — Heading into his 15th season with the Murray County Central Rebels, head coach Chris Davis has only one expectation.
Compete with the powerhouses of the Little Sioux Conference.
“For us to compete with the big boys in the conference, we need to stay healthy, be more consistent and get great leadership from our seniors,” Davis said.
After going 4-5 (4-4 in confer-ence) last season, the Rebels are looking to improve their record and return to relevance in the Little Sioux Conference. In order to do that, Davis knows his team needs to correct the inconsistencies that plagued the Rebels last year, mostly on the defensive side of the ball.
“We need to concentrate on being more consistent, especially on defense,” Davis said. “We gave up over 28 points a game last year.”
MCC finished last season with a 38-14 loss to Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin in the first round of the Section 3 playoffs in Class A.
Even with the problems MCC had last season, the team did make a significant step forward after it went winless two years ago. To Davis, this year represents a turnaround for his team, given how young they were last season.
“We were very young last season, and we only have to replace three on offense and defense,” Davis said. “Hopefully, we are more experienced and stronger across the board. We need to stay healthy to fair well this year, especially along the offensive line.”
MCC might not be losing many players from last year’s squad, but two of those players, running back/defensive back Chris Halbur and defensive back Austin Kluis, will be hard to replace.
Halbur was the Rebels’ workhorse back last season, rushing for 1,433 yards and 19 touchdowns for MCC. He was also their leading receiver with 137 yards, as well as their leader in sacks (four), punting (31.8 yards/punt), field goals (eight) and kickoff returns (457 yards).
Kluis tied for the team lead in interceptions (four) while picking up 22 solo tackles, two tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.
Despite the loss of Halbur and Kluis, Davis is confident that his team can pick up the slack and compete this season. Davis believes players such as Logan Kluis, Mitchell Woldt, Alex Opdahl and Kyle Vos can make an impact on this year’s squad.
Another area in which the Rebels will need improvement is their losing record at home. Last season, MCC only picked up one win in front of its home crowd while losing games against Adrian, Canby and Minneota/Lincoln HI.
However, the Rebels did have a winning record on the road, going 3-2 with wins against Fulda, Renville County West and Lakeview.
The Rebels play their first home game of the season against Dawson-Boyd, a team that beat MCC 61-14 last year. MCC then travels to Canby before playing three straight home games against Adrian, Lakeview and MACCRAY.
The last two games of the season will be on the road for MCC, when it plays Minneota/Lincoln HI and Sleepy Eye Saint Mary’s on their home fields.