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Pipestone Area Arrows riding high after shutting out Russell-Tyler-Ruthton

PIPESTONE -- If the results from its Zero Week contest are any indication for the Arrows' football team, the 2012 campaign is already better than the preceding year for Pipestone Area.

Head coach Troy Bouman's club shut out the Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Knights in a 32-0 victory to open the season on Aug. 25, giving the program its first win since the final regular-season game of the 2010 season.

PA went 0-9 during the 2011 season, and a 1-0 mark to start this fall gives Bouman's team something to build off of.

"We return a lot of kids this year," Bouman said. "Last year we dealt with a lot of injuries, and things didn't go our way. But the good thing is that we return a lot of experience, especially on defense.

"The kids had a good camp leading up to the season, and we hope to maintain that edge throughout the year."

Bouman fields a roster of 41 that includes 13 seniors, 11 juniors and 17 sophomores.

"We have a lot of good, young kids coming up," Bouman said. "Having 13 seniors back will help the young kids develop, and hopefully they will be able to contribute for us."

Bouman feels that his defense, which limited R-T-R to 14 yards of total offense in the opener, will be the Arrows' strongest suit this year.

"We return nine starters with good experience on defense," Bouman said. "We lost some good linebackers to graduation like Matt Harladson and Nathan Dubbelde, but we have players that can step up and fill those spots."

Heading the Arrow linebacking group will be seniors Gunnar Manderscheid (5-8, 215) and Alex Ossefoort (5-7, 150) along with junior Brady Bos (5-9, 170).

Seniors Zach Boucher (5-10, 210), Eric Buffington (6-0, 180) and Brady Claussen (6-3, 225), along with juniors Colby Ploeger (6-3, 175) and Mitchell Ryan (5-9, 170), will vie for time at the defensive ends.

In the middle of the defensive front for PA will be seniors Jaydon Gorter (6-0, 195) and Levi Schoonhoven (5-10, 185), while juniors Chris Johnson (5-8, 205), Jordan Johnson (6-2, 230), Derik Evans (6-3, 230) and Trav Thomssen (6-0, 255) are also figured to compete for time at the defensive tackle position.

The Arrows' secondary will also be senior-dominated as Jacob Derby (5-11, 180), Sawyer Pals (6-0, 170) and Josh Mabon (6-0, 155) will lead the unit. Senior Brody Alderson (6-1, 170) and junior James Zollner (5-10, 150), as well as with a collection of sophomores, will compete for playing time.

In the season-opening win, Manderscheid and Ossefoort each recorded five tackles, while Boucher had a sack and Mabon returned an interception 85 yards to set up a score before halftime.

"Our defensive coordinators do an excellent job with the kids," Bouman said. "Defense will definitely be on strong point this year, and the coaches always have them ready to play."

Offensively, Derby leads the Arrows from the quarterback spot. The senior signal caller completed 10 of 14 passes for 146 yards and three touchdowns in the opener. The Arrow offense turned in 259 total yards from scrimmage in the game.

Derby will be in his second year at the helm of the PA offense. Bouman has a lot of confidence in his abilities.

"Jacob dealt with some injuries his junior year, but we expect him to have a strong senior season," Bouman said. "We will primary use a spread offense, but we also want to be able to run the ball."

Sophomore Boyer Bouman (5-10, 145) will provide depth at quarterback for the Arrows.

Bos and Ossefoort will lead the charge out of the PA backfield, while Pals, Mabon and Buffington will be Derby's primary targets in the passing game.

Ossefoort had seven catches for 107 yards and two touchdown receptions and rushed for another in the win over the Knights. Bos led the Arrows in rushing in the game with 87 yards on 19 carries.

Boucher, Thomssen and Manderscheid figure to be the lead blockers along the offensive line for the Arrows. Evans, Johnson and Gorter also figure on seeing time opening running lanes and protecting the quarterback.

The Arrows have a bye this week and open the Southwest Conference schedule next week.

"We want to be competitive in every game," Bouman said. "The conference is always tough, but we want to stay healthy and give ourselves a chance to win some games."

PA hosts the Windom Eagles at 7 p.m. Friday.