LAKE PARK, Iowa -- With four all-district performers returning, the Harris-Lake Park football team has high expectations heading into the 2019 campaign.
The Wolves are looking to improve from last year’s team that finished 3-6, but was minimally affected by graduation.
Leading the returners is Abdulla Elbuytari, who is a 6-foot, 255-pound lineman, who was a first team all-district player last year.
“Abdulla should be one of the best linemen in our class,” H-LP coach Lane Gunderson said. “He’s physical, smart and a great leader.”
Isaac Ihnen returns at receiver and linebacker. He is a tall target for quarterback Brody Sohn, who returns after throwing for 1,280 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore. Another key returner is Lucas Gunderson, who was the leading tackler, rusher and second-leading receiver a year ago.
Just like H-LP, Sibley-Ocheyedan had a strong contingent returning and is looking for improvement from a year ago.
The Generals return eight starters on offense and eight starters on defense. That includes Beau Jenness, who returns as the starting quarterback and safety. He led the team in interceptions last year. Trevor Doeden is one of the top tacklers and will play on both lines. Dylan Platt is a running back and linebacker. Head coach Tate Kellenberger said he has dedicated himself in the offseason and improved his speed and strength.
One of the areas Kellenberger likes is his team’s experience and hunger.
“Our team has a hunger right now and is dedicated to making themselves and the team better,” he said. “They want to be the group that changes the culture and narrative of the Sibley-Ocheyedan football team.”
As the season progresses, the Generals will work on consistency and mindset, Kallenberger said.
Central Lyon/George-Little Rock returns five starters on offense and four on defense. One of the strengths will be the offensive line with Jarrett Meyer and Carson Popkes returning. Another strength, head coach Curtis Eben said, will be the kicking of Carter Krull, who made 27 of 29 PATs and three field goals. Defensively, the Lions return experience on all levels with Kalen Meyer at linebacker and Krull and Kole Telford returning in the secondary.
The Lions open up Friday at West Lyon, while S-O hosts Sheldon and H-LP hosts North Iowa.