Forestburg and Gold-Burg are jumping up to Division I, but they’re not strangers with their “new” district opponents. They join Newcastle, Saint Jo, and Bryson in District 12-1A.
In 2015, The Forestburg Longhorns won the first district title in the history of Forestburg. Then, they went on to win the first playoffgame in the history of Forestburg. So Head Coach Wayne Tuckwell was extremely pleased when their 8-4 season came to an end.
Tuckwell loses three seniors, as well as some transfers, so the Longhorns will have to make some offensive changes to cater to this year’s group.
“We’re going to have to change some stuff. Last year we were able to use our size. To pound the ball a little bit more this year, we’re going to have a lot more team speed, so we’re going to have to be a little bit more wide open. Instead of smash mouth,” says Tuckwell.
The Longhorns will have to get through a tough pre-district schedule, but Tuckwell believes it will help them prepare for this even tougher, now five-team district. Especially now they’ve bumped up to Division I.
The Gold-Burg Bears return the majority of their players in 2016…the only senior being Billy Rogers.
Although the Bears went 0-10 in 2015, Coach Jay Johnson is proud of the progress the team made, “When you look at our record, not winning any games, it looks like a pretty bad season, and it sounds pretty bad. As a coach, you’re like, oh my goodness. But as the time went, they got better and better, and that’s all I asked for, because they were so young. You’re talking about ninth grade boys who weigh 115 pounds. So yes, they were going to have those issues. But this year, most of them have put on about fifteen or twenty pounds. Been in the weight room working hard, so there will be a big difference. We have more versatility on offense now. We have a few big guys, newcomers that have come on. So we can tighten up the formations and we can pound the ball. But we have a lot of speed and quickness so we’re going to spread people out, but I think one of the big changes for us is going to be an up-tempo offense.”
The Saint Jo Panthers also struggled with growing pains last year…finishing the season at 3-7 and in last place in their district, “We didn’t have a lot of linemen-type kids, but this year we will, and so we’ll be able to mix it between tight and spread, and hopefully give our opponents different things to prepare for, ” says head coach, Chad Tallon.
Sophomore quarterback Preston Lyons will continue taking the snaps this year, and Coach Tallon has confidence in him as well as sophomore running back, Blake Anderson.
The Newcastle Bobcats were area finalists in 2015, after going 3-0 in district…part of a nine game winning streak.
They’ll build on a core group of about 10 seniors this year…and hope to do a lot of what they started last year. That core group includes 2015 District MVP Mikey Walker, who had 106 tackles last year, as well as Levi Martinez, Gage Bozeman, Billy Bohannon, JR Gossett, and more.