The Hogg Run: Fielding a prep 'fantasy' team
With apologies to The Masters, it's a tradition unlike any other: waking up on Sunday morning, perhaps spending time at church and setting your fantasy football lineup for the week's games.
And now, for the duration of this column at least, that ritual may need to be moved up a few days.
With Week Three of area high school football approaching, I took a look at numbers and matchups to create a local fantasy lineup for Friday's games.
The rules were fairly simple: pick the players at each position that I think could have the biggest games on Friday. The roster includes one quarterback, three running backs and wide receivers, one "flex" player from either the running back or receiver position and one team defense/special teams unit.
Hopefully my lineup creation goes better in this exercise than it usually does.
Quarterback - Kaleb Koehl, Hancock
There are plenty of big-game signal-calling candidates this week, but Koehl's production and matchup are too enticing to turn down.
The senior quarterback threw for 269 yards, rushed for 179 more and accounted for six touchdowns in the Owls' 52-40 loss to Rothsay last Friday. Hancock's offense was just as high-flying in their season-opening matchup against Laporte, scoring 62 points in a blowout win.
This week, the Owls get Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, which has lost its first two games while being outscored 104-0.
Other strong plays: Donald Jurek (Willmar), Michael Trebil (ACGC), Jordan Sagedahl (BOLD), Jack Howard (RCW)
Running backs - Gavin Vosika, BOLD; Logan Nelson, Litchfield; Zach Schroeder, Paynesville
This trio presents a nice blend of dual threats, endzone magnets, workhorses and players with favorable matchups.
Gavin Vosika runs behind a dominant offensive line and can hurt the Sauk Centre defense on the ground and through the air on Friday. He scored five touchdowns and rushed for over 150 yards in week one.
Litchfield's Logan Nelson has toted the rock 53 times for 294 yards through the team's first two games, scoring twice on the ground and once receiving. The Dragons have a rivalry contest coming up against Dassel-Cokato, and Nelson will likely be the go-to player once again.
Schroeder hasn't had the workload of Nelson—22 carries through two games—but has totaled 181 yards rushing and four total scores. After an impressive showing last week against Melrose, Paynesville plays host to 0-2 Rockford on Friday.
Other strong plays: Jeremy Nelson and Josh Kinzler (ACGC), Bentley Boike (Dawson-Boyd), Ethan Roux (Willmar)
Wide receivers - Noah Slagter, Willmar; Luke Ryan, BOLD; Noah Kannegiesser, Hancock
All three of these receivers are both among the area's most talented backs and are coming off monster performances.
Noah Slagter, a favorite target of quarterback Donald Jurek in a well-balanced offense, followed up a five-catch first-week performance with 12 catch, 162-yard outing last Friday against state No. 4 Hutchinson. Now the Cardinals draw Princeton, which has allowed 106 points through two games.
Luke Ryan's admission on this week's team can be justified with just his stat line from last week: 211 yards and touchdowns.
Doubling down on the Owls, Noah Kannegiesser could be poised for a big game with Koehl throwing him the pigskin. Kannegiesser racked up six catches for 117 yards and three scores last Friday, and once again has an intriguing matchup this week.
Flex - Braden Hoekstra, MACCRAY
MACCRAY's nine-man offense is set up so that there are limited options, in terms of quantity, in the passing game, but not in quality. Hoekstra's frame is helpful for quarterback Thomas Kirking and he could see a flurry of targets coming his way against a Renville County West defense that has allowed 46 points in each of its first two games.
Defense/Special teams - Dawson-Boyd
The Blackjacks draw Lakeview in Week Three, which has struggled to score points in two losses to open the year.
Dawson-Boyd's defense was roughed up a bit by Minneota last Friday, but the Vikings are one of the top teams in the state, so it could very well see a bounceback week coming. There could also be some special teams magic, as Keaton Schulke returned a punt for a touchdown in the Blackjacks' first game.