Warrior football season ends with cancelled game, eyes to the future

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Evan Schroeder

Elliot Kelly

Noah Diersen

Brandon Whittle

Nick Deitchler

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The Central football season started with a promising 2-1 start, but was followed by a five-game losing streak and cancellation of the final game of the season against West Central due to injuries. 


The team’s 2-6 record was not what coach Joe Koehn envisioned in August, but it was a season of learning and taking the small successes and growing from them. 


“We had some success throughout the season, but, overall, the kids and us coaches as well learned a lot about ourselves and we learned a lot of life lessons that will be helpful for the rest of our lives,” Koehn said. 


The season provided some highlights, such as Evan Schroeder, who rushed for a team high 694 yards on 133 carries, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. He was also the team’s leading receiver with 19 receptions for 214 yards. Schroeder finished with nine rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns. 


The numbers were enough to earn him a first team all-district selection as a running back. The other first team all-district selection was Elliot Kelly, but not at quarterback, where he was limited due to an injury, but at linebacker, where he compiled a team leading 63 solo tackles and nine tackles for a loss. Kelly also recovered three fumbles. 


Other standout players included linebacker Noah Diersen, who was second team all-district. Diersen was second on the team in solo tackles with 34 and added four tackles for a loss and one sack. He also spent some time at running back, gaining 52 yards and scoring two touchdowns. 


The Warriors had two honorable mentions in defensive lineman Brandon Whittle and offensive utility player Nick Deitchler. Whittle was a force on the line, finishing the season with 27 solo tackles, two sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss, while Deitchler filled in for Kelly at quarterback, completing 11 of 33 passes for 149 yards and one touchdown. Deitchler also rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns and caught one 58-yard pass for another touchdown. The utility player even spent time on defense, where he got nine solo tackles and one interception.  


“Kelly had a good season for us on defense and was our leading tackler, and led the district and the state for quite some time. Schroeder did a good job on the offensive side of the ball, being able to mix and match and do different things for us. Deitchler really stepped up for us when needed. If someone was hurt, he was able to fill in any of the spots in the backfield and in the end positions. Diersen also filled in quite a few positions as well, from fullback to guard to running back, and Whittle did a nice job for us on the offensive line and defensive line as well,” Koehn said. 


While the season had its highlights, most notably in player performances, it was not without its challenges. The biggest was the team’s inability to stay focused in the face of adversity, or just struggling to keep their heads in the game. 


“Seemed like, after we lost a few games, the spirits began to go down, and we need to stay strong and keep pushing through when the going gets tough,” Koehn said. “We did have some positives, though. Some former underclassmen really showed out what they are capable of and that they can be ‘that guy’ for the next season and the seasons to follow.” 


Some of those players were Sam Fettkether, Maddux Eglseder, Logan Sharpe, Kale Doeppke, Spencer Heer and Mark Hertrampf. All made an impression when they got their shot on the field. 


One area where the team improved was strength, but it also highlighted another struggle area for the team: low numbers showing up during the off season. The low numbers impact the team long-term and put much of the onus on the players who did show up. 


“Numbers in the off season need to grow for the team to get better overall. Attitude needs to change. Football is a really fun sport, but the want and desire needs to be there at all times, like practice and film, not just on Friday nights…Mental toughness and a ‘want/need’ to be successful not just as an individual but to make the team successful. Also, not just during the season but during the off season as well,” Koehn commented. 


As for where he has improved over the years, Koehn indicated he’s become more patient as a coach, but that his mentality in how to develop tough football players remains unchanged. 


“I have become more patient as I try to learn about how the kids learn best and the backgrounds  they come from. It helps me better understand how they act and why they do what they do,” he said. 


Despite the ups and downs, the Warriors put together a two-win season that came with hope for the future. A future where they can build on this year’s 473 passing yards and four passing touchdowns. A future where they can better this year’s 1,088 rushing yards, 473 receiving yards and 22 combined touchdowns. A future where they can topple this season’s 312 total tackles, three sacks and 34.5 tackles for a loss. 


“I know this isn’t how we want the season to end, but that is how life is sometimes,” Koehn said. “Thanks to all the community for all the support this season. It didn’t go unnoticed.”

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