Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton plans on a big year of running the ball
GLYNDON, Minn. - The history of football in the Minnesota towns of Dilworth, Glyndon and Felton is centered around the 80s. Glyndon went to state from 1983-1985, finishing second in the state in 1984 and winning a state title in 1985. Dilworth went to state in 1988 and 1989. That was the last time any part of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton went to state in back-to-back seasons.
D-G-F coach Anthony Soderberg isn’t a huge fan of history lessons.
“I’m not big into that history and haven’t-done-this-since-then thing,” Soderberg said. “We’re focused on this year. This is a team that’s together now and there’ll never be a team like it. This year’s team is different than last year’s team in some good ways and some bad ways.”
Soderberg and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton made quick history of the 2012 season, in which the Rebels went 2-7, in 2013. The Rebels went 8-3, including their first trip to state since 2002, losing to New London-Spicer in the Class 3A quarterfinals 56-30.
The Rebels got to state behind their running game and their defense. Chad Johnson broke the single-season school record for rushing yards with 1,668, averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Outside of the 56-30 loss in the state quarterfinals, the D-G-F defense averaged 10.6 points against per game.
“We have some kids that have experience, so that’s a very important thing,” Soderberg said. “We just want to try to get into the rhythm we got last year and make sure the kids know what they are doing and, come Friday, hopefully execute and be successful.”
Johnson is headed to Concordia to play football and Soderberg has no plan to find a replacement for him on D-G-F’s football team.
What he does plan to do is reconstruct Johnson with senior running backs Joe Flatt, Brandon Wayne and Alex Matthews.
“Individually, we can’t put a kid out there that matches (Johnson’s) skill set, but we got a lot of returning starters, who are a year older and bigger,” Soderberg said. “We have some kids that are really close to having the ability Chad had, but it’s going to be more of a team replacement of him more than one single person.”
Wayne ran for 618 yards on 97 carries and Flatt ran for 564 yards on 69 carries last season. The offensive line returns starters Ben Knutson, Mark Steichen and Tyler Oberg. Returning starting tight end Chase Schumann is also back to help the blocking scheme for the running game of the Rebels.
“For a lot of them it’s going to be their third year starting,” Soderberg said. “We’ll still definitely be running the ball. I think we have more depth at the running back position than last season.”
Matthews, Flatt and Wayne are also linebackers for the D-G-F defense, which returns eight starters, including Knutson and Garrett Pemelton at the defensive line and Schumann at free safety.
With Zack Nelson graduating, the quarterback spot is the only position that returns little experience for the Rebels. That will go to junior Blake Kragnes.
“He’s kind of taken control and he’s going with it,” Soderberg said. “What I’ve seen has been pretty impressive.”
- Compiled by Chris Murphy
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Joe Flatt, Sr., FB/LB
Alex Matthews, Sr., RB/LB
Brandon Wayne, Sr., RB/LB
Ben Knutson, Sr., OL/DL
Mark Steichen, Sr., OL
Alex Fuchs, Sr., TE
Garrett Pemelton, Sr., DL
Chase Schumann, Sr., TE/FS
Tyler Oberg, Jr., OL
Eric Watt, Jr., RB/DB
Blake Kragnes, Jr., QB