FARGO-Fargo South's football team has a lot to replace for the upcoming football season. Currently, the main thing being replaced is the grass on South's field.
"There is a lot of excitement going on, obviously with the turf," second-year head coach Tyler Kosel said.
Anonymous donors gave $1.2 million to bring artificial turf to Fargo South High School. The hope is the Bruins will be hosting their first football game on the turf for homecoming Sept. 28.
"There's a good buzz," Kosel said. "We practice right next to our game field, so we can see the progress each day. It's getting closer and closer to playing on some new turf and maximizing facilities. There's a lot of excitement."
The Bruins will play their first two home games at the Fargodome, which is something they are also excited about.
"A lot of them haven't played there since their (Fargo-Moorhead) athletic days," Kosel said. "Not playing at home is going to be different. We're treating them similar to road games."
There isn't excitement with players South lost from last season. The Bruins lost Victor Isaak, who led the Eastern Dakota Conference in tackles and had eight rushing touchdowns last fall. Isaak is off to the University of North Dakota for football.
Six other Bruins will be playing college football. Tanner Beaton heads to the University of Sioux Falls, Dawson Breyer will go to Bemidji State, Jaime Froysland to St. Cloud State, Tanner DuBois to Concordia, Jamon Howard to Northwestern University (Minn.) and Sam Greah to North Dakota State College of Science.
South will have to find ways to fill those spots this season after going 6-4 last season.
"It's not easy, but we have a lot of underclassmen that are very talented, get in the weight room and came every day for our summer football program," Kosel said. "We got some guys no one has heard of, and we're excited to see them get out there."
Dawson Weisenberger is not one of those guys no one has heard of. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior tight end and defensive end recently committed to North Dakota State for football. Weisenberger had 42 catches for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. He had 46 tackles, two sacks and 13 1/2 tackles for loss as well.
"He's matured a lot physically and as a football player," Kosel said. "His football IQ is great. He's asked a lot of great questions. He put on 15 pounds to go along with his high motor and energy. He brings a lot. That's why NDSU gave him an offer early. He's the real deal out there on both sides."
Bruins had Beaton and Howard at wide receiver alongside Weisenberger last season, along with DuBois at quarterback. South is looking for juniors Jamaal Spiyee, Bless Flomo and sophomore Sibomana Enock to take over the roles at wide receiver, while Wyatt Hanson will step in at quarterback.
"Obviously Dawson is going to demand attention, so those guys improved their routes and need to get open and catch the ball," Kosel said. "(Hanson) had a great summer and improved a lot at JV last season. He's confident with his decisions and getting the ball to his athletes and letting them perform."
Stepping in the giant shoes Isaak left at middle linebacker will be senior Brody Herrick.
"Big thing with Brody is he has to be him, he can't be Victor," Kosel said. "He's started since he was a sophomore, played a lot of downs and has taken responsibility. He'll have a big senior year."
Senior Carter Morrau will be alongside Herrick at linebacker, while also running the ball behind senior Clay Ludwick, who will lead both lines.
The grass and a lot of talent is gone from South, but the Bruins are excited for what's coming.
"We have great numbers, and the kids have had a great fall camp," Kosel said. "We've had a lot of great practices with great energy. We're ready for game week."
Aug. 24: vs. Williston (at Fargodome), 7 p.m.
Aug. 31: at Mandan, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7: vs. Red River (at Fargodome), 7 p.m.
Sept. 14: at Fargo North, 6 p.m.
Sept. 21: vs. Bismarck (at Fargodome), 7 p.m.
Sept. 28: vs. Grand Forks Central (planned to be at South), 7 p.m.
Oct. 5: at West Fargo, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11: at Fargo Davies, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17: vs. West Fargo Sheyenne (planned to be at South), 7 p.m.