Prep Football Previews: Northern C

Prep Football Previews: Northern C

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Prep Football Previews: Northern C

The playoff picture wasn’t complete until the clocks hit zero on the last game in Northern C play in 2014. Expect no different this time around.

All four Northern C teams that did make the postseason — Chinook, Simms, Great Falls Central and Belt — won a playoff game, and the Sugarbeeters rode a dream season out to the state championship game, where they lost at Wibaux.

Don’t be surprised to see another Northern C squad staring at the championship trophy come November, with many teams improved and hungry for a playoff berth.

Belt

Assuming senioritis doesn’t strike in Belt Valley, things could turn out pretty well for the Huskies this year.

Coach Jeff Graham brings back a pair of All-State seniors in Matt Metrione (6-1, 180) and Koltin Haugrose (6-1, 170). Both can play quarterback and have different styles of play. Metrione scored a team-high 31 touchdowns at QB/RB last season and was the Huskies’ leading tackler as well. Haugrose, a do-it-all QB/WR/S/KR scored 14 TDs and made four interceptions.

If there are any questions for Belt, they lie up front. Graham must replace his entire group of starting linemen. They’ll be led by senior Zak Anderson (6-1, 175) and junior Jaren Maki (6-0, 185) on the O-line. Maki plays linebacker on defense.

Graham expects another speedy junior, Harry Green (5-9, 150), to contribute on both sides of the ball.

Cascade

Jay Fredrickson comes to coach the Badgers from Ennis, where his Mustang teams reached the state semifinals each of the past four seasons and won it all in 2013.

Fredrickson hopes to build Cascade’s program to those same heights but admits that 2015 is about establishing a program. He hopes to surprise some people in the Northern C with the likes of senior QB/DB/LB Lane Sperzum (5-10, 150), junior RB/LB Glen Ferguson (6-2, 200) and TE/WR/DE Jagger Sensibaugh (5-10, 160).

Centerville

New head coach Brian Davison hopes to help the Miners improve on a winless 2014, and Davison thinks it will start with physicality on defense.

Junior Kade Landon (6-0, 180) will play quarterback and safety, and John Frank (6-2, 160) and Briggs Judd (6-3, 165) will play tight end and defensive end.

Another junior, Keaton Konesky (5-10, 220), will lead both sides of the line.

Chinook

The 8-man runners-up lost seven seniors to graduation but return nine seniors this season and should again be among the frontrunners in the league.

All-Staters Jesse Dannels (5-11, 190) and Kevin Young (5-11, 210) lead that group along with QB Ian McIntosh (5-10, 170), who holds most of the school’s passing records. Young led the team in tackles (109) and sacks (12.5) last season.

A couple of senior tight ends/defensive ends, Kenneth Pruttis (6-1, 175) and Jake Norby (6-1, 170) will serve as pass targets. Norby made five interceptions in 2014.

Starting linebackers Tate Niederegger (5-8, 150) and Derek Bell (5-8, 170) return and will share the carries at running back as well for coach Scott Friede.

Chester-Joplin-Inverness

All-Stater Justin May (6-1, 180) looks to lead an experienced Hi-Line Hawks attack that narrowly missed a playoff berth in 2014.

All but one player returns for veteran coach Jim Vinson from that squad, including May at running back/linebacker and senior Brandon Richter (5-10, 170) at quarterback/linebacker. Richter will have a prime target — tight end Troy Harmon (6-2, 195) — back after missing 2014 because of injury.

Harmon and fellow senior Javin Miles (5-9, 170) will hold down the defensive line.

Vinson said the prospects for this season are brighter for no other reason than the Hawks have more depth than the 12-man roster that finished the season a year ago.

Fort Benton

Any football at all this season will be an improvement for the Longhorns, which didn’t have the numbers to field a team in 2014 because of injuries and disciplinary issues.

Former assistant Skip Ross takes over the program, inheriting a group with solid team speed but little experience.

Seniors Logan Taylor (5-11, 150), Connor DeBruycker (6-0, 155), Jade Miller (5-9, 155) and Eli Toon (6-1, 175) headline the roster. Taylor will play quarterback and defensive back, and Miller is a running back/linebacker. DeBruycker and Toon are tight ends, while Toon will also help out the linebacking corps.

A junior, Matt Blansett (6-2, 220), gives some size to the fronts on both sides of the ball.

Great Falls Central

The Mustangs made a run into the state quarterfinals in 2014, finishing with a 7-3 record and scoring more than 50 points per game.

Coach Mike Nelson loses two All-State performers (QB/DB Reid Nelson, RB/LB Nolan Donisthorpe) to graduation and college programs, but he brings back some experience up front. Seniors Joe Bertha (6-3, 195) and Joe McGuire (5-10, 170) will lead an O-line that looks to block for an also-sizeable cast in the backfield. Quarterback Noah Ambuehl, fullback Coulton Lewis and tailback Nick Wilkins all top the 190-pound mark and will all carry the football, Nelson said.

Nelson cites depth and inexperience — especially on defense — as question marks for the Mustangs. Bertha, an all-conference defensive end, is one of the only returners with experience on D.

Power-Dutton-Brady

A solid group of seniors puts the Titans in contention this season after just missing the playoffs a year ago, led by all-conference selections Chase Rossmiller (6-1, 175) and Seth Kitchin (6-0, 180). Kitchin is a quarterback and defensive end who will look to get the speedy Rossmiller the ball both on the ground and in the air.

Kitchin’s other targets are FB/DE Chase Lehnerz (5-11, 210) and WR/LB Lucas Kalanick (5-10, 180).

A three-year starter on the line, Breyer Hill (5-11, 220) brings experience to the front alongside junior Garrett Fritz (6-3, 220), who also will play linebacker.

A sophomore, JV Somerfeld (6-1, 230), rounds out the standouts at tight end and linebacker.

Simms

The Tigers are aiming for a third-straight playoff appearance but will again have to replace graduated talent to get there.

A strong senior class returns, highlighted by All-Staters Jake Bloom (6-3, 210) at tight end/defensive end and Erik Pschernig (6-0, 185) at receiver/cornerback. Logan Rushton (6-1, 185) returns as an all-league quarterback and will join Pschernig in the defensive backfield.

Coach Eric Dirk will have to get the most out of OL/LB Colton Like (6-0, 200), OL/DE Jace Steinke (6-1, 190), WR/LB Colton Hillyard (5-9, 175) and RB/DB Riley Annis (5-9, 175) if he hopes to replace the likes of departed all-staters Devan Goode, Noah Clark and Kalvin Rohrer.

If the new blood comes together, though, look out for Simms come playoff time.

Northern C 8-man

Coaches’ Poll

1. Chinook

2. Chester-Joplin-Inverness

3. Simms

4. Power-Dutton-Brady

5. Belt

6. Great Falls Central

7. Cascade

8. Fort Benton

9. Centerville

CJI's Justin May is a talented running back who returns for his senior season.

CJI’s Justin May is a talented running back who returns for his senior season.

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