Prep Football Previews: Southern C

Prep Football Previews: Southern C

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Prep Football Previews: Southern C

Ennis has been the class of the southern league the last three years, but the Mustangs have a new coaching staff taking over the reins.

Perennial power Twin Bridges looks to compete, and an upstart Gardiner team has high expectations behind a strong ground game.

Much like the other divisions in the Class C ranks, there seems to be more drama surrounding the postseason picture than there has in past seasons.

Absarokee

Chris Gunderson takes over as the Huskies’ head coach after a pair of years as the assistant, and he’ll direct a youthful team with good size.

Seniors Cooper Crabtree (OL/DL, 5-10, 220), Kalvin Hanson (QB/LB, 5-11, 220) and Bryce Oderman (TE/DE, 6-2, 200) provide both girth and experience at key positions.

Gunderson also expects a junior split end/defensive end, Rily Livingston (6-4, 190) to play a key role.

Broadview-Lavina

Things will start on the line for the Pirates, who return three starters there in hopes to build on a 2-6 season a year ago under second-year coach Adam White.

White loses the services of all-state QB Taylor Bienvenue, now in Rocky Mountain College’s program, but several other key contributors return.

Casey Sainsbury headlines the experienced line, while linebackers Jacob Reed (70 tackles) and Scott Bymaster (45 tackles, 2 sacks) also add experience. Senior Joel Nelson leads the defensive backfield.

Nelson (35 catches, 525 yards, 8 TDs) is the leading receiver returning while Reed, a junior, brings back 12 touchdowns to the running back position.

Ennis

First-year head coach Chris Hess comes from a good situation at Class B Forsyth to an even better one with the Mustangs, who will again be one of the favorites in the 8-man ranks.

Hess gains the services of all-state honorees Dustin Wham (6-0, 265), Gavin McKitrick (5-11, 160) and Jake Knack (6-0, 180), who will help less-experienced teammates learn a new system.

Hess expects sophomore Tanner Wood (5-11, 155) to take over for graduated all-stater Walker McKitrick under center with Gavin McKitrick and Cleet Wrzesinski (6-0, 150) as his primary targets.

Wham will anchor the line on both sides of the ball, joined by Luke Clark (6-0, 190). They’ll block for running backs Knack and Cole Crowley (Sr., 5-10, 165). Those two will be pivotal at defensive end as well, where Knack led Ennis in sacks a season ago.

Gardiner

Gardiner didn’t advance to the second round in its first playoff appearance in nine years, but who can blame the Bruins? They ran into a buzzsaw in the state champion Wibaux Longhorns.

Coach Mike Baer’s squad looks to be in playoff contention again this year behind the services of All-State lineman Jarred Hurst (6-0, 260) and all-conference running back/defensive end Eddie Rodarte (5-11, 185).

The Bruins will be a ground-and-pound team with seniors Hurst and Paul Helfrich (5-11, 200) clearing the way for classmates Rodarte and Justin Kingma (5-10, 160) toting the pigskin.

Baer said the linebackers and defensive secondary lack experience but show promise headed into camp.

Harlowton

The Engineers have just two seniors on the roster, but they come back to important starts.

Dalton Taber (5-9, 155) comes back to his spots at quarterback and safety, and linebacker/guard Jesse Tudor (5-10, 165) was captain of the defense.

Second-year coach Robert Tedlund’s squad is young and inexperienced otherwise, with just six upperclassmen on the 19-man roster.

Park City

Former Rocky Mountain College lineman JayTee Tarpley takes over a Panthers program after serving as an assistant in Joliet last season.

Tarpley has good numbers to work with — 26 boys came out for football — and experience at the skill positions. FB/LB James Marchand (5-11, 205) and RB/LB Connor May (5-11, 165) lead that group as seniors.

Junior Devon Dennis (5-10, 165) will see time in the slot and at linebacker.

Shields Valley

Numbers are low in Clyde Park, where coach Jon Crosten has just 13 roster players.

Crosten does, however, bring back all-conference running back Brock Peterson (5-8, 155) for his junior season. Peterson and senior Daniel Rivera (5-11, 185) will split carries, while a two-way returning starter in sophomore Gabe Shelton (6-0, 250) will hold down the line.

Twin Bridges

Veteran coach Rob Lott lost three All-State players to graduation but hopes a young team will be able to come of age and showcase its talent.

Lott, in his 22nd year as the Falcons’ head man, is looking for big things from WR/S Tracen Eggers (6-2, 170) and RB/S Bill Yeager (5-11, 180). Eggers was all-state as a junior while Yeager was the Falcons’ leading rusher last season.

Lott expects the team to get stronger as the season goes along as some key components return from offseason injuries.

White Sulphur Springs

The Hornets only have 15 roster players, but all will be able to contribute as they hope to return to the postseason.

All-conference honoree Jordan Barfuss (5-11, 200) takes over for graduated all-stater Derek Heggen under center for coach Barry Hedrich.

Barfuss’ main help will come in the form of senior ends Ethan Nyhart (6-4, 190) and Hunter Edso (6-3, 200), who were both all-conference a season ago. Sophomore RB/DB Dawson Clayton (6-1, 175) also could emerge as a weapon.

Southern C 8-man

Coaches’ Poll:

1. Ennis

2. Twin Bridges

3 (tie). Gardiner

3 (tie). White Sulphur Springs

5. Park City

6. Shields Valley

7. Absarokee

8. Harlowton

9. Broadview-Lavina

Ennis looks to be strong agian in the Southern C.

Ennis looks to be strong agian in the Southern C.

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