Mott-Regent returns a lot, but has major holes to fillThe usual suspects showed up to Mott-Regent football team camp and head coach Ron Benson said he also had some surprises.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Wildfire’s upside: As always, Mott-Regent has a good amount of talent and experience at the skill positions.
Wildfire’s downside: Already low on depth, the team has to replace its big three of QB McCahen Schweitzer, WR/S Chad Mosbrucker and TE/LB Tanner Vesledahl.
The usual suspects showed up to Mott-Regent football team camp and head coach Ron Benson said he also had some surprises.
Mott-Regent is returning a solid group of veterans and hopes to battle for a playoff spot after finishing the 2011 season with a 8-3 record, a third-place finish in 9-man, Region 4 and a loss to Region 4 champion Divide County in the playoffs.
“I like what I see so far and we have a good nucleus of kids that have some experience,” Benson said. “I think overall our defense is good. We’re not big, but we’re quick and I like that. We have a lot of the same kids on offense and they are some skill kids.”
The Wildfire lost three solid veterans from last year including Chad Mosbrucker, who is now playing football at Dickinson State, and Tanner Velsedahl, who is playing football at the University of North Dakota.
Mott-Regent will have 5-foot-11, 160-pound senior Taylor Zentner take over the quarterback position.
Zentner was able to learn from McCahen Schweitzer, who finished his career as a three-year starter with the highest completion rate in school history at 65.3 percent.
“Taylor is going to be a bigger and quicker quarterback,” Benson said. “He’ll be able to run more. He’s got a good arm. He did a nice job last year as a receiver.”
The Wildfire also have a big running back tandem with seniors Jacob Greff (5-9, 160) and Logan Haberstroh (5-11, 160). Greff rushed for 511 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
Junior Tyler Zentner (6-0, 160) will be relied on to catch passes from his older brother.
“He’s grown and he’s athletic,” Benson said of Tyler Zentner. “He can catch the ball, so we are looking for good things out of him too.”
Benson said the only area Mott-Regent is lacking this year is overall depth at each position. The 27-year veteran coach said staying healthy will mean more now.
“The only thing is that depth is a problem and the line (offensive and defensive) is a problem too,” Benson said. “We’ll just have to keep working with those guys, but I think we have a nice team.”
Senior Jonah Honeyman, who can play a multitude of positions, was compared to Velsedahl because of his ability to be all over the field.
“Ideally, he would be a tight end,” Benson said. “He doesn’t say anything about it, but he knows that we need him at that guard position. He’s like (Tanner) Vesledahl. We can move him around. He played fullback, guard, tight end, linebacker and defensive end.”
The biggest surprise for the Wildfire is their size.
Senior Jared Herring (6-3, 260) and junior Ruben Tidley (5-10, 250) have good size for 9-man linemen, but both are new to the football program.
“They are new kids and they are just learning the game,” Benson said. “We’re hoping that they can plug some holes. It’s kind of nice to have some size. I kind of grinned when they showed up for practice.”
Benson said Region 4 should be very competitive this season with teams that return many players and teams that lost some valuable players.
“I think the region is going to be pretty balanced,” Benson said. “There are some teams that lost some good kids and there are other teams that weren’t in the playoffs that have people back.”
Head coach: Ron Benson (27th season)
Last season: 8-3, lost in 9-man playoff quarterfinals.
Returners: Jacob Greff, Sr., RB/LB, 5-9, 160; Logan Haberstroh, Sr., RB/LB, 5-11, 160; Jonah Honeyman, Sr., OL/TE/DL/LB, 6-1, 180; Taylor Zentner, Sr., QB/LB, 5-11, 160; Tyler Zentner, Sr., TE/DB, 6-0, 160; Mark Steiner, Sr., OL/DL, 6-0, 170; Ben Friedt, Jr., TE/DL, 6-0, 155; Jon Friedt, Jr., 5-10, 180.
Newcomers: Jared Herring, Sr., OL/DL, 6-3, 260; Michael Glover, JR., WR/DB, 5-10, 140; Ruben Tidey, Jr., OL/DL, 5-10, 250; Noah Blickensderfer, So., WR/DB, 6-0, 140; Dan Kruger, So., RB/LB, 5-8, 145; Andrew Meier, So., OL/DL, 5-11, 190; Carter Honeyman, Fr., RB/DB, 5-10, 145; Brett Messmer, Fr., RB/LB, 5-10, 140; Tyler Eggers, Fr., OL/DL, 5-10, 220; Brodie Ambers, RB/LB, Fr., 5-9, 138; Joisah Billock, Fr., OL/DL, 5-10, 175; Chance Roth, Fr., QB/DB, 5-8, 140; Dalton Schaefer, Fr., RB/LB, 5-9, 145; Reed Hintz, Fr., OL/DL, 5-8, 200.
Losses: Chad Mosbrucker, WR/LB; Tanner Vesledahl, LB/RB/TE; McCahen Schweitzer, QB/DB.