Tornadoes forecast another winning season

Tornado football coach Jeff Buerkle and his captains forecast stormy skies for opponents in the coming season.

The Tornadoes’ Christian Manthey blocks for the kick returner during two-a-days. Photo by Bill Jones

The Tornadoes’ Christian Manthey blocks for the kick returner during two-a-days. Photo by Bill Jones

Clouds of pass interceptions and blocked kicks will cause interference in opponents’ offensive radar.

High speed running plays and long range passing will mean a hail storm of Tornado touchdowns and extra points on the scoreboard.

Though the roster sports different players and personalities, Buerkle looks for his 2012 Tornadoes to race into the end zone, powered by speed and attitude.

“We’ll attack with our speed and go straight at the guys. Just keep on pounding,” Buerkle said, acknowledging that, with 19 of his 22 starters gone after graduating last year, opponents may think the Tornadoes will be a pushover this year.

“We lost 19 of 22 starters. ‘They probably aren’t going to be very good.’ That’s what the other coaches are going to say,” said Buerkle. “But we have great attitude and that says we won’t quit.”

2012 schedule
Aug. 30, Park Center, 7 p.m.
Sept.7 at Andover, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14, Totino Grace, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 at Centennial, 7 p.m.
HOMECOMING: Sept. 28, Maple Grove, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Coon Rapids, 7 p.m.
PUMPKIN BOWL: Oct. 12, Champlin Park, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Blaine, 7 p.m.

Buerkle, acknowleging that the Northwest Suburban Conference in which the Tornadoes compete is a tough conference, said the Anoka footballers have to put their best game forward.

“Every game we could get beat,” Buerkle said, “but if we play our very best, we’re capable of beating anyone we play.”

The 2012 Tornadoes: reigning Northwest Suburban Conference and section 7AAAAA champs: It’s a new team with the same dream – to win the state tournament.

“We have a lot of depth. A lot of guys are stepping up,” said captain and guard Logan Syvock.

“We work hard and we take pride in that. We’ll continue to work hard and see what we can do,” said captain and inside linebacker Jacob McDougle.

And although Buerkle admits last year’s Tornado offense was better than its defense, the head coach said the Tornadoes will have more balance this season and its defense will be better and faster.

“This team is nothing like what we had last year … different personalities, different strengths, different talents,” Buerkle said.

“We have a toughness that has been built in; we don’t have guys who are going to quit,” he said.

And his captains described the team building and chemistry that evolved and grew stronger during the offseason.

“We were all doing something football all summer long: weight training, 7 on 7 tournaments, four-day boot camp in Ely … We have lots of depth, did lots of hard work all summer,” said McDougle.

The boot camp to which he referred is an annual event where the team travels to Ely, Minn. and works and plays and swims and eats and works some more.

“It’s physically semi-demanding and you get 85 guys up in the woods, with each other four days non-stop … you get to know each other, get to create some really good chemistry. It helps you get close,” said Buerkle.

And Buerkle’s 2012 Tornadoes is a team passionate about preparation.

“The game you’re playing each week is the biggest game of the season. You work hard, build up to every single game no matter the team or what the circumstances are. We just take it one game at a time,” said captain and defensive back Ryan Rumpca.

“We’re gonna be tough. We’ve got a tough team – a great team. I feel like we should be able to take anyone down,” said captain and running back Tony Erickson.

Coach Buerkle shares his captains’ passionate confidence.

“Last year is over. This is a new team, a new year. Are we a tough team? Tenacious? Are we a team that tackles? A team that can throw the ball? We’ll see … and what we’ll see is victory,” Buerkle said.

Anoka Tornadoes (Northwest Suburban Conference)

•Head coach Jeff Buerkle

•Record and 2011 finish: 9-2 overall, (NWSC conference champion, section 7AAAAA champion, loss in state tournament to eventual state champion Eden Prairie)

Key returners:

Quinn Williams (center)

Stephen Barthold (safety)

Ryan Rumpca (defensive back)

Malcolm Seals (quarterback/receiver/defensive back)

Sue Austreng is at [email protected]

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