Teams ready to kick off the high school football season

As the summer rapidly draws to a close, the high school football season is right around the corner. Tight ends, tackles, line backs and other players began two weeks of two-a-day practices on Aug. 14. Season openers are scheduled to begin on Sept. 1.

Having made it to the semi-finals last year, the Blaine Bengals strive to remain at the top of their division. Photos by TJ Armstrong
Having made it to the semi-finals last year, the Blaine Bengals strive to remain at the top of their division. Photos by TJ Armstrong

Blaine Bengals head coach Tom Develice said he strives to have his teams finish in the top half of the North division in their district.

“We have teams like Totino Grace, Champlin Park and Anoka in our schedule. They are tough teams and will make it difficult but I believe we can make it there,” Develice said.

To achieve this, Develice identified three areas the Bengals must improve on: to run the ball more efficiently, stop the opponents running game and being fundamentally sound on special teams. Blaine goes about each game trying to improve each week and to represent their school and community with class.

“My goal is to have the kids grow to be productive in society. To help each player become good people, respectable players and good dads someday. To compete with class on and off the field,” said Develice.

The Bengals start off on their home turf against the St. Michael-Albertville Knights on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.

The Coon Rapids Cardinals, winless in 2015 and 2016, are now under the guidance of their new head coach Mal Edwards. Edwards comes with plenty of high school football coaching experience having won five conference titles as head coach at Edison High school in Minneapolis and winning a Class 4A state title last year as an assistant coach at Benilde- St. Margaret’s. Edwards looks forward to the challenge of turning the winless streak around.

“I really like to simplify things and become great at a few things, instead of good or OK at a lot of things,” Edwards explained. “Our plan is to become great at a few things and then that will spread and will open things up down the line. This is what I’ve done every place I’ve been. Its been pretty successful.”

The Cardinals will kick off their opener at Forest Lake High school against the Rangers on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.

St. Francis’s Saints have a new head coach. BrentSwaggert was a four-year starter and a three-time all conference offensive lineman. He was an undrafted free agent in 2004 with the San Francisco 49ers and also the Tennessee Titans. Swaggert is familiar with the coaching aspect, having been on the football coaching staff for 11 years and has been the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach the past eight seasons. The Saints will be playing at home versus the Sauk Rapids-Rice’s Storm on Friday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.

The Andover Huskies begin their season on Sept. 1 at Alexandria High School at 7 p.m.

Spring Lake Park goes head to head against their longtime rivals the Irondale Knights on the Knights home field in New Brighton. The Panthers game will begin at 7 p.m. on Aug. 31.

The Anoka Tornadoes will face off against Champlin Park’s Rebels on the Rebel’s home field at 7 p.m. on Sept. 8.

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The Bengals work on various mechanics to ensure the team communicates well and is familiar with plays. Blaine football teams work diligently under the watch full eyes of their coaches. Andover Huskies go through numerous drills at the block to prepare for their first game. The Huskies go over offensive plays and running drills. They hope to build upon their 5-7 record from last season.
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The Huskies go over offensive plays and running drills. They hope to build upon their 5-7 record from last season.