Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

STC coaches cautiously optimistic about upcoming season

August 29, 2019
By Allison Graham - Sports Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

After going 0-9 last season the STC Trojan Football team is back and hungry for their first win since 2017.

The team officially started practice on Monday, August 12 but have been putting in lots of work in the off season. That work included weight lifting sessions that started last January and 7-on-7 practices on Tuesday and Sunday throughout the summer.

"Summer was good. We had one of our better weight lifting crews come in. We had a steady group of kids averaging 15-25 kids. We had three sessions a day so the kids found a way to make it to one," said head coach Nate Doran.

Article Photos

STC Head Varsity Coach Nate Doran oversees tackling drills at the Trojans first week of practice last week. The Trojans will be scrimmaging Friday evening for the annual Trojan Bowl to kick off the season.
News?Herald Photo/Allison Graham

The Trojans also had a good football camp according to Doran. For the first time ever the middle school and high school athletes were brought together.

"We had a successful camp. It was really good because it showed the younger kids how the older kids act and the older kids were more like role models because they wanted to do well in front of the younger kids. I think it showed the best qualities in everybody," said Doran.

Another first for the football program was a youth camp for 1st - 5th grade students. They had roughly 30 in attendance.

While the roster is still low with 28 on Varsity, the Trojans are looking to return a larger group of seniors most of whom saw playing time as juniors including Aaron Neave, Wes Upah, Jesus Wanatee Romero, David Escarzaga, Fransisco Rivera, Nate Drummer, Fernando Lopez, Osmar Galvez, Jesus Chavez and Tyrin Lasley.

"We've got a good group of kids. The senior class came to me early and said we don't want to be 0-9, what do we have to do," said Doran.

Friday nights will start with a Frosh game at 5:30, followed by varsity. One change this year is that there will be no JV team.

"We just don't have the numbers and we can't afford to have anyone hurt," said Doran, "we are a 3A school and we've only got 28 kids out. The majority of teams we will play this year will have more on varsity than we have 9-12. That's just the nature of the beast right now for South Tama."

South Tama isn't alone in the cancellation of a JV schedule. Three of STC's opponents Benton, Vinton and Grinnell also won't be playing a JV schedule.

"Last year took a toll on us. We had 18 injuries because we had kids getting hurt in the JV game and then we couldn't play them in varsity. We had guys who were barely playing JV who were starting on varsity just out of necessity," said Doran.

The main focus is on keeping kids healthy so they are focusing on hydration, stretching and removing a majority of full contact out of practices in hopes to stay injury free.

Another change for the team this year is in the coaching staff. Justin Suchanek has moved from the freshman team to an assistant varsity coach. Jarod Bridgewater will be coaching the freshmen alongside Todd Dale and Josh Bly who is a volunteer for the frosh team. Doran remains at the helm and Danny Mayo and Cort Ahrens are also returning in their roles with the team.

Doran is taking an active role to create a more comprehensive football program.

"It's something we've tried to do forever but we've got to get our program going from the bottom to the top," said Doran.

One thing Doran has implemented is that everyone now has the same playbook, which consists of five core plays and four main formations. Also having the middle school and high school camp together was a game changer. It allowed the coaching staff from all levels to come together and communicate about what it is they are working towards.

"The wheels have been turning for a while. We'd been trying to do this with starting the middle school camp before but now we can see things clicking. I can see people are excited about this because people know exactly what they are doing as a coach. I think the kids are also going to be on the same page. It's our common goal," said Doran.

The new approach has also led the team to a motto for the year, "Control what you can control."

"We can't control how many kids we have out. We can't control what happens around here. We can control our attitude and effort. What we bring to the table," said Doran.

The goal for the coaching staff is to be cautiously optimistic. The Trojans will still face some tough competition for the 2019 schedule with one opponent (Pella) ranked 6th in Class 3A preseason polls and four other unranked opponents (Benton, Independence, Bondurant-Farrar, and Oskaloosa) that have received votes in 3A preseason polling.

Doran hopes to finish the season at .500, get their first win, stay healthy and finish the year with their chins held high.

You can catch the Trojans at the Trojan Bowl tonight (Friday, August 23). STC will be scrimmaging East Marshall starting at 7 p.m.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web