18 August 2012

Football: Tigers return 14 starters for 2012

Athen Aston rushed for 770 yards and 7 touchdowns last season (photo by Jim Lindquist)
After not posting a winning season since 2008 and not winning a playoff game since 2006 the Tigers appear on the cusp of getting things back on track in 2012.

Veteran coach Mark Froehling (71-49 in 12 years at FHS) returns seven starters on each side of the ball from a 2011 team that finished 3-6 overall and 3-4 in Missota Conference play.

"We return an all-conference quarterback (Darren Beenken), an all-conference running back (Athen Ashton) and several starters on our offensive line," Froehling said. "This should give us more consistent offensive play.

"The defense should be more aggressive and competitive and we should have a strong kicking game with the return of Reid Taubenheim."

Darren Beenken 1265 yard passing, 269 rushing in 2011 (photo by Jim Lindquist)
The returning offensive starters include Beenken, Ashton, senior linemen Josh Boatwright and David Silber, junior wide receiver Johnny Dittman, junior tight end CJ Wynings and  and junior lineman Ryan Gowen.

Defensive starters back include senior linemen Tom Sell and Denver Robinson, senior back Alex Chadwick, junior backs Kevin Clifton and Jack Erickson and junior linebackers Godfrey Mpetey and Mason Auge.

Key newcomers on the offensive side of the ball are junior wide receivers Mac Bassett, Jordan DeCrook and Tyler VanWinkle; linemen Nate Retterath and Alex Witkowski and junior lineman Josh Patterson.

Four juniors are expected to contribute heavily to the Tiger defense: junior linebacker Taubenheim; lineman John LeBlond; back Mason Gaylord and linebakcer Nick Ruark.

Alex Chadwick-3-year starter at defensive back
"We will be young at several positions with multiple underclassmen starters," Froehling said. "A lack of size and depth are also concerns for us."

Froehling said he expects his team to be more competitive in the Missota Conference this fall but that moving up in the standings won't be an easy task.

" It will be difficult because I believe the conference as a whole will be better," he said. " I think Holy Angels, Chanhassen and Shakopee would be considered the pre-season favorites... The section is new to us so we will learn about our ability to compete there as the season progresses."

The new section includes just six teams: Farmington, St. Louis Park, Apple Valley, Bloomington Kennedy, Bloomington Jefferson and Minneapolis Southwest. Of the six schools only Southwest (5-4) finished with a winning record in 2011.

Froehling brings back a veteran varsity coaching staff in Gary Burr, Pat Hudak, Glenn Mogensen, Shane Wyandt and Jon Lund.

Lew Miskowicz, Mike Winters and Jon Malin coach the B-sqaud with Chad Olson, Brian Helmstetter, Brent Grengs and Tharen Johnon handling the ninth grade coaching duties.

Boeckman Middle School coaches include eighth grade: Jim Swedin, Brad Alabano, Lance Walsten and Justyn Helgeson and seventh grade: Shawn Anderson, Mark Pickar, Nick Davis and Jon Stock.

Paul Ahrenholz, Jeff Stulz, Brent Mahlstedt and Jacob Bauer coach the Dodge Middle School eighth-graders while Michael Schommer, Brian Louis and Bryan Buesgens work with the seventh-graders. A fourth seventh-grade position has yet to be filled.

The Tigers open their 2012 season with a non-conference game against Rochester Mayo, Friday, Aug. 31, at Tiger Field.