2012 Fall Preview: Prep football things to watchThe Bulletin checks out the top things to watch on the football fields in south Washington County this season.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
East Ridge QB battle: Following the graduation of three-year starter Brandon Johnson - the only starting quarterback in the school’s history - there expects to be a QB battle in Raptorland. Sophomore Sam Cobbs and juniors Stephen Orehosky and Alex Johnson are on the current roster at QB, but none has completed a pass in a varsity game. The dark horse to start for East Ridge this fall is newcomer Seth Green, a freshman transfer from Hill-Murray.
Smallidge v Al-Hameed: It will be fun to watch which senior running back gains more all-purpose yards this season – Park’s Dylan Smallidge or Woodbury’s Quaran Al-Hameed. Smallidge won the battle last year, totaling 1,385 yards rushing, receiving, passing and on returns – the best total by a non-QB in the conference. However, Al-Hameed went over 1,000 total yards even though he wasn’t the Royals’ starting running back the entire year.
Ryan Winter sack totals: At over 6’2 and 210 pounds, Winter, a senior defensive end for Woodbury, was the Woodbury legion baseball team’s leadoff hitter this summer – and averaged more than a steal per game. With that combination of size and speed opposing defenses will need to keep more than an eye on Winter if they want to keep their quarterbacks upright this fall.
New QB for Park: Last year, new Park head coach Darin Glazier opened up the Wolfpack’s offense and starting quarterback Kyle Fritz was the team’s main beneficiary, throwing for 1,445 yards in 2011. Following the graduation of Fritz last spring, senior J.T. Bickel seems to be the heir apparent to the QB1 spot in Cottage Grove.
Sawyer Moon passing yards: Though he wasn’t a full-time starter the entire season, Woodbury quarterback Sawyer Moon passed for the third most yards in the Suburban East Conference last season (1,357) and the second-most touchdowns (12). Including playoffs, Moon passed for 1,763 yards. This year, the gunslinger is expected to drive the Royals’ offense – which led the conference in total yards – from day 1.
Park losing streak: Park has had a tough go of it since East Ridge High School opened its doors in 2009, cutting into its base of Cottage Grove student-athletes. The Wolfpack rides a 20-game losing streak into 2012. Park is now 1-26 since the start of 2009 season – with its last win on Friday, Oct. 9, 2009, a 27-25 Homecoming victory over East Ridge.
George Behr and J.C. HasSenauer: East Ridge has a pair of juniors on the national radar in George Behr and J.C. Hassenauer. Behr, a 6’5” 230 pound tight end, and Hassenauer, a 6’2” 270 pound center, both rank in the top 10 in Minnesota for the 2014 class by the national recruiting websites rivals.com and scout.com. It’s reported that Hassenauer is getting looks from a number of Div. 1 schools, including Nebraska, Michigan State, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin, while Behr has reportedly garnered interest from Wisconsin and Minnesota.