Football: Youth movement will lead Cannon FallsCANNON FALLS — For the last two years Cannon Falls has graduated talented classes of players and found a way to replace them. This year the Bombers will try to keep that trend going.
By: Nick Gerhardt, The Republican Eagle
CANNON FALLS — For the last two years Cannon Falls has graduated talented classes of players and found a way to replace them. This year the Bombers will try to keep that trend going.
Three players from last year’s team went on to play college football, including Cedric Dicke, who decided to play at the University of Minnesota after earning a preferred walk-on offer from the Gophers.
“It’s not that uncommon because every year we’ve replaced our whole backfield,” third-year head coach Josh Hofstedt said. “The seniors, I like to have them leading us and pounding the nail for us. We have some seniors that really put in the work this summer and I think they’re ready.”
Last year Hofstedt had to replace two 1,000 yard running backs and did so through a cast of running backs that featured Paul and Matt Hernke and Dicke.
The Bombers finished 4-5 and two of those losses came by seven or fewer points, including a 30-29 loss to Goodhue.
Cannon Falls also dealt with adversity after it lost starting quarterback Braxton Lindow in the sixth game of the season. The Bombers bounced back to beat fifth-ranked Stewartville 36-6 the next week and ended the regular season on a two-game winning streak but fell in the first round of the Section 1AAA playoffs to second-ranked Plainview- Elgin-Millville.
Hunter Johnson replaced Lindow at quarterback and he’ll return for his junior season with that experience to aid him.
Cannon Falls will turn to Ian Althoff, Ryan Castillo and Jordan Lundell to carry the ball this season. Each brings a different running style.
Making holes for the backs this season will be returners Zak Prybl, Austin Noble and Cody Meyers.
The Bombers have just 13 seniors and will rely on younger players.
“Numbers-wise we’re more than we were last year, but we just have a lot of young guys who played for us and now they’re going to be juniors,” Hofstedt said. “We’ll definitely be a young team, but the numbers are good and we’re real happy about that.”
The Bombers moved into a new section this season, Section 4AAA with Columbia Heights, Concordia Academy, Minneapolis Edison, Saint Croix Lutheran, Minneapolis Roosevelt and Minnehaha Academy. Cannon Falls has the lowest enrollment number used by the Minnesota State High School League to determine class status. The Bombers’ number is 355 while Columbia Heights has a number of 697.
“I think we’ll be just as good,” senior tight end Noah Callister said. “Every year you say we lost this many seniors but in the end you end up stepping up, filling your role, doing what needs to be done.”
Cannon Falls will need to fill plenty of spots on defense with just four starters back, but Hofstedt likes the work ethic of the team.
“There’s some things from last year we should have done a lot better whereas these guys are very strong,” Hofstedt said. “We have a lot of lunch-pail kids. They work hard.”