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Prep gridders to open the season later this week

Minnesota prep football teams will tee it up for the first time starting tomorrow, with all six local teams opening their seasons Thursday or Friday.

Minnesota prep football teams will tee it up for the first time starting tomorrow, with all six local teams opening their seasons Thursday or Friday.
Proctor opens Thursday at Eveleth-Gilbert.
Friday, Duluth Marshall plays host to Cook at 4 p.m., and 7 p.m. games pit Duluth East against Princeton at Public Schools Stadium, Denfeld at Hermantown and Duluth Central at Chisago Lakes.
Six-foot-four, 285 OT/DT Chris Parrent, a borderline Division I prospect, will lead the 3A Rails against the Golden Bears. Proctor will throw plenty of beef at its opponents this season: FB/LB Travis Olson is 6-3, 220, NG Brian Johnson is 5-11, 260, OG Corey Brinkman is 6-1, 245 and OG Brady Kensrud is 5-11, 220. HB Matt Ogston is chasing a second team rushing title.
The Rails are playing primarily a 4A schedule this fall, and not by their choice. Depth is a concern with only 37 players in grades 9-12.
"We need to keep people healthy," said Proctor coach Dave Hylla.
Marshall shared the Polar League South title with Moose Lake-Willow River a year ago, and lost to the Rebels in the Section 7AA finals. All-state MLB/OG Kasey Yoder is back to lead the Hilltoppers, and RB/LB Josh Rudolph expects to pile up a lot of yardage this season. Quarterback is a major question mark heading into the opener, with promising sophomores Dave Mennes, Pete Lien and Carlin Page competing for a starting job.
Duluth East expects to have a big season. However, a brutally-tough independent schedule could make or break the Greyhounds, who return 30 seniors from last season's 5-4 club. And RB/S Ed Kaiser is on the shelf with a torn ACL ligament, and WR/S Tony Roman is recovering from a preseason injury.
"On paper, this team has the potential to be my best team ever," said 10-year Greyhounds' coach Bill Cortes.
The Denfeld-Hermantown matchup should be a war. The Hunters are quietly rebuilding after finishing 7-3 a year ago, and Hermantown is still smarting after a 5-6 finish last season. Plus, Hermantown will dedicate its new Corey Veech Field at halftime.
HB Dennis Jacobson, OT Justin Davis (6-3, 280) and QB John Borich will lead the Hunters to Hermantown, which returns most of its key starters from a year ago. QB B. J. Radovich, WR/S David Bjorlin and HB Thad Epperly are Hawks' stars.
Duluth Central was 0-9 last season in Coach Scott Forbort's first season, and Chisago Lakes might have its best team in a decade. It adds up to quite a challenge for the Trojans and co-captains FB/LB Ian McRae, DT/OT Neil Siegle, NT/G Bryan Lacore and especially-tough LB/RB Collin Davis.

Howie Hanson writes a regular sports column in Duluth Budgeteer News on the weekend. He can be reached at 624-4189 or by e-mail at Howie@duluth.com

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