September 17, 2019

Tigers need to replace entire offensive backfield - Daily Leader Extra : Sports

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Tigers need to replace entire offensive backfield

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Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 2:31 pm

For the Howard Tigers to duplicate their success from 2018, they will have to depend on seven returning starters (five on offense, five on defense).

Back in the Tigers' lineup are seniors Isaac Feldhaus (quarterback/linebacker), Austin Barnhart (center), Logan Schlim (guard/linebacker) and Paul Winker (end/defensive end); and juniors William Rentz (offensive guard), Lane Miller (defensive back) and Tisyn Spader (safety).

The Tigers finished as the Class 9A runner-up last season after losing to Canistota/Freeman 46-14 in the championship game. Howard closed the season with an 8-4 overall record, with three wins coming in the playoffs.

Coach Pat Ruml knows there are big shoes to fill this season, especially in the offensive backfield.

"We lost our entire backfield, which included All-State running back Michael Hofer and honorable mention fullback Zach Pardy," he said. "We also have to fill in for All-State tight end/defensive end EJ Leetch."

Newcomers who should see increased playing action this year are juniors Riley Genzlinger (fullback/defensive back), Kieffer Klinkhammer (running back/defensive back), Sam Aslesen (quarterback/defensive back) and Samuel Callies (offensive lineman/defensive lineman); along with sophomores Ty Beyer (linebacker) and John Callies (linebacker).

Besides filling holes on the offensive side of the ball, there will be several spots to fill on defense.

"We will have all new linebackers on defense," Ruml said. "We should have some great depth at multiple positions."

Ruml said that he likes the size and speed of the Tigers for the upcoming season.

"We have a lot of guys out for track, and most of the team worked hard during the summer," he said. "I think we can open up our offense a little more this season and spread the ball around quite a bit more."

Ruml believes that Class 9A is loaded with the top eight teams all being very tough. He expects Canistota/Freeman, Howard, Warner, Britton-Hecla, Sully Buttes and Gregory will be in the thick of things when the playoffs roll around in October.

The Tigers will play their first two games on the road this year. They will start against Castlewood on Friday for a 7 p.m. contest.

The first home game for the Tigers will be Sept. 13 (after a bye) when Canistota/Freeman visits Howard for a 7 p.m. game.

Assisting Ruml this season are Troy Loudenburg, Chad Podhradsky, Adam North, Pat Pardy and Justin Palmquist.

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