Bonanza Valley Voice -

Jaguars football team set for season opener

B-B-E hosts A-C-GC on Friday night


Randy Olson

Coach Moscho gives instructions to his team prior to the start of Monday practice (August 28).

This year's edition of the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Jaguars football team has 12 seniors who will lead the them into battle on Friday nights as they look to do damage in the Mid-State, Sub-District 3 campaign.

The seniors include Ben Schumann, Ryan Illies, Isaiah Gilbert, Jaden Pastian, Adam Jaeger, Kyle Felling, Parker Schwinghammer, Trevor Kern, Seth Roering, Thomas Kollman, Riley Weller and Cody Lewis. 

What bodes well for the team is having five of those 12 seniors working on the offensive or defensive line, plus six coming in with ample experience at the skill positions.

Ryan Illies returns with two years of experience as the starting quarterback, and he will be complemented in the backfield with returning ball carriers Adam Jaeger, Isaiah Gilbert and Kyle Felling. 

Rounding out the varsity roster are eight juniors, five sophomores and nine freshmen for total preseason turnout of 34. The team has eyes on making a dramatic improvement on last year's disappointing 2-7 record.

The Jaguars went 2-5 last year in the Mid-State, Sub-District 3.

One change this year is the loss of West Central Area/Ashby to the Midwest, Sub-District Blue Class 2A division. Replacing the Knights will be New York Mills, a team that also went 2-7 last year. Another minor change is that Browerville no longer includes Eagle Valley in a football coop. Eagle Valley school dissolved this summer and was divided up into surrounding school districts.

The Mid-State District, Sub-District 3 includes these teams: Browerville, Upsala/Swanville Area, Royalton, New York Mills, Parkers Prairie, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg and Kimball Area.

Last season, Royalton and Upsala/Swanville shared the Mid-State, Sub-District 3 title with 6-1 records. Three teams tied for third place with 4-3 records: Browerville/EV, Parkers Prairie and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg. B-B-E and WCA/A finished tied for sixth place at 2-5, while Kimball Area was eighth at 0-7.

The Jaguars came oh-so-close to pulling off a dramatic upset when they traveled to Upsala/Swanville Area looking to avenge a 41-0 loss from two weeks before. The No. 6-seeded Jaguars led in the second half but lost 22-20 to the No. 3-seeded Patriots.

The Jaguars finished 2016 with an offensive average of 18.2 points a game with two shutout losses, while on defense they gave up 31.9 points a game. Those numbers will need to move in the right directions for the Jaguars to earn a winning record this year.

Coach Moscho (30-40 overall, 7-7 playoffs) said about the season, "We expect big things out of our returning skill players. Our seniors want to do great things this fall. With being in the district that we are in, every night is a coin flip. It's going to be who comes out to play and executed the game plan better."

Overall the coaching staff believes the potential is there to have a shot at winning every game, but many things have to go right in order for that to happen.

The season opener is against a Class 2A team for the third year in a row, a team the Jaguars are no strangers to: Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City. The Jaguars and Falcons have met on the gridiron every fall since 2010 with the exception of 2011.

Two years ago, the Jaguars lost in Grove City in the season opener 28-22 in overtime. Last year in Belgrade, the Jaguars led 7-0 right off the bat with a kickoff return for a touchdown, but the Falcons came back and won the game 31-28.

This year the two teams resume their rivalry on Friday, September 1 at 7 p.m. in Belgrade. Bring a car pool of fans and cheer on the Jaguars!

Below is part of a Q & A with head coach Chris Moscho on the preseason:

How have preseason practices shaped up as you head into the season opener? "We've had a good couple weeks of practice and are happy with how we did at the scrimmage. Of course, there's always things we need to improve on after scrimmage, but overall I am satisfied with where were at. We have a lot of experience coming back, so that's definitely going to help us this year."

What has the team made an emphasis on during preseason to prepare for the fall schedule? "We've done something different this year. Getting in the weight room is part of practice. Basically, every day there are 30+ kids in the weight room."

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