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Looking for a challenge? Coach Kangas wants you

Andrew VanErp hands the ball off to Blaine Cooper during the execution of a play Tuesday during the summer football camp. There were 16 boys at the Tuesday camp in Wadena.1 / 2
Photos by Brian Hansel Howie Kangas takes players through a Tuesday morning camp session on the practice field in Wadena. Kangas will serve as head coach of the Wadena-Deer Creek varsity football team this fall.2 / 2

There is a new football coach in Wadena, and he is interested in recruiting players for this year's Wadena-Deer Creek football squad.

If someone is looking for a fall sport to try on for size, Howie Kangas has one to


Why football?

"Because of the challenge of it," the veteran coach said. "It's the most challenging sport a kid can play. You're challenged physically and mentally, and it forces you to play as a team."

Kangas staged a three-day summer camp Monday through Wednesday at the WDC practice field. Not all of his future players were able to make the camp because of other commitments. Kangas still appreciated the chance.

"I'm trying to make an impression," Kangas said. "We need boots on the ground. We need soldiers."

The Wolverines have suffered from a lack of depth in past years. As an 11-man football team, the Wolverines need enough players to not only move the chains but also stop the opposition on defense. Kangas was officially hired at the June meeting of the WDC school board. He last coached football in 2009.

Zach Schertler was one of the 16 players who attended Tuesday's session. He was impressed by the football savvy Kangas showed.

"I think the coach knows what he's talking about," Schertler said. "He's showing us some of the new plays."

Kangas also wanted to take a look at some of the players who may be playing for him this fall so he can start making plans. Football practice officially begins Aug. 13, but checking out the talent pool will help Kangas develop his team.

"It's going to be good, it's going to be exciting," WDC Assistant Coach Brian Maki said.

Kangas coached the Perham Yellowjackets for 18 years, amassing a record of 119-65. Kangas led three of his teams to the state playoffs. Two of his teams played in the Prep Bowl.

The Wolverines have won only 11 games since 2001.

The "team" approach Kangas has already impressed on his players includes recruiting players to fill the WDC roster.

"If you're up for a challenge, get on board," Kangas said.