Wadena-Deer Creek head coach Howie Kangas is looking for more team speed to improve the fortunes of his Wolverines this fall.
With seven starters back on offense and on defense, the Wolverines will be hosting West Central Area Friday in a 7 p.m. game.
"Offensively, I hope we're going to be a little more diversified," Kangas said. "I think the real key is taking those four to five yard plays and taking it to the house."
Kangas sees a WDC defense that will be challenging the offensive units they face.
"I think we're going to be pretty aggressive defensively," Kangas said.
Seniors on the WDC team this season will be Blaine Cooper (180), Austin Koljonen (165), Blake Mikkola (170), Cody Hughes (170), Isaac Malone (195), Michael Moen (190) and Sutton Lohmiller (205). Cooper, Koljonen, Mikkola and Hughes are slated to see running duty on offense and handle linebacker spots on defense. Malone, Moen and Lohmiller will hold down line positions both offensively and defensively.
Kangas has 10 juniors on his squad. Josh Brink (160) is back to play a running back position. Brink will also see playing time at linebacker. Thomas Brekke (160) and Austin Sutherland (165) will be wideouts on offense and secondary players on defense. Zac Schertler (160) is set to quarterback the team and play safety on defense. Jarrett Pettit (175), Mike Behl (180), Reid Miller (198), Dylan Lound (220) and Wyatt Fitzsimmons (185) are all regarded as candidates for the line. Rounding out the junior class is Kota Nishida (135) who will play a receiver spot.
Sophomores on the team include Carter Wright, Lee Spencer (140), Dylan McManigle (145), Tyler Wheeler (165), Cody Wegscheid (150), Cory Webb (145), Sam Kelderman (170), Josh Daigneault (170), Dacotah Mittag (230) and Adam Arneson (170). Kangas sees Wright playing a wideout spot. Spencer can play both running back and safety. McManigle gives the Wolverines a candidate to play wideout and safety. Wheeler can handle the quarterback position as well as a linebacker spot. Wegscheid will be a wide receiver and cornerback. Webb is slated to be a running back and lineman. Kelderman can also run the ball and play linebacker. Daigneault shapes up as a wideout and linebacker. Mittag is considered a running back and a defensive lineman. Arneson can play on both sides of the line.
Freshmen on the club include wideouts Dylan Waln and Tyler Fitzsimmons, quarterback Jake Dykhoff, wideout-lineman Kobe Marcell (175), wideout-cornerbacks Isaac Witthuhn (135) and Preston Warren (130) and linemen Joseph Baker (180), Henry Fitzsimmons (195), Ryan Olson, Lucas Doyle (170) and Alex Burckhard (170).
Kangas expects Upsala-Swanville Area and Otter Tail Central to be two of WDC's strongest opponents this season. The Wolverines will travel to Swanville for a game with USA Sept. 5. They are scheduled to face Otter Tail Central in Henning Oct. 10.