Bayside ChatterFall sports preview
By: Steve Gow for the Lake County News-Chronicle, Lake County News Chronicle
The Mariner’s football conference has expanded from last season with the additions of Chisholm and Ely. Returning members include Bigfork, Cherry, Littlefork/Big Falls, Mountain Iron/Buhl, Northeast Range Northwoods and South Ridge.
The Mariners have home games with Littlefork, Mountain Iron/Buhl, Ely and South Ridge. Unlike last season when teams had to play an opponent twice, this season they will play everybody but one team. The Mariners have away games with Northwoods, Cherry, Northeast Range and Chisholm. They open the season on Aug. 30 at home with Littlefork.
The newly merged boys’ hockey team in Lake County has a 24-game schedule. It includes home and away games with Proctor, Pine City, Moose Lake, Ely, Greenway, Ashland, Eveleth-Gilbert and International Falls. They also have away contests with Hayward, Bagley and Kittson County Central.
Lake County Arena will host Ashland, Greenway, Pine City, Proctor, Moose Lake and Hibbing. Rukavina Arena will host a three-game Holiday Tournament with teams from Virginia, International Falls, Ely and Eveleth-Gilbert
The Mariner volleyball team opened the 2012 season on Tuesday when they hosted the Ely Timberwolves.
Mariner football hopes to add to success
The Mariner football team hopes to build on its success from last season and have another good year. The numbers are up with 20 players turning out for practice, unlike last season when they had 14 players or fewer at times. Last season, a short-handed cohesive unit finished the regular season at 6-2, ran the table in the section playoffs and ended the season in the state quarterfinals. The team lost three key players to graduation: quarterback Luke Thun, running back Holden Panetti and lineman Baruch Fischer. Also, the day before practice began, they learned that their top returning running back and place kicker was transferring to Duluth Marshall.
On a positive note, they return five of their down linemen led by Preston Westerlund, Leif Maxwell , Chad Smuk and Michael Klofstad. It is never a bad thing to have an experienced line. The quarterback position was up for grabs between Ryan Blood and Luke Small as practice began.
Contenders for running back include Jonah Koehler, Luke Small, Mark Small, Nathan Bauck, Michael Fischer and Eben Fischer. Kyle Blood is the top returning receiver and rusher. One of the keys to success once again is that he avoids injuries. The freshman class looks like they will be able to make some key contributions this season as they get acclimated to varsity play.
I believe there won’t be as many lopsided scores as last season as there will be a little more parity in the conference this season. I predict this team will once again win more games than it loses. When the games begin, we’ll have a better idea of who is playing on each team since not all eligible players return from year to year.