By Frank Vajcner
It’s the start of a new era in Dundee, as Steve Ayre takes over for Ross Crow as head coach after Crow became the Vikings’ new athletic director. 18 starters return for the Vikings.
Head Coach: Steve Ayre (first year)
Assistant Coaches: Cord Trott (OC), Nate Hall (WR), Jeremy Bell (OL), Gage Campbell (OL), Devon Cochran (DL), Barry Bock (LB), Bryan Hammond (DB).
Offense: The Vikings will continue to run the spread that was installed last season. Scoring was an issue, but with eight starters back, things should be much better. Leading the way at QB is senior Carson Irwin, who is in his second season as the starter, and third on the varsity roster. Irwin is considered a threat to run and throw. At RB, look for Jimmy Dusa to carry the load, while senior Elek LaPalme (three-year starter), junior Caden Bellaire, and sophomore Trey Parker (a newcomer whom Ayre highlighted) will be names to watch at WR. Zack Salenbien moves to TE after spending the last two seasons on the line.
Speaking of the line, three starters return in junior Brayden “Big Homie” Ratliff, and senior twins Kaiden and Cole Hubbell.
Defense: In all, ten starters return on the defensive side of the ball. The only loss was that of all-FNV linebacker Ty Schroeder. The defensive line has plenty of depth with seniors Ashton Marcero, Salenbien, Ratliff, and the Hubbell twins. Matt Atkinson and Colton Bordine will team up with Lapalme and Bellaire to form what should be a solid secondary. Parker and Ethan Laplante were mentioned as names to watch at linebacker.
Ratliff will return to handle the placekicking and kickoff duties.
Coach’s Outlook: The LCAA will be tough as ever. We have emphasized the need to prepare to battle every day. If we continue to learn how to prepare, practice, and play, we will be an exciting team.
FNV Outlook: The good news for the Vikings is that there is plenty of experience back on both sides of the ball. The bad news is that they happen to be in the rugged LCAA. Out-of-conference games against Summit Academy and Clarenceville will provide the Vikings to show what they are made of before opening conference play against arch-rival Ida in the Backyard Brawl. The opportunities will be there in the LCAA to show how much progress the Vikings can make.