By Frank Vajcner
Dundee took a step forward last season, as they went 6-5 and won a playoff game for the first time since 2011. Nineteen lettermen return for the Vikings
Head Coach: Steve Ayre (6-5, second season)
Assistant Coaches: Cord Trott, Jeremy Fielder, Bryan Hammond, Nate Mills, Jeremy Bell, Isaac Bowe, Billy Baker
Offense: There will be a new trigger man for the Vikings’ spread offense after the graduation of Carson Irwin. Sophomore Ryan Zanger, who saw action in the playoffs, will likely get first crack as the starter. Zanger will have a strong supporting cast around him in RB/WR Trey Parker, as well as WRs Matt Atkinson, Ethan Layton, Caden Bellaire, and John Swisher. Up front, the Vikings return Joey Maseman, Trent Vajcner, Justin Busz, and Brayden “Big Homie” Ratliff on the line.
Defense: Ayre has a decent amount of experience returning, but he may have an ace up his sleeve with former Clinton head coach Jeremy Fielder taking over as the defensive coordinator. Fielder will look to improve a unit that gave up 20.3 points per contest last season. Evan Imo, Ratliff, and Vajcner will anchor the defensive line. Cooper Buhl and Parker will be names to watch in the linebacking corps, while the secondary will be led by Colton Bordine, Layton, and Swisher.
Ratliff also returns as the place kicker.
Coach’s Outlook: The LCAA is a tough conference, the teams that can establish the running game and stop the run will have the most success. Hudson and Clinton return a lot of quality competitors from teams that made post-season runs.
Scrimmage: August 17 at Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard
FNV Outlook: I spoke to a few Dundee players this off-season, and they could not stop talking about having Fielder on staff. Having someone like that on your staff can be an ace in the hole, but it will ultimately come down to how well the players can carry out the scheme. The Vikings will get an early test from Clarenceville in Week 2, and games against Clinton, Hudson, and Ida, will be measuring stick games.