KSAL Sports continues its High School Football Tour around central Kansas previewing the 2018 high school football season.
Next team up: Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis Lions’ football program continues to build under fifth-year head coach, Jhon Haehn. The Lions are coming off of a 2-7 year in 2017, however, it was a one win improvement for the Lions from 2016.
Although Minneapolis must replace several talented senior players from last year’s squad, coach Haehn believes he has several talented underclassmen that will continue to help Minneapolis compete for wins and make the state playoffs–their ultimate goal in 2018.
Minneapolis plays a brutal schedule however. The Lions dropped down to class 2A in the latest KSHSAA reclassification and its schedule features the likes of Republic County, Sacred Heart and Beloit before squaring off with likely state ranked district foes including Phillipsburg and Hoisington.
The Lions will lean heavily on returning two-way talent from last year’s squad including running backs Tyson Villalpando and Trent Moeckel. Gaton Held leads the offensive and defensive line units, while the Lions return Derek Freel, Kaden McCullick, Levi Ausherman, Hunter Allison and Derek Pieschel, all of whom started at times. Minneapolis will also rely on its talented sophomore class to fill in gaps for the 2018 season.
Still, Haehn is excited about the potential for this year’s squad. He says that this team did great work with off-season workouts and are continuing to build a winning mentality–a key emphasis for the Minneapolis coaching staff in 2018. This all culminates with Haehn anticipating up to 38 players on the roster, which is a big improvement from previous years in which Minneapolis would finish the season with under 30 on its roster.
Minneapolis opens the 2018 season on the road with North Central Activities Association foe, Republic County on Aug. 31. All Lions’ games can be heard on local Rocking M Media station 92.7 The New Zoo, KZUH-FM.
2018 Schedule for the Minneapolis Lions (Class 2A, District 8):
Aug. 31–@ Republic County
Sept. 7–Sacred Heart
Sept. 21–@ Ellsworth (District)
Sept. 28–Norton (Homecoming) (District)
Oct. 5–Hoisington (Senior Night) (District)
Oct. 12–@ Hays TMP (District)
Oct. 19–@ Phillipsburg (District)
Oct. 26–Bracket Game (TBD)
*NOTE: All games are broadcast LIVE on 92.7 The New Zoo with Skylar Nosker and Conner Gies*
Listen to KSAL’s interview with Jhon Haehn: