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Strang gets chance to lead Canistota football team

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Strang gets chance to lead Canistota football team
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

CANISTOTA — Lenny Schroeder has been the face of Canistota football since 2004, but now, James Strang gets his chance.

Strang, who has been the Hawks’ defensive coordinator for the past three years, is taking the role head on and ready for all that comes with it.

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“The biggest difference has just been the opportunity to take a little more of a leadership role on the field and be the final decision maker,” said Strang, who took over a program which has won three consecutive state championships.

In May, Schroeder was hired as the school’s principal and felt it was the best decision for him and the program to relinquish his position at the helm.

“It was a difficult decision, but it’s one that is going to be better for everybody right now,” said Schroeder, who will remain with the team as the offensive coordinator. “Being it’s my first principal job, there are a lot of different things to learn and a lot of responsibilities during the week.”

Schroeder said the adjustment to being an assistant has been an easy transition.

“We’ve basically switched jobs,” Schroeder said, referring to Strang. “We’re still doing everything the same but he’s got the head coaching responsibilities. He’s a great coach.”

This is Strang’s first head coaching position and he said having Schroeder still a part of the program is key to the team’s success.

“He’s a very dedicated person and has a football-orientated mind,” Strang said. “I knew he was throwing his hat in the ring, and we felt confident in me taking over the head coaching responsibilities. Coach Schroeder doesn’t want to leave the game yet, and he has experience and knowledge I can draw from.”

Coming into this season, the Hawks have won 36 straight games with three consecutive state titles. Strang said he hopes to keep the winning tradition alive as he heads into his first season at the helm.

“As far as the expectation and tradition, it lies within our players,” he said. “These kids have grown up being winners and understand what success feels like. The players take credit for the success and we’ve just been the conductors.”

Canistota looks to continue its winning streak in its home opener against Hanson at 7 p.m. on Aug. 30.

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Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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