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Wesleyan to hold second scrimmage today

Dakota Wesleyan head football coach Brad Pole realizes his team is young in a lot of key positions, but he's still high on his squad after the first two full weeks of practice.

Dakota Wesleyan head football coach Brad Pole realizes his team is young in a lot of key positions, but he's still high on his squad after the first two full weeks of practice.

The Tigers will hold their second scrimmage of the year at 10 a.m. today on the campus of Dakota Wesleyan. The scrimmage should run until noon.

"Camp has been very good," Pole said. "I think the real highlight is that we haven't lost a soul so far, we've actually gained a couple of players. That usually doesn't happen. We started with 77 kids and now we have 80. A couple of guys came in late, but they've joined us and they're ready to go."

Some of the late arrivals to DWU include Nick Tolsma, who was playing with Rapid City Post 22 in the American Legion national tournament and Mitchell native Ryan Wagner, who officially joined the team Friday. Wagner played defensive end for the Kernels during his high-school run.

Offensively, it appears Wagner native Jon Doom has the inside track to the starting quarterback spot. According to Pole, Doom has grasped his spread offense very well through the first two weeks. Brad Folkers will back up Doom.

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"I'm very comfortable with saying Jon is my starting quarterback," Pole said. "We thought he was going to be the guy coming into camp and he has proven that. For a freshman, he's picked up our system and he has a lot of skills, especially with his feet. He's going to make plays."

Another area where the Tigers will start freshmen is the offensive line. Mitchell native Cody Bier will start at left guard in today's scrimmage along with West Central freshman Brady Hansen at right tackle and Murdo freshman Kirk Byrd at left tackle. Starting at center will be senior Caleb Lanz and junior John McDaniel will get the nod at right guard.

"We have a lot of youth in that particular area," Pole said. "Obviously, we have a young group of guys there. The experience factor isn't there, but these young guys are tremendously talented. We'll just have to have patience with them and they can be a special group in a few years."

Expect to see seniors Rodney Moore and Andrew Schmaltz in the backfield along with the surprise of camp in senior Keith Jones. Freshman running back Colby McGinley should also see time in the backfield.

"Rodney, in particular has had a great camp," Pole said. "But we've really been surprised by Keith. He is just like a new guy out there. He has an attitude when he's running the ball and he put in a lot of work into the offseason. That's been nice to see."

Junior tight end Tanner Tucker will be held out of the scrimmage because of an injury and senior Will Walker and Mount Vernon freshman Grant Johnson will also see work there. Pole expects to use a lot of two tight-end sets this season.

Senior Tyron Arrington, sophomore Jon Young, freshman Bubba Slaba, redshirt freshman Jordan Sheets, sophomore John Olson and senior Anthony Paxton will see time at wide receiver.

Defensively, senior Lionel Riley will start at nose guard and senior Alyx Allen, freshman Devin Nagata and Tripp junior Brett Maag will all see time on the defensive line today. At outside linebacker, Daniel Wysong, a transfer from the University of New Mexico, has helped plug a major hole.

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"He's a good player," Pole said. "I'm really excited about him, he's a scrapper and he gets to the ball. He really helps fill a major hole for us there."

Ryan Deibert, Ian Dantzler and Antonio Rice will all see extended time at the position. At inside linebacker, Kimball sophomore Derek Ashley continues to impress and Chris Sheckler will also see time there.

In the secondary, Eric Adolph and Rod Hawkins will start at cornerback, Grant Rawlings will start at high safety and Eric Washington gets the nod at strong safety.

"We'll get a look at a few things today," Pole said of the scrimmage. "We want to make sure we have people in the right places. We want the guys to get down to business."

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