When/Where: 7 p.m. at Chamberlain.
Coaches: Chamberlain’s Jeff Rademacher; Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central’s Jason Kolousek.
Records: Season openers for both teams.
Last year’s meeting: Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central edged Chamberlain, 13-12.
Forecast: 77 degrees at kickoff, with southeast winds at 15 mph.
Here are three items to watch for in today’s game between Gregory and Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central:
All eyes will be on Chamberlain senior lineman Nash Hutmacher this season.
Hutmacher, who stands 6-foot-5, 305-pounds and is nicknamed the Polar Bear, verbally committed to play football at Nebraska during the summer. An all-stater and three-time state heavyweight wrestling champ, Hutmacher totaled 105 tackles, 10 sacks and forced 10 fumbles last season.
So it goes without saying, but Hutmacher will have the attention of the Blackhawks today.
“He’s a legit D-I player and you have to account for him and there’s not a lot of times you have to make your game plan around an interior lineman,” WWSSC coach Jason Kolousek said. “But you have to account for him or he can wreck things in a hurry for you from both sides of the ball. He’s a phenomenal player.”
Kolousek said the future Husker will make his plays and “we are not going to completely shut him out of the game, but we just have to hopefully limit that a little bit and take advantage of some other areas.”
But he’s got some beef around him, with Jackson Soulek (6-0, 275) and Ruger Forester (5-11, 240) expected to complement Hutmacher up front.
“I am expecting those guys to have a big year because Nash is going to be focused on and we have dudes around him too that can play,” Chamberlain coach Jeff Rademacher said.
It’s the season opener and that usually brings excitement and anticipation, which places a premium on minimizing mistakes. The turnover battle and limiting mistakes are always key, but perhaps even more so in a season opener when the anticipation is high.
“They are going to be excited and obviously there’s going to be some mistakes we make,” Kolousek said. “So obviously what we have been pushing this week and it started last week is attention to detail. The other team is going to make some plays. We are going to make some plays, but let’s not give them free yards by not paying attention to detail.”
It also means teams are going to be trotting out new personnel, but both coaches expect a similar approach to years past.
“New head guy so we are doing a few things different,” said Rademacher, who was promoted to head coach after spending six seasons as an assistant. “We are just going to keep working on what we’ve worked on and we are going to move forward.”
Kolousek, who sports a 50-29 at WWSSC, said there will be some minor tweaks in schemes. But the Blackhawks will keep things the same as they’ll drive for consistency this season.
“Our offense is going to look a little different than it did last year,” Kolousek said. “But it’s the same basis what we want to do. The actually plays didn’t play, just kind of change where they are coming from and maybe a little about how we are executing them and some of that is fitting our personnel.”
Other players to watch
WWSSC is powered by senior Noah Dickson, who garnered honorable mention all-state honors last season. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Dickson will anchor the linebacking corps, while being a “jack of all trades,” on offense, said Kolousek.
“Offensively, we are just trying to put him in the best position so we can utilize him and take advantage of his skillset,” Kolousek said. “He’s going to kind of be all over the place offensively. We need to get the ball in his hands a little bit more and we are hoping we can do that and it can lead to some success.”
Rademacher pointed out 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end Sellyck McManus as a player with some upside.
“He has pretty good hands and he started on the basketball team last year for us,” Rademacher said. “I am excited to see what he’s got going on. We are going to utilize him.”