The Brandon-Evansville football team lost nine letter winners from a 9-2 team a year ago.
Those guys were huge pieces to a group that was a win shy of making it to the 9-man state tournament. But this is a Chargers program that prides itself on an ability now to reload after losses to graduation like this, and head coach Tim Pattrin believes Brandon-Evansville can do that with football moved back to the fall season now.
“We expect to compete for the district and section titles this season,” Pattrin said. “We lost a lot from last year's team, but guys put in a lot of time this summer and are ready to step up.”
The Chargers had one of their best seasons in program history in 2019. They made their third trip to the section finals and became just the second Brandon-Evansville team to ever win nine games before falling just short in a 24-16 game against Hancock. The Owls went on to finish 13-1 and make a run all the way to the state title game.
Keagan Schiele, Sam Fuller, Luke Moore, Tanner Bitzan, Andrew Johnson, Tony Schaffran, Marshall Riedel, Andrew Perrin and Nick Lundeen are the faces the Chargers have to replace. Those guys played all over the field, but Brandon-Evansville still returns seven letter winners who are expected to lead this current group.
“Our lines are big and physical,” Pattrin said. “We have a lot of experience coming back.”
Cade Carlson is one of those experienced players expected to put up another big season. The now senior linebacker and running back is a physical runner who led the Chargers in carries (130) and yards (1,136) in 2019 on his way to a team-leading 18 touchdowns too.
Carlson is joined by Mike Cochran (DE/OG), Kobe Reiland (QB/DB), Nathan Baumann (OE/OLB) and Kyle Schaffran (DB/WR) as senior letter winners back. Hunter Koep (NT/OG) and Tyler Bitzan (RB/OLB) are junior letter winners returning who will be counted on throughout the season as Brandon-Evansville develops depth with its younger players.
Pattrin listed senior Kaleb Pikkaraine (OL/DL), juniors Dylan Tracy (DE/OL) and John Roers (FB/LB) and sophomores Aaron Gillespie (DL/OL), Ryland Yeats (RB/DB) and Desmond White (QB/OLB) as guys ready to step into bigger roles this season.
The Chargers will be on the road for their season opener on Oct. 9 with a 3:30 p.m. game at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley.
Pattrin believes Brandon-Evansville is ready for another competitive season. The Chargers will likely have to go through the usual suspects in the district and section again this year to compete at the top of those fields with Hancock, Verndale and Wheaton-Herman-Norcross all coming off of winning seasons themselves from 2019.
BRANDON-EVANSVILLE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Oct. 9 at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 14 vs. Bertha-Hewitt, 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Kelliher, 3 p.m.
Oct. 30 vs. Ortonville, 6 p.m.
Nov. 6 at Wheaton-H-N, 6 p.m.
Nov. 13 vs. Hancock, 6 p.m.