During Mike Johnson’s first year as head coach of the Parkers Prairie football team, he had a lot of senior leadership to lean on. But after 15 experienced players from the 2019 season graduated, the challenges the Panthers face lie in their youth.
“After losing 15 seniors last year, and many of them being multiple-year starters on both sides of the ball, we are excited about several new prospects,” Johnson said. “This includes three new seniors, Joey Hoppe, Joe Palmer and Isaac Wangen. Joey Hoppe and Joe Palmer look to provide great size and strength along our offensive and defensive line. A new junior this year is Carter Thoennes, who will compete at linebacker and tight end.”
The Panthers have several underclassmen who are excited about making an impact at the varsity level this season.
“Caden DeBoer and Blake Adickes are two sophomores who are competing for time on both the offensive and defensive line,” Johnson said. “Other sophomores looking to compete for varsity time are Chase Thieschafer, Gus Johnson, Ryder Ashbaugh, Bennet Arceneau, RJ Reigstad and Ben Harrington. Freshman David Revering will also look to compete for time on our varsity team.”
Despite losing a big senior class, the expectation is still to win games. Parkers Prairie hopes to build off a 5-4 season, which ended in a first-round Section 4A playoff exit at the hands of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunberg.
“We are looking forward to being competitive throughout the season this year,” Johnson said. “With a large portion of our starters graduating last year, we have some big shoes to fill. Fortunately, we have had good leadership from some of our veteran players who have worked hard in the offseason to come into this season bigger, faster, and stronger, as well as encouraged underclassmen to do the same.”
Brendan Johnson is a three-year starter at quarterback who holds the all-time school record in passing yards and passing touchdowns. He set the single-season record for both categories as well. He joins returning starters Jake Wagner, James Grant, Owen Hezlep, Carter Hoppe, Cole Gessell, John Oberg, Florian Koepp, Michael Ahlers, Jesse LaManna and Jon Jensen.
“We need to work on developing some of our underclassmen to step up and help us out with depth,” Johnson said. “We are looking for some of our underclassmen to be a big part of our team throughout the season and will need them to grow in experience and become contributors for us on the varsity level.”
Johnson expects Section 4A to be competitive again, especially in a shortened season.
2020 PARKERS PRAIRIE FOOTBALL ROSTER
SENIORS- Brendan Johnson QB/DB, Isaac Wangen WR/DB, John Oberg RB/LB, Florian Koepp WR/K, James Grant FB/LB, Harley Pince FB/DB, Owen Hezlep OL/DL, Joey Hoppe OL/DL, Carter Hoppe OL/DL, Joe Palmer OL/DL, Jon Jensen OL/DL, Thomas Potts OL/DL, Lewis Swedal OL/DL, Aiden Larson WR/DB;
JUNIORS- Cole Gesell RB/DB, Jesse LaManna WR/DB, Carter Thoennes TE/DB, Jake Wagner TE/LB, Skylar Young FB/LB, Michael Ahlers OL/DL, Nick Jirik OL/DL;
SOPHOMORES- Ben Harrington WR/DE, Ryder Ashbaugh RB/LB, Mason Mittag QB/DB, Chase Thieschafer TE/LB, Brady Blackstone WR/DB, Hunter Holte RB/LB, Bennet Arceneau WR/DB, Jacob Swedal FB/LB, Dyllon McMillan WR/DB, Derek Anderson OL/DL, Blake Anderson OL/OL, Caden DeBoer OL/DL, Armando Perez OL/DL, Gus Johnson TE/LB, Tyler Carstensen WR/DB;
FRESHMEN- Cohen Noska QB/LB, Landon Wagner TE/LB, Seth Sansness FB/LB, David Revering RB/DB, Holden Truax FB/LB, Karsten Bundy OL/DL, Kayden Leininger OL/LB, Zach Mrnak OL/DL, Devin Eggert OL/DL, Brayden Reiman WR/DB; COACHES- Head coach- Mike Johnson; Assistant coaches- Eli Gessel, Andrew Herder, Caleb Horn, Jeremiah Burnham, Kyle Owings, Mark Ferley, Drew Johnson
2020 PARKERS PRAIRIE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Oct. 9 vs. LPGE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 at KMS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 at Benson, 7 p.m.
Oct. 30 vs. BBE, 7 p.m.
Nov. 6 vs. Browerville, 7 p.m.
Nov. 11 at Upsala Swanville Area, 7 p.m.