Prairie Hopes to Build on Momentum
CEDAR RAPIDS You remember the names.
There was Jace Hanna, Jarred Edmonds, Demetrius Harper, Cam Rathje. Plenty of others.
They remember the names, too, and they're determined not to let their absences affect their 2013 football season.
"I know we lost a few people on defense, lost a few receivers and things on offense," said Cedar Rapids Prairie's Tristan Beyer. "Guys like Jarred, Cam and Jace. Those are pretty significant losses looking from the outside in. But from the inside looking out, from our hearts, we know that we have people we can replace them with."
How special 2012 was for the Prairie Hawks. They won eight games and stunned Iowa City West in the Class 4A playoffs before finally succumbing to Cedar Rapids Xavier in the quarterfinals.
They had a Mississippi Valley Conference divisional player of the year in quarterback Hanna, who threw 28 touchdown passes. They had speed galore on the outside in receivers Harper and Edmonds, the former now playing at JUCO powerhouse Iowa Western, the latter at Northern Iowa.
"We have to find guys to pick up that slack from last year," said Coach Mike Morrissey. "We have to find guys to replace them."
The quarterback battle is between junior Trey Beckman and senior Dylan Kuchemann, both of whom threw passes last season when Hanna was out with an ankle injury. Senior Mitch Christensen returns as a power running back in Morrissey's spread offense after leading Prairie in rushing last season.
Mitch Dellamuth, Kentrel Smith and Jesse Vizzini have experience catching the football.
"It's more about right now with us," Dellamuth said. "Last season is done with. We have to look forward, continue to get better, try to improve upon last year. Go farther than we did."
Dellamuth had six interceptions last season to lead what should be a really good defensive secondary. He, Smith and Vizzini combined for 12 picks, running five of them back for touchdowns.
Beyer is the leading returning tackler at linebacker. If you're looking for size up front, there is 6-foot-7, 285-pound junior Bryce Meeker, who has Division I college offers from Northern Iowa and Illinois State.
"I think we've had a lot of seniors stepping up, juniors stepping up to try and fill those shoes. Those are big shoes to fill," Beyer said. "But we're working to fill in those gaps, working hard to try and make each other better."
Yep, this team definitely thinks it's being under-looked by a lot of people. They kind of like it.
"We had a very successful season last season, obviously," Beyer said. "I feel like some people think since we lost (so much) that we're kind of down. But we're trying to build each other up ... Hey, we're still who we were last season. We're still going to go out and surprise people since they don't think we're going to do so well."