The Howard Tigers lost just one time on the gridiron last season; however, they lost 11 seniors due to graduation from that team which went 9-1.
“We have a lot of starters to replace on both sides of the ball,” said Howard coach Pat Ruml. “We have to replace most of our offensive line and defensive backs.”
Ruml will be counting on key returnees Jace Sifore, senior offensive/defensive lineman; Ty Beyer, senior running back/linebacker; John Callies, senior running back/linebacker; Griffin Clubb, junior tight end/linebacker; Atticus Darnell, junior tight end/defensive end; Jack Neises, junior offensive lineman/linebacker; Ryder Erickson, junior offensive lineman/defensive lineman and Taiden Hoyer, sophomore quarterback/defensive back.
“This group played in a lot of games last year in the second half, so they have some good game experience,” Ruml said. “We do have some good skilled players returning.”
Ruml believes that a very good offseason workout program will help the Tigers to be in great condition as the season gets under way.
“We won’t have the depth we have had the last few years,” Ruml said.
He is also worried about mistakes. “Early-season miscues could be a problem with such a young team.”
Teams to beat in the Cornbelt Conference this season are Canistota-Freeman, Hanson, Viborg-Hurley and Chester, according to Ruml.
He thinks the teams to beat in Class 9A are Wolsey-Wessington, DeSmet and Wall.
Three of the 11 seniors who graduated were All-State performers: Jaxon Kampshoff, Riley Genzlinger and Samuel Callies.
Assisting Ruml this season are Troy Loudenburg, Chad Podhradsky, Pat Pardy, Francis Ruml, Adam North and Justin Palmquist.
Ruml went over the 100-win plateau last season and starts the 2021 season with a 106-77 overall record. He begins his 14th season as the Tigers’ coach and has a 97-38 record while at the helm in Howard.
Howard will host the Oldham-Ramona-Rutland Raiders on Aug. 20 at 7 p.m.
Aug. 20: Oldham-Ramona-Rutland, 7 p.m.; Aug. 27: at Colman-Egan, 7 p.m.
Sept. 3: Canistota-Freeman, 7 p.m.; Sept. 10: Chester, 7 p.m.; Sept. 17: at Irene-Wakonda, 7 p.m.; Sept. 24: Viborg-Hurley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8: at Garretson, 7 p.m.; Oct.15: at Alexandria, vs. Hanson, 7 p.m.