Rushford-Peterson football season ends in Section playoffs

The Rushford-Peterson football team saw its season come to an end, dropping a home-field loss to Blooming Prairie on Saturday, Oct. 28, 21-20. The Trojans end the season with an 8-2 record, while Blooming Prairie advances to the Section 1A title game with an 8-2 record.

Rushford-Peterson

The Rushford-Peterson Trojans lost a tough one on their home field to Blooming Prairie on Saturday night, Oct. 28, by a 21-20 score, in the second round of the MSHSL football playoffs. The Trojans ended the season at 8-2.

The line between winning and losing can be a small one, as demonstrated by the game on Saturday. One missed extra-point kick that went just wide was the difference in a very physical football game.

The Trojans went 3-and-out on their first possession. Blooming Prairie drove the ball deep into Trojan territory, turning the ball over on downs at the Rushford-Peterson 10-yard line after a dropped pass in the end zone.

A good punt return combined with a facemask penalty on the Trojans gave the Blossoms possession at the R-P 43. BP quarterback Seth Peterson scored the first points of the game on a 6-yard TD run, with the Blossoms taking an early 7-0 lead with 1:41 left in the first quarter.

Peterson threw an interception on the fourth Blossom possession, with the errant pass picked off by Jake Paulson. Rushford-Peterson took advantage, putting together a 75-yard scoring drive. Ethan Sense covered the last 20 yards to score the first Trojan points. The extra-point kick was no good, so BP still had the lead at 7-6 with 8:58 left in the second quarter.

Ethan Hermanson would pick off another Seth Peterson pass late in the first half and the Trojans would drive the ball deep into BP territory. After an incomplete pass in the end zone, R-P quarterback Landon Skalet was intercepted, with the defender falling out of bounds at the one-yard line.

After a risky pass from their own end zone, it looked like Blooming Prairie was trying to run the clock out in order to take a one-point lead at halftime. However, running back Max Romeo was hit by a Trojan defender almost as soon as he took the handoff from Peterson, jarring the ball loose. The ball bounced around in the end zone, where Peyton Morrison recovered the ball for a quick six points for Rushford-Peterson. Skalet was tackled while attempting the 2-point conversion, but the Trojans led 12-7 going into halftime with some momentum.

The Blossoms fumbled the ball on their first possession of the second half but the Trojans weren’t able to convert it into points. The second BP possession went much better for the Blossoms. Peterson finished off a 78-yard drive with a 10-yard scoring pass to Matthew Pryor. The XP kick made it a 14-12 Blooming Prairie lead with 4:29 to go in the third quarter.

The biggest break of the game swung to Blooming Prairie in the third quarter. The Trojans were running the Wildcat formation with Jake Paulson taking snaps instead of Skalet. Paulson had the option to throw or pass out of the formation. Paulson’s pass in front of the Blooming Prairie sideline was intercepted and the Blossoms would take advantage.

Blooming Prairie capitalized on a 30-yard scoring drive as Peterson hit Colin Lerum on a 16-yard TD pass with 1:03 left in the third quarter. The extra-point kick made it 21-12 in favor of Blooming Prairie.

Undaunted, the Trojans came right back on their next possession, answering the score with one of their own. R-P drove the ball 80 yards, with the big play a Skalet-to-Paulson 33-yard bomb. Those two would connect again on a 25-yard TD pass. Sense carried the ball into the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt and the Trojans had knocked the BP lead to a single point, 21-20, with 11:13 left in the game.

The Blossoms got a 48-yard return on the ensuing kickoff, taking possession at the R-P 38. The Trojan defense would rise to the challenge, forcing the Blossoms to turn the ball over on downs at the Rushford-Peterson 24. The Trojans had time to work with on the clock and a chance to drive for the winning points.

R-P drove the ball deep into Blooming Prairie territory, helped out by a questionable pass-interference call on the Blossoms, which kept the drive alive. The last gasp came on a Skalet pass into the end zone that was intercepted, giving Blooming Prairie a chance to run out the clock in the fourth quarter, winning the game 21-20.

I caught up with R-P head coach Davin Thompson after the game. Obviously, he was pretty dejected but was very proud of his team:

 

Spring Grove Lions fall sports teams ready

Boy, it’s hard to believe that fall sports are right around the corner. What happened to summer? The first official day of fall practice for high school sports is August 14. I’m already talking to southeast Minnesota coaches about doing previews of their teams for our newspapers and online at bluffcountrynews.com. My first stop this fall is a visit with the Spring Grove Lions’ coaching staff.

For those who don’t follow southeast Minnesota sports on a regular basis, the Spring Grove high school sports teams are generally very good year after year. The football and volleyball teams recently returned from their last summer camps of the year. I talked with volleyball coach Kelsey Morken and football coach Zach Hauser.

Spring Grove Lions

The Spring Grove Lions, shown here in action from last season, are readying for fall practice, which officially starts on August 14.

The volleyball team had a very good season last year, going 17-12 overall and 10-4 in the Southeast Conference, finishing at second in the East Division. The Lion girls bring back a lot of experience from last year’s squad. The Spring Grove football team went 9-2 last year, 7-1 in the 9 Man, District 1, East Sub-District football standings.

The football team went to its summer camp without its number one quarterback, Alex Folz, who was out with a biceps injury. But, don’t worry Lions fans. He’ll be okay come fall practice. Here’s the conversations with both coaches on the chadsmithmedia.com podcast.

Vikings GM looks to future at NFL Combine

The annual meat market that is the NFL combine is underway in Indianapolis. The next generation of NFL stars will be poked, prodded, tested, and questioned as teams try to figure out who is draft worthy and who isn’t. Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman held a press conference on Wednesday in Indy and covered a wide range of topics. As you may imagine, Adrian Peterson was a hot topic, but Spielman also covered Sam Bradford, the recovering Teddy Bridgewater, and the NFL Draft.

You have to admire Spielman being forthright and dealing with the team’s free-fall from a 5-0 “we’re Super Bowl contenders” start to an 8-8 finish. Spielman and the rest of the Vikings brain trust got to work when the offseason began looking at where the Purple will go from here.

“I and especially Coach (Mike) Zimmer are never going to look for excuses on what happened,” Spielman said in opening remarks to the media. We ended up 8-8 and, from our standards, that’s not good enough for our organization.”

NFL Combine Vikings

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman spoke to reporters at the NFL Combine this week in Indianapolis, covering a wide range of topics as he looked to next season and the future of the Vikings. (photo from Pioneer Press YouTube page)

They’ve spent the past three to four weeks meeting with scouts and coaches analyzing everything they do. They’ve gotten together as a group regarding their team, potential free agents, and on the draft.

“We have a pretty good sense of what we need to do to try to improve our ball club from where we were last year,” Spielman said, “and we’re looking forward to getting started.”

At that point, he opened it up to questions from the media in attendance. The first question was on Sam Bradford’s performance in his first year as Vikings quarterback. Spielman admitted at that point he lost a $1 bet that the first question would involve the team’s decision to decline the $18 million option on running back Adrian Peterson.

Here are some of the highlights from the presser this week in Indy.

Chad Greenway talks Vikings football

Chad Greenway talks Vikings football

US Bank Stadium is the site for a Thursday night game between the Minnesota Vikings and visiting Dallas Cowboys. The Vikings are in need of a big win as the game kicks off around 7:30 central time. (photo from ESPN.com)

The Vikings host the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night in a prime time NFL game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. There’s no question the purple are in need of a quality win over a good team to get their mojo back from earlier in the season. Remember when the team was 5-0 and a “Super Bowl contender?” Sigh.

Chad Greenway took some time this week to speak with reporters about the upcoming game. My first encounter with Greenway took place a long time ago at the Dakota Dome in Vermillion, South Dakota. He was the quarterback/middle linebacker for Stickney-Mount Vernon as they took on my hometown Castlewood Warriors for the 9AA state championship. Most football teams talk about setting the tone early in the game, correct? Sticky-Mount Vernon set it during pregame warmups.

I was a young broadcaster doing sideline reporting and watched as the black-clad team took the field. I thought a college team got their schedules mixed up and were ready to take on the University of South Dakota Coyotes. Sticky-MV was a big squad. Castlewood relied on speed so they were looking at an uphill climb before the opening kickoff.

You can just tell about some players. Chad Greenway was a man among boys that afternoon on the astroturf. His talent level was so far above anyone else’s on the field, either his teammates or the opposition, that you just knew he was going places. He certainly did.

After a stellar career at Iowa as a Hawkeye, he’s been a Viking stalwart for a long time. The thing I like most about the guy, who just happens to be a fellow native South Dakotan is he doesn’t seem to have forgotten where he comes from. That’s a rare thing in today’s professional sports. Here’s some thoughts from Chad (Greenway, not Smith) on Dallas.

Spring Grove football season comes to an end

Spring Grove football

The Spring Grove Lions football team lost to Grand Meadow 47-21 in the State 9-man, Section 1 title game at the RCTC football stadium in Rochester. (photo by Chad Smith)

The Spring Grove Lions came to play in the 9-Man, Section 1 football championship game on Friday night, November 4th, against Grand Meadow, but it took the offense too long to get going. The Superlarks led 20-0 in the first quarter before the teams began trading touchdowns for the rest of the game, which Grand Meadow won 47-21.

Grand Meadow was the number one ranked team in the Minnesota State 9-man poll at the end of the regular season, as well as the number one seed in the section tournament. They hit the ground running (literally) with Christopher Brain racing untouched 65 yards on the first play of the game. While the Superlarks were scoring on the first three drives of the game, number two section seed and number five state-ranked Spring Grove was only managing only a first down on each of its first three possessions.

Offense was hard to come by for the Lions. They did manage 312 yards of total offense against the Superlarks, but Grand Meadow gained 445 yards. Alex Folz had 100 yards rushing (102 yards, one TD) and passing (153 yards, two TDs). Christopher Bain and Zach Myhre were a solid one-two punch out of the GM backfield. Bain ran for 197 yards (20 carries) and Myhre ran for 126 (14 carries).

Spring Grove standout wide receiver Chase Grinde faced double teams from Grand Meadow defenders all night long. The cornerback would be within five yards of the line of scrimmage and a deep safety would be ten yards directly behind him. Despite the constant double teams, Grinde still caught six passes for 86 yards.

Grinde was also very busy defensively. He led the Lions with a career-high 24 tackles. The problem is, when your deep safety is making all the tackles, the offense is doing a very good job of moving the ball. Grinde had the Lions’ only tackle-for-loss.

Spring Grove was shorthanded in the backfield even before the opening kickoff. The Lions’ leading rusher Cullen Patterson (911 yards) was out with an injury. Brock Schuttemeier moved from his tight end spot to running back and found some tough sledding (13 carries, 43 yards).

Despite falling behind early, the Lions never stopped playing hard. The momentum of the game appeared to turn once and for all in Grand Meadow’s favor when the Lions were driving and turned the ball over on downs at the Superlark 11-yard line.

Here are a few highlights from the ballgame:

The Superlarks upped their winning streak to 47 straight games, and the three-time defending state champs will face Edgerton/Ellsworth in the state quarterfinals on Friday, November 11. Kickoff will be at 7:00 at the RCTC campus in Rochester.

Med City Freeze prepare for season two

“Season two (for the Med City Freeze) is going to be a lot of fun.”

Those are the first words Tim Nela chose to say as he thought about the two rounds of tryouts the Med City Freeze held in recent months.  The Freeze held the tryouts to fill out their 2017 roster for the Southern Plains Football League season next year. That’s not the only reason they’re holding tryouts. They also need to put their team together to take part in the 2016 Winter Pigskin Classic coming up on December 17th at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

“We definitely established a coaching staff,” said Nela, one of the four founders of the Freeze, “that was the main focus the first year (in 2016). Now we have players coming over from other teams that are coming over and we’ve got people who’ve played at all different levels of football.”

Med City Freeze football

The Med City Freeze football team hosted tryouts for the 2017 roster at the Rochester Community and Technical College campus in Rochester, Minnesota, on Friday, October 21. The Freeze will play in the Winter Pigskin Classic on December 17 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (Photo by Chad Smith)

Storm Soto is another one of the team founders, and he said the difference between year one and year two is incredible. The number of people trying out for the team last year was considerably lower than the number that turned out at the recent tryouts.

“Now that year one is done and everyone saw the success,” Soto said, “and year two is booming. It’s one of those unfortunate things that some really talented players won’t make the Freeze roster this year because of so much talent to choose from.”

He said people might be more attracted to the team because the Freeze were 7-1 in their inaugural season. Soto said players were able to see the kind of quality organization they put together and the good competition they play on a weekly basis during the season.

This year was a clean slate as far as filling the roster. Everyone that was on the roster last year was required to try out again, even Soto, Nela, and Jeff Sipple, the third team founder (Joseph Hockert is the fourth). Soto said some of the guys who made the team last year likely won’t make the roster this season.

“We aren’t just looking for the best athletes,” Soto said, “we’re looking for the best people too. The Freeze want people who are going to fit in with what we do. We want tenacious attitudes on the field but we don’t want attitude off the field.”

Nela described the drills at both tryout sessions as “pro style.” They didn’t necessarily do a bench press and run a 40-yard dash like players do at the NFL combine, but they did do a lot of conditioning drills.

“Jeff (Sipple) had the best times for all the agility drills,” Nela said, “but he worked harder than anybody in the offseason. Being the quarterback and one of the (team) founders, he understands that if you want to be on the field, you have to be willing to work for it.”

Soto said most of the players showed up in good condition. He called a couple of the players they’re adding to the roster next year, “studs.” Nela liked what he saw from the prospective Freeze players.

“They were guys out there that brought a different type of energy that we didn’t have in season one,” Nela said. “Some of these guys are going to make plays on the field, but off the field with the things we do outside of football, even on things like bus rides, they’ll be very good for the team.”

Soto said the Freeze have a big chunk of the roster already filled out and they hope to have everything done and players called in the next several days. There’s even more urgency than normal because the Freeze will be taking part in the Winter Pigskin Classic on December 17 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

“The (SPFL) league has put this on in the past at the Metrodome,” Soto said. “I think it shows a lot about the credibility of the SPFL to do something like this. I give a lot to league commissioner Jay Doyscher, who has busted his tail to legitimize this league, and I commend him for making this a possibility for amateur football players.”

The league will have games running all day at U.S. Bank Stadium, and Nela said it’s a great opportunity to see the stadium for those folks who haven’t been able to make it to a Vikings game.

“It’s $15, you could spend all day out there and watch some good football,” Nela said. “We’re playing the Buffalo Ridge Wildcats, an undefeated team last year that featured the best offense in the league.”

The team will have half a dozen practices to install the offense and defense, getting everyone in their right positions. The Freeze game kicks off at 6p.m., but the gates open for the all-day event at 9 that morning.

The Freeze will be hosting a couple of fans buses for those who don’t want to drive to the Cities and pay for parking. Pre-sale tickets are $15 dollars, with the door price at $20. For more information, check out the Med City Freeze Facebook page or email medcityfreeze@gmail.com.

Building a football team on October 21st at the RCTC campus.

Vikings Injuries: Fusco practicing, Diggs out

Vikings guard Brandon Fusco returned to practice Monday, his first since suffering a concussion Oct. 9 against Houston. Fusco was lost for the game on the first series against the Texans. Minnesota was back at practice on Monday following a bye week.

Vikings

Vikings center Joe Berger, left, and guard Brandon Fusco defending their quarterback, in the fourth quarter, as the Minnesota Vikings beat the Chicago Bears 23-20 at Soldier Field in Chicago on November 1, 2015. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

Sitting out Monday were wide receivers Stefon Diggs (hamstring) and Jarius Wright (undisclosed), and tight end MyCole Pruitt, who suffered a knee injury against the Texans. Diggs sat out against Houston and hasn’t practiced since playing in an Oct. 3 game against the New York Giants.

The Vikings’ most recent practice was Tuesday. Also returning after missing that workout:  linebacker Anthony Barr (undisclosed) and tight end Rhett Ellison, who missed the game against Houston with a knee injury.

Practice squad guard Isame Faciane did not practice. He was arrested last Wednesday in St. Louis Park on suspicion of drunken driving.

Quarterback Taylor Heinicke was eligible to practice Monday after being placed on the reserve non-football injury list Sept. 3. Heinicke did not participate, but a source said Heinicke is “100 percent” and expected to practice on Wednesday.

Heinicke suffered a torn tendon in his left foot in July, the result, he said, of his foot going through a window when he was locked out of his home in Atlanta. When Heinicke returns, the Vikings will have 21 days to decide whether to place him on the 53-man roster or leave him on the non-football injury list.

Wednesday will be a heavier practice day, and if Heinicke goes then, it would give the Vikings perhaps a heavier additional day of practice at the end to make a decision. The source expects Minnesota, which has quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Shaun Hill on the active roster, and Joel Stave on the practice squad, to take the full 21 days to make a decision unless there is an injury.

Story found in the St. Paul Pioneer Press

RCTC football becomes impromptu family reunion

As long as there’ve been athletic competitions like football, fathers have been taking their sons to games to enjoy a little bonding time.  Most sports fans I know have at least one favorite story of going to games with their dad and hanging out.  Good times with their dads will often lead kids to continue the tradition when they become parents themselves.

RCTC football equals a family reunion

The Rochester Community and Technical College football team beat Minnesota West in its home opener on Saturday, September 3, by a 26-8 score to even the overall season record at 1-1. (photo by Chad Smith

I got to take my two oldest boys with me to the Rochester Community and Technical College football game today.  If you know anything about what my family went through over the last four years, you’d know what a monumental thing that is.  It seems like such a small thing to go to a football game, doesn’t it?   When you haven’t been able to do that thing for a long time due to circumstances beyond your control, that little thing becomes big.

The day was a knockout for a college football game with temps in the 70’s.  There was just enough cloud cover to keep the heat from becoming oppressive, as it’s been known to do in late August/early September.  But no, this was a perfect day to watch football.

I’ll admit, it wasn’t the prettiest game I’ve seen in some time.  There weren’t a lot of big plays for either offense but the Yellowjackets came away with a 26-8 win to even their record at 2-0.  I didn’t recognize a lot of their players from last year’s squad. That team finished runner-up in the national championship game last year.  Last year’s coaching staff is gone too, so it’s going to be a rebuilding year for the Jackets.

I’d love to see those college athletic teams get more support from the Rochester community.  Those kids play hard and the cost to see them play is actually pretty affordable.  The facilities are some of the nicest I’ve seen in all my years of covering sports, so it’s worth the time and a little investment to take in the college atmosphere.

I’ve got a son and wife who are students out to RCTC, so I’m looking forward to getting to know the place a lot better in the months ahead.  Sure, it would be nice to see more Rochester folks out there.  If you’re a sports fan, you’re definitely missing out on some fun.

The offensive struggles made highlights a little harder to come by, but the Yellowjackets offense did find some rhythm in the second half.

Med City Freeze football begins April 30

Freeze football opens in April

The Med City Freeze open Southern Plains Football League play on Saturday, April 30, at the RCTC Regional Stadium in Rochester, Kickoff is at 7. (photo from hometeamsonline.com)

The Southern Plains Football League officially has a new member from Rochester. Say hello to the Med City Freeze football, a new amateur team featuring players from around southern Minnesota, Iowa, and as far away as Chicago, Illinois and Atlanta, Georgia.

Three men from Rochester are the leaders in getting amateur football back in the area. Rochester John Marshall graduates Storm Soto, Tim Nela, and Jeff Sipple all love football, and simply wanted to bring amateur competition back home to Rochester.

“Jeff and I played for another team in the league, the South Central Hawgs (in Truman, MN),” said Soto, “and we had been commuting back and forth for three years. After the most recent season, we sat down and built a plan to do this in Rochester. We asked Tim to join us and founded the Med City Freeze.”

Tim Nela is a Rochester native and listed as a running back on the current Freeze roster. They’re excited to bring a brand new team into an already established league.Haw

“It is 9-man, amateur tackle football,” Nela said, “and it’s an adult league, so players are 18-plus. We’ve brought a team to a league that’s already established in its twentieth year. It’s not a situation where we created a team and then created a league.”

Rochester Freeze football founders

Three Rochester John Marshall graduates spearheaded the effort to bring amateur football back to Rochester. From left: Jeff Sipple, Tim Nela, and Storm Soto. (photo by Chad Smith)

That doesn’t necessarily mean the new roster has no experience in Southern Plains league play.

“Storm is going into his fifth season,” Nela said, “and Jeff is going into his fourth. This will be my first season in the league.”

Other veterans on the roster include Nathan Polansky, a running back from Rochester in his third season, as well as Duane Quam, a fullback/linebacker from Byron, who is going into his third season.

How does a brand new team go about finding players to fill out the roster? In a word: tryouts.

“We had a series of two open tryouts,” said Soto. “We evaluated players based on skill level and picked the strongest 40. We can have a roster of up to 50, but only 40 can dress, so we stuck with that number.”

Soto added, “We all have a lot of confidence in the roster we’ve assembled.”

The roster includes a lot of recognizable players from Rochester and some familiar names from around southern Minnesota as well.

“They’re kind of from all over,” said Soto. “Rochester, primarily, but we have people from Jackson, Minnesota who are traveling down I-90 to play, as well as players from Plainview, Pine Island, and Stewartville.”

It’s already time to start practicing for the April 30th opener against the North Iowa Bucks at the Rochester Community and Technical College Regional Stadium. The first practice is actually this Sunday, February 21.

“A lot of guys have been training on their own,” Nela said. “It’s crazy. For example, we were already up at working out at 5:00 this morning. We believe so much in what we’ve assembled that when the first game hits, we’re ready to put on a show.”

Between now and the first game, the biggest challenge will be to get a roster of players who’ve never been on the field together to gel into a unit.

“It’s going to be a big challenge,” said Soto. “There’s a lot of new personalities that we’re taking on, but the key will be to have everyone buy into what we’re doing. If they do that, I’m confident we can go all the way to an SPFL championship.”

The team locations range from eastern South Dakota, through Minnesota, and all the way into Iowa. The Freeze will be members of the Eastern Division, so they won’t have to travel quite that far.

It is amateur level competition, but the three-team founders said don’t let that fool you. You may be surprised at how skilled some of the players are.

The skill-set has a good range,” Soto said. “In this league, you have high school players all the way up to former NCAA Division One players. Last year we played against four or five guys that were Division One, including players from the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Minnesota.”

He added, “It’s a very physical and demanding league.”

The Freeze has coaches ready to start practice on Sunday.

 

 

There are costs associated with getting a brand new team off the ground. The Freeze began a Kickstarter campaign to help offset some of those costs, and they’d appreciate any help the public can give:

 

 

The Freeze kick off the season on Saturday, April 30, at the RCTC regional stadium with a 7:00 kickoff against the North Iowa Bucks.

 

 

29 new RCTC Yellowjackets join the football team

National letter of intent signing day has come and gone for the Rochester Community and Technical College Yellowjackets football team, and it was a busy and productive day.

As busy as national signing day can be, it doesn’t necessarily mean the Yellowjackets, runners up in the national playoffs from last year, are done with this year’s recruiting efforts.

Yellowjackets football

RCTC Yellowjackets football coach Bill Quistorff. (Photo from kaaltv.com)

“We worked really hard to get everyone locked in for signing day,” said RCTC head coach Bill Quistorff. “We’ve got about 15 letters of intent that haven’t been signed yet, including some kids on the local level still weighing their options, so it’s a waiting game. All in all, it was a good day.”

The interesting thing about national signing day is it’s really the start of the Yellowjackets target recruiting time.

“Guys are starting to realize they didn’t get recruited by who they wanted to,” said Quistorff, “or maybe their grades didn’t work out. I think we’re sitting pretty good, and the best is yet to come.”

Recruiting future football players at a two-year community college is a different animal than at a four-year university, especially when it comes to the demographic of the players they target.

“Typically, at a community college, the targets are kids who are struggling in the classroom,” said Coach Q, “and can’t take advantage of any four year opportunities in front of them. We also take a look at kids who may have fallen through the cracks, and didn’t get the exposure they thought they should have.”

Four-year programs are typically looking for kids who are program guys. Quistorff said they’re typically guys who are locked into the classroom and they know what it takes to be successful. They also tend to be some of the best athletes out there, so coaches consider them the total package.

“That means we’re looking for a little bit less developed total package,” said Quistorff, himself a former Yellowjackets player. “But we also go after the total package, including some kids who may have opportunities at a four-year school as a preferred walk-on. We come in and ask if they’d like to turn that into a full scholarship opportunity instead.”

He adds, “It’s a great opportunity for those kids if they play a year of junior college football. That’s how we’ve gotten a lot of good players over the years.”

Quistorff said it’s been proven to be a successful route to a scholarship over the years. Several now former Yellowjackets have either signed scholarship offers or are currently looking at different options.

 

The Yellowjackets recruit players from all over the nation, but they always keep an eye on southeast Minnesota talent. This year was no exception as several local kids signed with the Jackets.

 

The Yellowjackets try to keep recruiting as local as possible, but they do go far and wide around the country to fill their roster from season to season. They build the foundation of the program from local talent as well as regional talent from the states surrounding Minnesota.

“After that, we go around the country and pick and pull from other connections we have around the country,” said Coach Q. “We bring in good people who are also good athletes, and that’s what the main focus of our recruiting at RCTC is.”

Recruiting in college football has developed into a year-round process. Coach Q said it’s no different at RCTC. After home games, coaches can often be seen shaking hands with high school football players that may make good Yellowjackets. As a result, recruiting never really stops.

“Most coaches will tell you it’s (recruiting) a sick addiction,” said Quistorff, “and there’s no rehab for it. We’re basically recruiting year around, and it’s an enjoyable process.”

Here’s the full conversation with Coach Q:

 

Here is the complete list of new Yellowjackets:

Devaughn Brown – 6’4 235lb Tight End from Thibodaux, LA

Daytona Chandler – 6’5 200lb Quarterback from Rockton, IL

Andre Chisley – 6’2 230lb Linebacker from Hopkins, MN

Dominique Copeland – 6’1 180lb Linebacker from LaGrange, GA

Jalen Davis – 5’10 190lb Running Back from Statesboro, GA

Elray Duncan – 6’2 175lb Wide Receiver from Thibodaux, LA

Timothy Echoles – 5’9 175lb Wide Receiver from Park Forest, IL

Emmanuel Ehrich – 6’1 215lb Linebacker from Maple Grove, MN

Bryan Goehring-Reinhart – 6’0 215lb Fullback/Tight End from St. Michael, MN

Deandre Hodroff – 6’0 235lb Linebacker from Minneapolis, MN

Deidrick Jones – 5’11 160lb Defensive Back from Brenham, TX

Matthew Kallis – 5’9 196lb Linebacker from Rochester, MN

Daniel Kohler – 5’10 220lb Fullback from Redwood Valley, MN

Luis Maldonado – 6’0 270lb Offensive Lineman from Buena, NJ

Avery McMullin – 6’2 195lb Quarterback from Smyrna, DE

Otumos Payemanu – 5’9 17l0lb WR/ATH from Cottage Grove, MN

Brandon Perce – 5’11 230lb Linebacker from Milwaukee, WI

Delfontay Powell – 5’11 170lb WR/DB from New Roads, LA

Rae’Quan Powell – 5’10 170lb Wide Receiver from New Roads, LA

Treevon Prater – 6’2 185lb Defensive Back from East St. Louis, IL

Gavin Pruett – 6’0 185lb Quarterback from Capistrano Valley, CA

William Rains – 5’11 220lb Running Back from Eden Prairie, MN

Tyler Rempel – 6’4 185lb Wide Receiver from Watertown, MN

Antonio Rodriguez – 6’1 275lb Offensive Lineman from Buena, NJ

Chase Salerno – 6’1 170lb Punter From Chatfield, MN

Patrick Sparkman – 6’4 275lb Offensive Lineman from St. Charles, MO

Delshon Spratt – 6’1 195lb Defensive Back from Lee Summit, MO

Connor Stenberg – 6’0 173lb Kicker from Stewartville, MN

Jamal Stovall – 6’0 185lb Defensive Back from Champaign, IL

Derric Tiller – 6’4 215lb Wide Receiver from Rapid City, SD

Bobby Joe Willoughby – 5’11 188lb Linebacker from LaGrange, GA

Ronald Wilson – 6’1 230 Defensive Linemen/Linebacker from Lee County, GA

NOTES:

Rains was a starter on Eden Prairie’s 2014 MN Class 6A state championship team, rushing for 230 yards and 2 TDs in the state championship game vs. Totino Grace. Finished his senior year with 1,604 yards and 37 total touchdowns. 1st Team All-State, 2-time Star Tribune All-Metro Team, and a finalist for 2014 Minnesota Mr. Football. Finished his career with over 5500 yards and 72 total touchdowns…..Pruett was a 1st team All-League QB in California. Set school records for yards passing, TDs, and completion percentage…… Payemanu was a do everything athlete for East Ridge H.S. Played Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver, and Defensive Back and helped lead his team to the MN Class 6A State Championship game. Turned down preferred walk offers from South Dakota State and the University Minnesota….Maldonado was a two-time All-Conference OL in New Jersey…..Kohler was a 4 year starter for Redwood Valley H.S…..Chandler was a 4-year letterwinner and was recruited by NDSU, Western Illinois, and Ball State before suffering a collarbone injury his senior year….Stenberg set the school record at Stewartville for PAT made in a year (48) and career (67)…..McMullin is a transfer from Football Championship Subdivision school Delaware State…… Duncan was a 1st team All-District and Honorable Mention All-State in Louisana his senior year in 2014…..Prater signed with Syracuse and had offers from 9 other Division 1 schools out of high school. 1st team All-Conference, had over 20 career interceptions in high school……Chisley was a 2-time All-Conference player, Team Defensive MVP, and had over 300 career tackles while at Hopkins High School……Ehrich is a bounceback from South Dakota State University. Was a two-time All-Conference and a member of the 2013 All-State Team for Minnesota…..Tiller was a 1st team All-Conference and led the state of South Dakota in catches, yards per catch, and was 2nd in touchdowns…..Brown was a 1st Team All-Regional and 1st Team All-District in Louisiana….Collier had 1800 all-purpose yards his senior year, and was named 1st Team All-State in Illinois….Goehring-Reinhart was a starting fullback for MN Class 5A state champion St. Michael-Albertville….

Here’s some highlights I put together from a big game with Central Lakes College last season: