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Waubun Bombers have unfinished business

Having fun at practice. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)2 / 3
Waubun players go through a tackling session during a preseason practice. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)3 / 3

The Waubun Bombers ended the 2008 season with some unfinished business and they feel -- despite what it looks like on paper -- they have the bullets to reload and complete what they set out to do last year.

The Bombers' path to a potential second-straight Nine-Man state playoff berth abruptly ended in the Section 8 championship game with a surprising defeat to Ada-Borup.

Many of the big guns from that undefeated regular season team are gone, but Waubun head coach Jason McCloskey is confident in their replacements.

"I've been coaching these same guys now for the last four years," McCloskey said. "We felt we didn't leave everything out on the field for that section championship game. These guys want to continue that winning tradition which has been built here over the course of the last several years.

"I credit (former) head coach John Clark and the seniors the last few years for building that tradition. We are expecting to win games now that football is back in the minds of the community."

There is a good host of returners, which is coming back at the offensive and defensive line positions.

Senior right guard Matt Haverkamp and junior right tackle John Brower will be stalwarts on each line.

"Brower will be a force to be reckoned with at 6-3, 270-pounds," McCloskey added.

The backfield took the biggest hits from last year's graduation class. Gone are 1,000-yard rushers Floyd DeGroat and Tyler Voss, along with bulldozing fullback Izaac Bray and the savvy quarterback Dustin Spaeth -- who had a 13-to-2 touchdown to interception ratio last season.

"The backfield is our biggest question mark entering the season," McCloskey said.

With Spaeth being a three-year starter, not many other younger QB's saw much seasoning.

Three entered the preseason with a shot at becoming the regular signal-caller, which includes senior James Ritterman, junior Josh Syverson and sophomore Sam Lerud.

"Ritterman was our starter at QB for the junior varsity team and he is a 6-1 quarterback with a good arm," the Waubun coach said. "He knows our offense and has shown his leadership skills."

Three will look to fill the void left by DeGroat and Voss.

Seniors Adam LaDue and Kellen McArthur, along with junior speedster Tanner Voss have the tools to work with to keep the Bombers on par with last year's amazing rushing performances.

"We may surprise some people with our rushing game this year," McCloskey said. "Voss is very fast and Ladue is like a Floyd DeGroat and McArthur can run well.

"I have no concern about their experience. People may not know their names, but they are good players."

Senior John DeGroat and sophomore Luke Morgan will help stretch the field at wide receiver and are reliable targets for whoever is tossing the ball.

The defense has a good mix of experience returning, including LaDue and Voss at linebackers and Brower at defensive tackle.

Syverson returns as a hard hitter in the middle at linebacker.

Although the names maybe different, making other teams overlook them throughout the season, don't expect the Bombers to buy into it.

The motivation to not just rebound from last year's section title defeat, it is also there to continue a newly-formed winning tradition at Waubun.