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Nuggets more of a well-rounded team

Row 1: Nate Nelson, Isaac Kelly, Alex Schwendeman, Tabor Formo, Pat Arens, Keifer Hinrichs, Riley Burns, Cassidy Ulolat, Tanner Haugtredt, Jayson Lee, Damian Dankert, Michael Breiter. Row 2: Nick Bjorndahl, Brady Pekas, Nate Branden, Logan Stoa, Erin Westhoff, Mitchell Grove, Jeff Christianson, Hunter Lawson, Josh Johnson, Devon Pekas, James Erickson, Aaron Bergee. Row 3: Gary Althoff, Alan Tellefson, Chris Buttke, Colin Sprunk, Jeremy Schenck, Jordan Wieck, Dalton Leaf, Philip Teeples, Chris Ulschmid, ...

Although the Hawley Nuggets have lost some big producers over the course of the last few years, the 2011 season will feature a complete package and make no qualms about it, the goals are the same.

"Nothing has changed, we are still expecting to challenge for the conference and then move on and challenge for the section," said Hawley head coach Peder Naatz. "Yeah, we don't have any massive kids on the line, no crazy backs who will put up 3,000 rushing yards, but we will be a multi-faceted team."

A big change from the four straight years of making the Class 2A state semifinals, will be that games will be closer.

That's due to the fact that Hawley moved to the competitive Heart O'Lakes Conference Classic.

"It will be much more different, there might not be those games where we have to slow down after halftime because of a lop-sided score," Naatz said. "But for the coaching staff, it will be fun going against teams who are bigger and better. I also believe that will help us prepare for the playoffs better, as well."

The Nuggets will still rely on their normal tough defense, which will be led by its stringent line.

Returning on the D-line includes senior Cassidy Violet, junior Devon Pekas and senior Isaac Kelly. Naatz said there will be an open competition for the last defensive end position.

With a good defensive line in front of them, the linebacking group can roam a little more and find the holes developing for opposing running backs.

Clogging the lanes and patrolling the edges will be seniors Riley Burns and Patrick Arens , who each have solid lateral speed, with the former entering his third year as starter.

"I'm pleased with our size on defense, because our guys spent a lot of time working on that during the offseason," Naatz said.

The offensive line will once again dictate how the rushing game will go and there are some gaps to be filled yet.

Violet has the lone position nailed down, with a host of other linemen vying for playing time.

Senior Keifer Hinrichs and junior Hunter Lawson will each see time at quarterback, with several other younger arms fighting for playing time, who can all throw well and rush the ball.

There will be some new looks in the backfield, with Arens, Burns, senior Nick Bjorndahl and senior Brady Pekas all seeing time carrying the ball.

"Arens is a straight-ahead type of runner and the rest have good speed," Naatz said. "Overall, our speed is up a little and we are more athletic."

Junior Josh Johnson will be a good target from his tight end position, while Devon Pekas will see some balls come his way through the air.

"We won't have just one player to depend on, it'll be a team effort," the Hawley coach said of his offensive output. "But overall, our goals will stay the same and we'll go out and play Hawley football."

# Name Pos Grade

2 Patrick Arens RB 12

3 Tucker Sorenson WR 11

4 Hunter Lawson QB 11

6 Tanner Haugtvedt WR 12

7 Riley Burns RB 12

9 Dalton Leaf QB 10

12 Keifer Hinrichs QB 12

18 Zach Filler WR 11

20 Brady Pekas RB 12

22 Alex Ames RB 11

24 James Erickson WR 12

26 Nick Bjorndahl RB 12

27 Devon Pekas TE 11

34 Chris Buttke RB 10

37 Erin Westhoff WR 11

51 Jayson Lee OL 12

52 Jordan Wieck OL 10

53 Cody Curry OL 11

54 Chris Ulschmid OL 10

55 Cassidy Violet OL 12

57 Tabor Formo OL 12

58 Nate Branden OL 11

59 Jeff Christianson OL 11

60 Weston Giere OL 12

62 Michael Breiter OL 12

65 Aaron Bergee OL 12

71 Isaac Kelly OL 12

78 Logan Stoa OL 11

79 Lane Alm OL 11

81 Brandon Sellin TE 11

83 Damian Dankert TE 12

84 Nate Nelson TE 12

86 Jordan Guida TE 11

89 Alex Schwendeman TE 12

Hawley Schedule

9/2 7:00 PM Park Rapids Area

9/9 7:00 PM @ Staples-Motley

9/16 7:00 PM @ Pelican Rapids

9/23 7:00 PM Roseau

9/30 7:00 PM @ Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

10/7 7:00 PM Breckenridge

10/14 7:00 PM @ Pequot Lakes

10/19 7:00 PM Warroad

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.