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U-H will try to fill voids left by 2011 seniors

The Spartans work on agility drills during a preseason workout.1 / 6
Getting stronger will be a vital key to this year's Ulen-Hitterdal football team.2 / 6
First Row: Sam Bates, Brett Braseth, Colton Green, Michael Azzaro, Brady Sirjord, Griffin Maesse. Second Row: Nathan Desjarlais, Hunter Green, Taylor Stumbo, Mason Greer, Allan Gwin, Dylan McCollum, Sam Hilde, Andy Kolzur. Third Row: Mason Okke, Evan Bates, Matt Hamernik, Patrick Busby, Landon Schultz, Jacob Brooks, Andrew Ellefson, Brandon Eckholm.3 / 6
Assistant Coach Bob Schultz4 / 6
Assistant Coach Mark Hemberger5 / 6
Head Coach Dustin Flaten6 / 6

After graduating 11 seniors off of last year's 10-1 team, the Ulen-Hitterdal football team is undergoing a facelift.

Unfortunately, Spartan head coach Dustin Flaten doesn't have big numbers to work with, with only 19 players out.

"We have really low numbers, but these kids still have high expectations," Flaten said. "I think if we can stay healthy, they will surprise a lot of people."

The strength the Spartans possess will be returning their quarterback who led them to the section finals last year, before losing to Ada-Borup.

Senior Landon Schultz returns as a three-year starter, with more than enough experience to run the offense well.

"He has a good arm, so although we will stick to running the ball, it gives us more options," Flaten said. "But our offensive line will have to protect well."

Leading the way on each of the defensive and offensive lines will be seniors Andrew Ellefson, Cole Peterson and Tanner Hilde.

The backfield will consist of senior Jacob Brooks, who saw time at fullback last year, along with senior Taylor Stumbo and junior Allan Gwin.

"We may not have our burners, but we will be able to pick up our four yards on the ground," Flaten said.

Sophomore Patrick Busby will be one of the Spartans' quickest receivers, along with a good amount of players vying for tight end and the other split end positions.

Brooks returns after earning the Best Lineman of the Conference in 2011 after registering 11 sacks.

But Flaten may move Brooks to a linebacker position, simply to give him more space to work with and allow the seniors from the offensive line take care of the defensive trenches.

"He's more durable and he will be able to take away the threats in the middle of the field," the U-H coach added.

Joining Brooks in the linebacking corp. will be junior Matt Hamermik, who can also move to defensive end.

The secondary will consist of Schultz, Gwin and Busby.

After losing to Ada-Borup in a narrow 22-20 defeat in the section finals, that experience in the Alerus Center is still sticking with the Spartans.

"They know what it takes to get back," Flaten said.

Spartans Schedule

8/30 7:00 PM @ Stephen-Argyle (89MAN) 

9/7 7:00 PM Park Christian  (69MAN)  

9/14 7:00 PM @ Norman County East  (69MAN)  

9/21 7:00 PM Norman County West  (89MAN)  

9/28 7:00 PM @ Win-E-Mac  (89MAN)  

10/5 7:00 PM Waubun  (69MAN)  

10/12 7:00 PM @ Ada-Borup  (69MAN)  

10/17 7:00 PM Rothsay  (69MAN)

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