The Armstrong football team is coming off a 2016 season in which the Falcons were forced to battle through injuries. This year, while Armstrong has yet to face adversity, the Falcons will have to battle youth, as the Armstrong roster is filled with young and inexperienced players.
With just five returning starters, Armstrong is leaning on its seniors to help guide the team this season. Jesse Sherwood, Michael Wozniak, Mekhi Besseck, Weston Johnson and Troy Casperson were selected to serve as the team’s senior captains.
“It’s going to be a lot of working together as a team, having our leaders, captains, seniors be leaders for the other guys,” Casperson said. “There’s a lot of responsibility to it, you have to look out for the team, make sure they’re taking care of their bodies, taking care of their grades.”
So far, Armstrong head football coach Jack Negen is pleased with how his team has performed.
“We’ve had a good camp, but we’re young,” Negen said. “That’s just what it is, it’s not an excuse but we have to grow up fast.
“We have maybe five guys that took a varsity snap last year playing, and everyone else is new. I like our guys, I think we have some good football guys and some skill, but they will get thrown into the fire.”
While having an inexperienced team isn’t an ideal situation to start the season, Negen feels his team has suffered through much worse battles.
“Last year was tough with the injuries, but being young isn’t adversity,” Negen said. “We have great kids and they’re excited and ready to go.
“It will be a different feeling.”
Armstrong kicked off the season against Chanhassen Aug. 31. The Falcons led 10-0 after the first quarter, but the Storm battled back to seal the 29-10 victory.
Junior Cole Priem led the Falcon offense by completing nine of his 12 passes for 38 yards and one touchdown. The Falcons’ rushing attack was limited to just 17 yards on 22 carries.
Nashiem Lozier led the Falcon receivers with his four catches and 36 yards, while Andrew Stoker picked up four catches for 24 yards and one touchdown.
Wozniak led the Falcon defense with 13 total tackles and one sack, while Mekhi Besseck recorded nine tackles and one interception. Joemah Norman recorded five tackles and an interception.
Matthew Jaeger connected on a 31-yard field goal to open the scoring.
Armstrong will play next against Spring Lake Park, who dropped its season opener 35-0 to Irondale Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, at Spring Lake Park High School.
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