Manchester Football Season Preview (with photos) 

From the players

Senior captain WR and LB Luther Westcott on offseason transition (Wes Gall retired after 29 years as head coach):  “(We’re) adjusting to the change. Different offense coordinator, defensive coordinator, it’s still the same direction were heading in. We want to get to playoffs and be successful but adjusting to those changes in our offense and defense schemes and dealing with losing our seniors. Been a big change for us.

 Westcott on focus for players this offseason: “Making sure everyone has the right attitude and direction. Last year not everybody was on the right page in what they wanted to accomplish. We want to get everyone together as a team and as a family. I think we did a good job with that this summer and brought the guys together.”

Senior captain  WR and CB Tommy Tremblay on what he worked on this offseason: “Really wanted to work on my footwork in the backfield, and also wanted to work on getting in better shape and stronger to start the season.”

Tremblay on new role in defense, will play more CB: “Now, corners play more tight coverage, makes it more aggressive for run and pass game (defense). Makes us stay on our guy, means we have to have better footwork. I like the new scheme, I like being attack attack, being aggressive and hitting. It’s exciting and it’ll be good this year.”

Senior captain OL and DL Nikolai Rovenko on his leadership role after being elected as captain at the end of last season: “Just trying to get them (younger guys) motivated. In the weight room before the season. Last season was a wakeup call when we didn’t make the playoffs. There’s a sense of urgency now because nobody liked how last season ended.”

Junior QB and CB Ty Horky on what he’s been working on in the offseason:“I tried to gain weight, get stronger in weight room and throw as much as we could out here until field got torn up. Get some chemistry with the wide receivers for 7 on 7s. Biggest thing was getting chemistry with them, getting the drop backs right. Strength was also a big thing, with my arm break freshman year, definitely back to 100 percent now though.” 

Horky on coaching transition: “It’s been different, a good different. You have to change it up every now and then. I think Coach Blu picked up where Coach Gall left off. I had a great relationship with Coach Gall, but Coach Blu is the second coming. He knows his stuff.


Key Losses

John Zigila (QB/DB)

Paul Derheim (RB/DB)

Jesse Tedder (OL/DL)

Kurtis Blumenauer (OL/LB)

Key Returning Players

Ty Horky (QB/DB)

Tommy Tremblay (WR/DB)

Braeden Caszatt (TE)

Collin McCaffrey (RB/DB)

Nick Phillips (LB)

 Luther Westcott (LB/TE)

Nikolai Rovenko (OL/DL)

Last Season: 4-5 (3-4)

By: Seth Kinker, 

Last season was only the second losing season of Wes Gall’s 29-year tenure as head coach. Gall retired after 29 years as head coach at the end of last season. Mike Blumenauer who played under Gall and coached with Gall succeeded Gall. He accepted the head coaching position this offseason after being a defensive coordinator with Gall since 1993.

Zachary Maghes was promoted to Defensive Coordinator.

“The biggest thing I learned from coach Gall was loyalty,” said Blumenauer. “He was loyal to me and very loyal over the years to the players coming up. That’s the biggest reason I think we’ve been successful. I plan on continuing that, being loyal to my other coaches and players coming up.”

With Gall knowing he would retire soon, he spent the last few years preparing Blumenauer. In addition to working as his defense coordinator since ’93, Blumenauer worked with almost every position group and is comfortable with all of them.

Strength was a focus for the team in the offseason, as they look to get back on top of the Cascades Conference. Maghes put workouts together for players who wanted to come out weekly to a popular spot near Klager Elementary, dubbing themselves the “Klager Hill Gang”

Blumenauer will look to run the ball more than they have in the past, he likes the mobility of his offensive line and ability of his backs to run and catch out of the backfield as well. Graduated linemen Jesse Tedder and Kurtis Blumenauer will be missed, but Nikolai Rovenko and Alec Farmer are two returning starters that give the Dutchmen experience in the trenches.

The Dutchmen lost Paul Derheim and Charlie Depp in the backfield, but return Colin McCaffrey, a junior who contributed heavily as a sophomore, and have plans to move all-conference linebacker Nick Phillips to the offensive side as well, working him at full back.

Defensively, like Gall did with him, Blumenauer said he plans to hand the keys over to Maghes, an assistant who has been with the program for 15 years.

“He’s changing that some and I’m going to let him do that,” said Blumenauer. “Wes did that with me, he never harnessed me. He’s going to be a little more attacking style, things will change as far as run fits go and stuff like that. I’m exciting to see how it works out.”

The secondary will look to play more aggressive at the line, with returnees in senior Tommy Tremblay, transitioning to working at cornerback in addition to safety, and quarterback Ty Horky, who played cornerback last year too.

At the linebacker spot, Luther Westcott has been adjusting to the position, learning coverage schemes after playing defensive end last year, and Phillips, a standout last year at outside linebacker, will slide inside this upcoming season.

The Flying Dutchmen have key positions to figure out, but a good number of players with returning Varsity experience to find the right fit.

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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