By Rich Winter
It is pretty interesting when you think about the 2018 Gregory football team. The Gorillas graduated two fellas, Andy McCance and Jayd VanDerWerff who are among the greatest to ever wear a Gorilla uniform.
Two great big losses and other terrific players graduating and yet the sportswriters, the Media and all of 9AA football still has the Gorillas in the drivers seat.
Midco Sports released their poll in July:
No. 1 - Gregory
No. 2 - Miller/Highmore-Harrold
No. 3 - Wolsey-Wessington
No. 4 - Irene/Wakonda
No. 5 Webster Area
Like myself, Midco reporter, Jason Andera couldn't fathom he'd have the Gorillas ranked No. 1
"I honestly came into this research project thinking that there would be no way I'd have Gregory as my number one team in this class. They lost their best quarterback in school history as well as one of the best overall players in the state to graduation. Two Division One players moving on from a 9-man team? No way they stay at the top, right? Wrong. They got a lot of production from juniors last year who are ready to take over this fall." Jason Andera Midco Sports.
While Midco sports lists the return of some great weapons on offense, the key for me is going to be the big boys up front. I don't know who will start at QB but what I do know is there are four MASSIVE senior OL guys that will pave the way for Brian Almendinger's squad.
#56: Isaac Barreto 5-foot-8, 192 lbs.
#65: Keight Fenenga 5-foot-9 262 lbs.
#73: Quinton McMillen 6-foot, 315 lbs.
#75: Ethan Dargatz 6-foot-3, 302 lbs.
While the Gregory offense might not be as dynamic the power up front is going to be unlike anything any 9AA school can match.
IMPACT PLAYERS: Evan Juracek, Caleb Stukel, JJ Beck, Tyler Murray and some up and coming young players ready to fill the openings in the offense.
There are some studs on that impact player list and you can bet they aren't going to be the Gregory Class that didn't work hard this summer. Almendinger and his assistants Mike Murray and John King do a great job over there.
Can anyone knock the back-to-back champs off: 2018 Schedule...
Friday, Aug. 17 vs. Kimball/White Lake (Gregory)
Aug. 24 vs. Parkston (Gregory)
Aug. 31 vs. Jones County/White River (White River)
Sep. 14 vs. RC Christian (Gregory)
Sep. 21 vs. Bon Homme (Tyndall)
Sep. 28 vs. Platte-Geddes (Gregory)
Oct. 7 vs. Wolsey-Wessington (Wolsey)
Oct. 12 vs. No. 2 Miller/Highmore-Harrold (IN MILLER)
A couple of very interesting road games...At Bon Homme and at Wolsey-Wessington. Depends on how the season shakes out be we could have a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup on Oct. 12 as the Gorillas take on a Karst Hunter led MHH squad.