The Twin Cedars football team will begin their 2012 season six days earlier than they had planned. The Sabers got word on the first day of practice that Harmony was dropping their varsity football program for the next two seasons. T-C athletic director Justin Nolte scrambled to find a ninth opponent. He was able to schedule a game at Essex this Saturday, August 18 at 5 p.m.
The youthful Sabers probably could have used the extra week of practice, but coach Aaron Allspach was glad that his team will still play nine games. “We could have stayed with eight games or added the early game against Essex,” commented Allspach. “The boys want to play as many games as they can. They are eager to play this weekend.”
Twin Cedars will be a youthful team. They lost several key players off of last year’s team. Gone to graduation are running back Jared Stephens, wide receiver Colton Bonnett, and linemen Deryk Bingham, Mark Rowley, and Nick Greene. There are other key players from last season that are still in school, but will not play because of various circumstances.
The Sabers will miss all of the players who graduated, but the toughest one to replace will be Stephens. He rushed for 1,737 yards and scored 30 touchdowns last season. Stephens was the sixth leading rusher in eight man football. He also led the team in tackles with 105. Bonnett was the second leading tackler, with 88.
Twin Cedars returns four starters from last year’s team that went 4-5 and qualified for the playoffs. T-C defeated Meskwaki in week nine to earn the playoff berth. The Sabers lost in the first round of the playoffs to eventual runner-up Murray.
Returning starters include seniors Dylan Roberts (WR-DB) and Josh Davis (C-DT) and juniors Brent Parker (QB-DB) and Hunter Embray (TE-LB). Other returning letter winners include juniors Drew Carlson (FB-LB) and Dalton Garcia (OT-DT).
Parker threw for 861 yards and nine touchdowns. Embray had 13 catches for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Roberts hauled in 19 passes for 215 yards and three scores.
Others that coach Allspach will count on when the season opens this Saturday will be seniors Logan Chambers (OT-DT) and Levi Jones (WR-DB), juniors Corey Harrell (OT-DT), Chris Selix (TB-LB), and Tim Loeffler (TB-DB), and sophomore Otis Roby (WR-DB).
Harrell played only junior varsity games last season because of open enrollment rules. Chambers has recovered from a broken leg a couple of years ago and is ready to make the most of his senior year. Loeffler played as a freshman, but wasn’t on the team last year. Selix is new to the district. Roby and Jones are first time varsity players.
Allspach has seven players on his team that were on the Saber baseball team that lost in a substate game to eventual state champion Martensdale-St. Mary’s. “Some of these guys haven’t got a lot of experience playing football, but they know how to compete,” stated coach Allspach.
The Sabers will need to pull together as a team quickly because they host second ranked Melcher-Dallas on Friday, August 24.