Hail, Hail, the gang’s all here — football is back. The schedule is a very convoluted one with three Fridays, a Thursday, a Wednesday and a Saturday with the regular season ending November 11. The opener for our Northfield Raiders is 7 p.m. this Friday at Faribault.

Coach Bubba Sullivan and his staff have overseen four weeks of practice and are cautiously optimistic about this year’s team. Due to extensive injuries last season, many, many underclassmen gained valuable playing time.

CAPTAINS: Seniors Nick Lopez, Blake Mellgren and Cole Stanchina.

MOST IMPROVED: Junior linemen Tate Sand, Kyle schulz and Tyler Shimota.

WELCOME BACK: After taking a season or so off, Isak Johnson, Kip Schetnan and Justin Malecha, all seniors, will contribute greatly to this year’s team.

JOHNSON & JOHNSON: With three Johnsons to keep track of, the coaches need to be specific. Isak Johnson and Josh Johnson are seniors and Ryne Johnson is a junior lineman.

SUPER SOPHS: Charlie Monaghan, Gabe Sawyer and Dom DiMaggio will all be contributors this season.

COLLEGE BOUND: Six seniors from last year’s team will be going on to play college football. Luke Stanga and Simon Dickerson will play for St. Olaf, Daniel Monaghan will play at MIT, Gavin Rataj at Bethel, Kevin Grundhoffer at Augsburg and Carter Schmidt at Concordia-Moorhead.

SEC: The preseason favorites for the conference title are Owatonna, Mankato West and Rochester Century. Our Raiders are dark horses to make a splash.

STARTERS: The Raider starters coming into the season are: Ethan Lanthier, Kip Schetnan and Karsten Clay at wide receiver; Nick Lopez, Nolan Stepka, Kyle Schulz, Mason Pagel and Ryne Johnson on the offensive line; Ian Stanton or Zack Edwards at tight end; Cole Stanchina and Spencer Klotz at quarterback; and Josh Johnson, Charley Monaghan and Blake Mellgren at running back. Schetnan, Lopez, Pagel, Stanchina, Mellgren and Lanthier will also start on defense, along with Porter Adams, Nick Mikula, Tate Sand, Gabe Sawyer and Adam Viskocil, with Stanton and Dylan Dietz expected to also see action.

FARIBAULT: Faribault is led by seniors Isaac Mata, Alex Gardner and Nick Ehlers.

7 p.m. at Faribault on Friday night, Go Raiders.

Sports Editor for the Northfield News. Also a California native looking for tips on surviving the winter and an Indiana University grad on the quest for a good breaded pork tenderloin.

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