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Football: Owls return two starters in 2017 (with video)

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Daniel Milander goes vertical for a catch during a wide receiver drill on Thursday, Aug. 17 in Hancock. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times2 / 7
Kaleb Koehl runs up the middle during a walk through Thursday, Aug. 17 in Hancock. Koehl passed for over 1,000 yards in 2016 and also ran for a team high 13 touchdowns. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times3 / 7
Noah Kannegiesser makes this catch on a fly route during wide receiver drill on Thursday, Aug. 17. In five games last season, Kannegiesser led in receiving yards with 390 on 19 catches. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times4 / 7
Tyler Timmerman takes a hand off from head coach Chad Christianson during a running back drill at practice. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times5 / 7
Hancock's Gideon Joos sprints up the field with the ball during an evening drill on Thursday, Aug. 17. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times6 / 7
Mason Schmidgall wraps up low during a tackling drill at Hancock football practice. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times7 / 7

The Hancock Owl football team lost seven out of nine starters on both sides of the ball last spring. It will be interesting to see how young guys step up, said Chad Christianson, who enters his eighth season as head coach.

The Owls return two-year starter in senior quarterback Kaleb Koehl and veteran receiver in senior Noah Kannegiesser. Montana Molden, Warren Osterman, and a few others saw playing time last season as well, Christianson said.

“We’ve had 26 guys here consistently. We’re down a little bit from where we were last year, but when you graduate 13 kids, it’s kind of expected,” Christianson said.

Summer was huge for the Owl program to give those inexperienced players a taste of what varsity football is all about.

“A lot of the guys are pretty fresh. We went to a team camp this summer, so they got a little action out there to see what varsity ball is all about,” Christianson said.

In 2016, the Owls went 5-4 overall. It was their first winning season over a decade since going 7-4 in 2005. The potential is there to keep this program moving up the ladder of success, Christianson said.

“The last three years, we’ve been improving the number of wins we’ve had. We’ve been telling these guys for the last four or five years that we [want] to keep climbing that ladder and that’s our goal this year, too,” Christianson said. “We’re not as big as we’ve been in the past. We have a lot more athletic guys. We’re hoping that if we can get the ball into the open field offensively, we can make things happen. Defensively, we have a lot of athletes that want to run around and hopefully hit somebody. We like where we’re sitting. It’s one of those things where we won’t know for sure until that first snap comes out [against another team]. I really think they’ve bought in and we’re climbing the hill and going the right way.”

The Owls open up the season with Laporte at home on Friday, Sept. 1. The Laporte Wildcats come off a 1-8 season with their lone win being a forfeit to Park Christian. The Wildcats listed 22 players on their 2016 roster.

2017 Hancock football schedule

Friday, Sept. 1 vs Laporte, 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 8 vs Rothsay, 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 15 @ Hillcrest, 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 22 @ Underwood, 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 29 vs Wheaton/H-N, 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 6 @ Verndale, 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 13 @ C-G-B, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 18 vs Brandon-E, 7 p.m.

Brooke Kern

All photo inquiries to bkern@morrissuntribune.com or photos@morrissuntribune.com.

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