After eight years away, Mark Kirchhoff is back at the helm at Falls City.
The Beavers went 13-2 and 5-0 in district last season on their way to the Class 2A, Division II state semifinal appearance, and for Kirchhoff the expectations remain the same in District 16-2A, Division II.
“Falls City is a great place and the kids have been well coached,” Kirchhoff said. “There’s a high expectation level and we are going to go out and compete like we do every year.”
Falls City has six seniors returning and Kirchhoff is hoping they will be able to experience a full senior season.
“Our biggest goal is to have our seniors out there and have a chance to give them a great final year of high school football and it sucks that we might not be able to control that,” he said. “After that, we’re taking it week by week and want to improve when we get to district, make playoffs and try to find our way through Region IV.
Joining Falls City in District 16-2A, Division II are Yorktown, Woodsboro, Runge, Louise, Agua Dulce and Pettis.
Yorktown started the season strong but faltered down the stretch, going 3-7 and 0-4 in district play.
The Wildcats dropped to Division II after spending last season in Class 2A, Division I.
“It’s exciting to see some new teams,” said Yorktown head coach John-David Caffey. “It’s different now with us being one of the larger schools in the district now instead of the smallest. We know week in and week out there’s some old rivalries here and when you have to play teams like Falls City and Agua Dulce, it’s going to be a tough district every week.”
Yorktown missed the playoffs last season but the goal for Caffey is to get back this year. The Wildcats return players at key positions, including at quarterback.
Louise is rebuilding and comes off a 1-10 season in which it went 1-3 in district.
For head coach Joe Bill, it’s important to improve in the win column.
“When you only win one game it’s always dissapointing,” Bill said. “We want to increase our winning percentage and have a chance at the playoffs. We get to play against teams that are our size and our caliber and I’m excited to see what our kids can do.”
Key returners for the Hornets include Daylon Machieck at quarterback, D.D. Gaona at offensive guard and defensive end, Chris Vasquez at offensive guard and nose tackle and Rogeric Schooler at running back.
Runge and Woodsboro, like Falls City, enter the season with new coaches.
Stephen Davis is the head coach at Runge, and is hoping to improve on a 2-9 season, in which the Yellowjackets went 2-3 in district .
“Even though we made the playoffs the last two years, they haven’t had a winning record,” Davis said. “So our first goal is to get to .500 or better and the next goal is to get past bi-district which is where our season has ended the last two years.”
The Yellowjackets return 10 starters from last year’s team.
Woodsboro failed to win a game last season, going 0-10 and 0-5 in district, but new head coach Johnny Lesak plans to turn things around.
“I want us to go out and be the most competitive we’ve ever been,” Lesak said. “It might not show in wins and losses but I want them to play absolutely as hard as they can every time the ball is snapped. If we do that, it will be a successful year.”
The Eagles have 13 returning starters, but with a new offense being installed Lesak knows it will take time for the team to gel.
“I like the effort that we’ve shown,” Lesak said. “The system is still new to them and we’re still trying to figure things out but I’ve seen some good things we can build on. There’s also things that we aren’t good at that we have to work on.”