Falls City made its third straight semifinal appearance in Mark Kirchhoff’s first year back as head coach since 2011.
The Beavers won the District 16-2A, Division II championship and finished the season at 11-3 in what essentially was a year of learning the flexbone offense.
“We’re leaps and bounds ahead as far as install and implementation and familiarity with terminology,” Kirchhoff said. “We have quite a few back and that always makes it easier. We’re way ahead on both sides of the ball from where we were starting out last year.”
Falls City returns eight starters on offense and eight on defense from a team that’s closest margin of victory in district play was 29 points.
“A lot of it is getting them in the right spot after we know them after an offseason,” Kirchhoff said. “We’re trying to put them in the right spot in a scheme to fit what they do well.”
Yorktown swept through district after losing to Falls City, and with eight starters returning on offense and defense hopes to challenge the Beavers.
“Falls City has got a great program going,” said Yorktown coach John David Caffey. “We got to see them for the first time in a number of years and our guys hopefully understand the level at which they’re playing at and that’s where we want to be. We have a bunch of kids who have a lot of experience and have worked really hard and who are ready to take that next step.”
Louise started practice a week late because of COVID-19. The Hornets lost some talented skill players from last season’s playoff team, but have experience on the offensive and defensive lines.
“They look pretty good,” said Louise coach Joe Bill. “They pick stuff up pretty quickly. They haven’t missed a beat. I think we can be in the mix. I like our chances and like the district we’re in.”
Runge finished third last season and went through two coaching changes.
Woodsboro struggled in coach Johny Lesak’s first season. The Eagles return a majority of starters and hope to make a push for a playoff spot.
“Things we were able to do in the first week of practice, there were times I can’t remember how long it took to get to it last year,” Lesak said. “We feel like we’re going to be a lot better. Everything so far has been a lot better. We don’t have huge numbers, but we have good numbers now.”