A Peek at District 6 for 8-Man Football: W-MU the Early Favorite

High School Football- The football season is almost upon us, and everyone has the same goal of traveling to Cedar Falls and playing in the UNI-Dome; so, let’s look at some of our local teams and some of the players to look out for.

In District 6 of 8-man football, WACO is coming off a season where they finished as the state runner-up with a 13-1 record, the most amount wins in a single season in their program’s history. However, that team graduated 14 seniors including their starting quarterback, Isaac Oswald, starting wide receiver, Mason Miller, starting running back, kicker, and linebacker, Simeon Reichenbach, and starting offensive lineman and linebacker, Drew Diers.

Now, the Warriors return their top edge rusher and First Team All-State senior Colton Leichty, who finished last season with 17 sacks, and proved to be a reliable target in the passing game. Head Coach Chad Edeker will be leaning on Reece Oswald to lead the offense after finishing as an honorable mention for All-District. Louden Huisenga will look to anchor the defense after finishing as 1st team All-District. WACO will look to run the ball and drain clock with long drives.

New London finished last season with a 6-4 record last season, which ended in the first round of the playoffs against Gladbrook-Reinbeck. The Tigers graduated their top passer, Dom Lopez, top rusher and tackler, Boden Pickle, top receiver, Blaise Porter, and their best lineman, Trent Wilkerson. Additionally, Mark McSorely opted to step down as the Head Coach for New London.

The Tigers will now be led by Darin Loyd as they attempt to continue their playoff streak. Offensively, Gavin Menke-Bailey should expect to see an expanded role as he tossed a touchdown pass in three attempts and rushed for 22 yards and another touchdown. Michael Raines tallied 35 tackles including five for a loss for the Tigers defensively. This team will look to be scrappy to have their success.

Winfield-Mt. Union is the team to watch out for in this district. The Wolves started last season ranked in the top 10 for 8-man football, but bumps in the road, which included tough defensive outings, resulted in a 6-4 record and a first-round playoff exit at the hands of Don Bosco. The scariest part about this team is they graduated one senior with decent contributions, Caleb Giese (three total touchdowns and 19 total tackles).

The Wolves will be counting on their University of Iowa commit Cam Buffington along with Army University commit Abram Edwards. The two standouts combined for 2,479 yards and 44 touchdowns on the ground and through the air. The Wolves also brought back their starting quarterback from last year Cole Milks, who finished with 18 total touchdowns. This is a team that averaged nearly 50 points per game; nevertheless, the defense also surrendered 32.9 points per game and that number increased in losses to over 52 points per game. Buffington will have to lead the charge on defense to limit opponents scoring.

Other teams in the district include: HLV/Tri-County, Iowa Valley, and English Valleys. HLV/Tri-County decided to co-op over the summer and they’ll be following the Warrior’s scheduled. Last year, both teams struggled, as they both finished 1-7. Tri-County hadn’t had a winning record since the 2011-12 season and HLV last made the playoffs in 2020-21. The Trojans do bring some talented receivers in Levi Molyneux and Drew Fisher, who combined for 556 yards and six touchdowns. While the Warriors have Brody Sternhagen, their leading rusher from last season, and Boston York, their leading tackler from last season, bringing a strong physical element to the team.

Iowa Valley is in a tough spot this season. The Tigers had their best season since 2018-19 that culminated into a 6-4 record and a two-point loss in the first round of the playoffs to Montezuma. However, the Tigers graduated District 6’s Offensive MVP from last year Evan Kearney, as he tore up the field last season eclipsing 3,000 total yards and scoring 53 touchdowns. Additionally, they lost their Head Coach John Bowlin as he took his talents to Mt. Pleasant. With a senior-heavy team last season, most likely the Tigers will be relying on juniors and underclassmen this season under the tutelage of new Head Coach Casey Krull.

Lastly, after back-to-back 7-2 seasons for English Valleys, the Bears flipped their record and finished 2-7. It was a two-man show for Mike Gerard’s squad last season on offense with Josh Osborn under center and Treyton Shaw rushing for 1,375 yards and 14 touchdowns. Shaw also led the team with 51.5 total tackles and 6.5 sacks. They have both graduated, so the Bears will be looking toward Myles Grove for senior leadership as Grove finished second on the team in tackles and tallied 282 yards and three touchdowns on the receiving end of passes last season.