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Chris Murphy, Published August 27 2013

Moorhead football preview

Moorhead’s 2012 season began with Bemidji and ended with Bemidji. The Spuds, armed with 31 seniors, went 10-1 on the season with their only blemish being a 35-14 loss to Bemidji in the Class 4A state quarterfinals.

A 35-21 win over Sartell-St. Stephen gave Moorhead back-to-back section championships. A lot of those wins came on the back of running back and linebacker Chase Morlock. Morlock rushed for 1,820 yards – averaging 11.8 yards per carry – and scored 30 touchdowns in his senior season. He was second team all-state at running back and a top 10 finisher for Minnesota’s Mr. Football award.

The Morlock-led Spuds were hoping to end a

25-year state championship drought, but it was not to be.

Moorhead also joined a conference in November. The Spuds will play in the North Division of the newly split Central Lakes Conference in 2013. With trips to Buffalo and Duluth East off the schedule, the Spuds will travel nearly 300 less miles in the 2013 season than they did in 2012, but that isn’t the only aspect coach Kevin Feeney is excited for.

“From a travel standpoint, it’s way better for us,” Feeney said. “I think it’s big for the kids because it gives them the opportunity to earn some postseason awards, but certainly section championships, and section playoffs is the No. 1 goal of this football team.”

Outlook

With 31 seniors gone, a third straight section championship will not be easy to come by. There may be some experimenting for the Spuds in the first couple of weeks. Unfortunately for them, the first two weeks are against teams that will be huge factors in where they are seeded for the playoffs.

“If you lose a senior class of 31 like we did, it comes with going through that process of putting yourself in a position to make a run late,” Feeney said.

“Patience is going to be a key, but at the same token, we really need to play good football out of the gate because Alexandria and (St. Cloud Apollo) are going to be a huge factor for us. We need to put ourselves in a position to be in that upper half of the section seedings come playoff time. We also have to play a few extra bodies in Week 1 and Week 2 to see who can handle Friday nights and develop experience and depth.”

Senior Tyler Eidsness and sophomore Matt Bye will compete to replace the opening left at quarterback from Aaron Lien graduating, and junior Jade Lawrence will have big cleats to fill at running back.

“Jade Lawrence is going to have to take on a lot of the responsibilities that Chase had,” Feeney said. “At the same token, we can’t ask him to do everything that Chase did as a senior. We have to look at what Chase did as a junior because that’s the process at that position.”

Feeney is looking for big things from 6-foot-5 wide receiver Brett Lawrence, Jade’s older brother. He’s hoping the senior will help cancel out the inexperience at quarterback.

“Brett needs to be a big-time player for us,” Feeney said. “He certainly has all the tools to be a very, very high-end high school football player. Every year his ceiling has gotten higher and higher. He needs to help out our inexperienced quarterback situation. He needs to be aggressive and attack the football.”

Players to watch

Brett Lawrence, Sr., WR

Ryan Schock, Sr., OLB

Jade Lawrence, Jr., RB/SS

Tyler Eidsness, Sr., QB/FS

Joey Eggert, Sr., LB