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Reigning champion Kindred Vikings ready to hit the football pitch for 2022 – InForum

KINDRED, ND — The last time the Kindred Vikings were on the field to wrap up the 2021 high school football season, they were crowned the 11B Division state champions for the first time in school history after beating Hillsboro-Central Valley 37-14.

Entering the 2022 season as the defending champion will be a new experience that will bring new challenges to the Kindred team, said head coach Matt Crane.

“I think it’s just exciting enough. It’s a new challenge for us,” Crane said. “We’ve never been in this position before, so we’re taking on this challenge. We know that when we line up, we’re going to get the best out of everyone. We’re going to get the teams that want to come in and knock us off the pedestal and rightly so. They will want to beat the Kindred Vikings because we had success last year.

As the Vikings head into the new season with momentum on their side, Crane added that with the new season everything is back to Square 1. With that in mind, one of Kindred’s goals is not to look beyond a match or an opponent.

Kindred assistant coach Joe Harder calls a play during morning football practice at Kindred on Thursday August 11, 2022.

David Samson/The Forum

“The reality is that everyone is 0-0 at the moment and, I know it’s cliché, but we’ll take it one game at a time like we did last year and we hope to have that level of success,” he said. “If we can do the job we did last year, we can prepare like we did last year and perform on Friday night, then we have a good chance of (repeat).”

The Vikings 2022 roster is made up of 39 players, with both experienced and new players. With practices underway, Crane feels the excitement building as the season kickoff — a Friday game against the Lisbon Broncos — draws closer.

The mix of new talent adds to that excitement, Crane said.

“That’s what’s exciting about playing football,” he said. “Every year – even when you had a really good season (the year before) – you have a new group of kids coming in, waiting in the wings and they want to play and they want to start.

“Competition creates great energy in training and there are young people fighting for positions. So we’ve had a really good camp so far and I think we’re sitting pretty well. We have things to settle like everyone else, but we are looking forward to this first game.

Returning to the grid for the Vikings this season are five of the team’s six players who made up the offensive and defensive lines last year.

Seniors Jack Packer, Blake Houska, Mason Nipstad and Max Opgrand return to the trenches alongside Riley Sunram – who as a junior already has multiple Division I offers from North Dakota State, University from North Dakota and Minnesota – for the 2022 season.

Kindred’s Riley Sunram prepares for the upcoming drill during morning football training at Kindred on Thursday August 11, 2022.

David Samson/The Forum

One of the vacancies after last season was quarterback, previously filled by All-State QB Max McQuillan who graduated last year.

This year, senior Jorgen Swenson will take over the quarterback position.

“Jorgen Swenson is probably going to take quarterback reps for us this year and that will be a role for him because Max McQuillan was an all-state quarterback last year and he was a terrific player for us,” Crane said. . “He’s got some big shoes to fill, but I think he’s getting better every day and he’s getting ready to do that and make those plays.”

This season will be Crane’s ninth as head coach of the Vikings program. Since taking over in 2014, he’s led the Vikings to the Dakota Bowl twice, with an appearance in 2016 in addition to last year’s championship game win over HCV.

But, before the Kindred boys can get back there, they first have 10 regular season games to tick off the roster.

The first game on this list is a home opener against the Lisbon Broncos at 7 p.m. Friday.

“It should be a fun game,” Crane said. “It’s a competitive team every year. They have a bunch of hard working kids and brave kids and they are still a tough football team. It’s a bit unknown as they have a new coach this year. Mark Moss replaces (ex-Lisbon coach) Joe (Gerding), and he’s a great guy and he’s going to prepare these kids. So we really don’t know what we’re going to see from them, which is an added challenge, but we’re definitely looking forward to it.

Kindred head coach Matt Crane throws passes to his receivers during drills during morning football practice at Kindred on Thursday August 11, 2022.

David Samson/The Forum

Kindred Vikings players practice on Thursday August 11, 2022.

David Samson/The Forum

Kindred’s Cameron Schwartzwalter and Masen Allmaras battle for the ball during morning football training at Kindred on Thursday August 11, 2022.

David Samson/The Forum

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