Today Central Nebraska’s Sports Source continues its fall sports previews with a look at the Twin Loup Wolves football team.
Mike Kozeal enters his 23rd year as a head coach and took time to visit with KCNI/KBBN radio about the upcoming season. The NSAA announced earlier this year that there will be a different playoff format for 8-man football in the state of Nebraska. In the past, 32 teams have been split into two 16 team brackets (east and west) with the winners of each bracket advancing out to play one another for the state championship. This year the 32 team field will be split for the opening round but then reseeded for the round of 16 based on the NSAA point standings and regardless of geography. Coach Kozeal said he doesn’t mind the reseeding but is disappointed in the way they changed the playoff schedule which will now have 8-man classes competing on the same night as some of the larger classes.
The Wolves finished 4-4 in the regular season last year and made a nice run through the playoffs advancing to the Class D2 state quarterfinals. Twin Loup will look to fill the void of key contributors from last year’s team who have now graduated. Coach Kozeal said one of the keys this year will be bringing the younger players along and getting them ready to play at the high school level.
The Wolves will lean on three seniors who have starting experience to help lead their young squad this year. Quade Young is a three year starter and brings a lot of playmaking ability to the field. Young was selected as a Class D2 1st team all state performer on defense by the Omaha World Herald last season. Weston Reineke returns to help anchor the offensive line and Shawn Quandt returns after coming back from injury during the first part of last season to finish with a strong second half.
Twin Loup opens the season on August 28th when they host North Central. The Wolves will compete in the D2-9 district with Ansley/Litchfield, Pleasanton, Sandhills Valley, Sandhills/Thedford, and South Loup.
Twin Loup games on KBBN 95.3 FM and kbbn.com
9/4 vs Mullen
9/18 vs Sandhills/Thedford
9/25 at Ansley/Litchfield
Full interview with coach Mike Kozeal