The Dallas Center-Grimes football team and coach Scott Heitland will get a test — or four — to start the season this fall.
The Mustangs open against A-D-M and Norwalk, playoff qualifiers from a year ago, in weeks one and two, then begin district play against last year’s runner-up, South Tama, in week three and the district champion, Grinnell, in week four.
"Our schedule is a challenging one," said Heitland, who begins his 10th year as head coach. "We have two of our first three games at home so taking care of home-field advantage will be a priority task."
The Mustangs, who were 3-6 in 2012, return nine starters from a year ago. Senior quarterback Andrew Kramer was 60-of-140 passing for 779 yards and four touchdowns, and also rushed for 385 yards and two scores.
"Andrew had a good season in 2012 and we felt that we will be able to do even more with him this season," Heitland said.
Also back are running back Chaz Chambers, who averaged 4.6 yards on 36 carries and scored two touchdowns, as well as tight end Dakota Clausen, who was third on the team with 11 receptions for 149 yards. They’ll be joined by recivers Dane Hansen, Keaton Means and Doug Heritage.
DC-G will look to juniors Hunter Sehman and Logan Peppengar to stabilize a young offensive line. Sehman started all nine games last year in that position.
"Up front we will be young on the offensive line, but feel very good about the potential that this group brings to the table," Heitland said.
Jack Kelly will be one of the leaders on the defensive side at linebacker, where he’ll be joined by Carson Namanny and Travis Grimes, as well as Logan Buck and Parker Schutt. Blake Borchers and Jack Jorgensen will patrol the defensive backfield, and Austin Grosklags will anchor the defensive line, joined by Brevin Townsell and Zach Collins.
Also back is placekicker Michael Lortz, who was 10-of-14 on extra-point attempts last season and kicked two field goals, including a 32-yarder, in five tries.
"Our staff and kids are very excited about the 2013 football season," Heitland said. "We had a great offseason and summer in preparation for the upcoming season. "Our numbers are strong and we feel like we have a number of kids who will be able to contribute to our team this fall."