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SSI Football: A Week #1 Primer Look Ahead To Get The Football Juices Flowing!

SSI's Mitch McCumber zeroes in on (4) Week #1 contests that have plenty of intrigue as the curtain opens August 25th across Siouxland with the season openers under the Friday night lights.


Week #1 Football Games to Watch

As we near a month until kickoff, Siouxland Sports Insider would like to focus on four marquee week one games. LeMars Vs. Sergeant Bluff-Luton, Harlan Vs. Lewis Central, Woodbury Central Vs. Lawton Bronson, and Vermillion Vs. Dakota Valley. First impressions are key during a rather short eight game regular season and none of these teams want to start behind the eight ball given their tough conferences.

(August 25) LeMars @ Sergeant Bluff Luton

Coming off a disappointing three win season the Warriors and Head Coach Justin Smith look to rebound in 2023. Losing their signal caller will be a big mountain to overcome but having a workhorse tailback in Zayvion Ellington should lighten the workload for SB-L. For the Bulldogs and Head Coach Ken Vigdal, they want to keep the momentum from their first six win season since (2016-17). Quarterback Tegan Kessel had (1,527) total yards and (13) total touchdowns last year but was limited in the opener vs. the Warriors. Expect another defensive battle as both teams try to figure one another out making for a nail biting fourth quarter in the Bluff.

(August 25) Harlan @ Lewis Central

Another banner will be hung at Merrill Field but not until the biggest test for the Cyclones has come and gone. Last year's 30-27 instant classic left the only blemish on Harlan's record as they went on to win the 3A State Championship. Lewis Central finished the season with their only loss in the championship game at the UNI Dome vs. Xavier 45-38. Both teams will have a new gunslinger under center as Teagon Kasperbauer and Braylon Kammrad graduated. The wideout matchup will be worth focusing on this year as Cade Sears of Harlan had (973) yards and (15) Td’s while Curtis Witte of Lewis Central had (998) yards and (13) Td’s. Both are a corner's nightmare and will be must see tv in a pivotal matchup of top dogs in western Iowa.

(August 25) Woodbury Central @ Lawton Bronson

Making lightwork of the regular season schedule the Wildcats earned the right to be one of the last four teams standing in Class A football. Opening the season with the Battle of Hwy 20 the seniors of Woodbury Central want to finish a clean 4-0 against the Eagles. Senior QB Drew Kluender’s (3,419) yards & (37) touchdowns both good for first overall in Class A return, along with his favorite target senior Eric McGill who tallied (1,062) yards & (16) touchdowns, also good for tops in Class A. Offense will not be a problem in this showdown as Lawton Bronson might have the most explosive one two punch at WR in all of Class 1A with senior Caleb Garnand and junior Louden Grimsley. Senior quarterback Braden Heiss looks to shatter his (2,223) yards from last year with the mismatches the WR duo can present. The construction on Hwy 20 may be the only thing slowing the two teams down this year. A shootout may be in the cards for this year's clash.

(August 25) Vermillion @ Dakota Valley

New Coach but the same mindset. Head Coach Kenny Wilhite a former Cornhusker brings 25 years of college coaching experience to the Panthers who went 6-4 last season. A 15-3 final in week one of last year's contest gave Dakota Valley the season edge against Vermillion. Tanagers Head Coach Tom O’Boyle will lean on sophomore Quarterback Hayden Christopherson and Senior WR Zoan Robinson to move the ball and extend possessions in order to reverse last year's stagnant offensive performance. One guy Hayden will need to know where he is at all time is Trae Piel. Piel is a versatile linebacker with great instincts and ball skills that will cause headaches for opposing Offensive Coordinators all year. DV may not be in Nebraska but look for the Black Shirt mentality to carry over to the Panthers in 2023.

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