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'Beeters primed and ready to go for season opener with Park High


August 28, 2019

2019 Chinook Sugarbeeter Football Team

The Chinook Sugarbeeter football team had a very productive summer. The team attended the Montana Tech Eight-Man Football Camp in June and the got together with the Belt Huskies and Great Falls Central Mustangs for another team camp.

In addition the team was committed as whole to a summer weight lifting program and starts fall camp with a roster ready to hit the ground running.

The 'Beeters are led by second year Head Coach Mike Jones. With a full year under his belt with this team and a productive off-season, Jones is excited about the 2019 campaign.

22 kids are out for football this fall. The team includes four seniors Kurtis Hamilton (G/TE/LB), JT Hauer (RB/LB), Sam Dumas (RB/LB/S), and Josh Gillett (OL/DL). Five juniors are on the roster, Benton Elliot (QB/S), Damon Hannum (WR/DB), Erik Pula (OL/DL), Reese Elliot (WR/DE), Ethan MacLeod (OL/DL), Izayah Abayomi (MGR). Four Sophomores, Drake Berreth (WR/DB), Ethan Liddle (RB/LB), Wyatt Dunbar (OL/DL), and Toby Niederegger (WR/LB).

Nine Freshman will add some needed to depth to the roster and they are: Lane Hassler (WR/DB), Levi Jensen (QB/S), Lane Snider (WR/DB), Brendan Fetter (WR/LB), Tyler Schoen (RB/TE), Braxton Inman (OL/DL), Daniel MacLeod (OL/DL), Ryan Meneely (WR/S), Flint Annis (OL/DL/LB).

The summer was huge for this years team and the impact of the camps has already been felt, "It brought us closer together. We were able to do two camps this year, the Montana Tech camp, like normal, and then we did a little camp with Belt and Central. That second Camp was great. We got to camp out, and to meet a team from the North and a team from the East. It brought us really close together. The boys thought we were a close team after that. It was even stated in the locker room afterword," stated Jones.

The coaching staff and players have developed a connection with each other that obviously wasn't there when Jones first took over the program, "The big thing is just being able to edit our practice plans. Practice plans from last year are completely different. A lot less install, and a lot more advanced stuff right off the bat. That way we can get ahead of the curb and we are a little more advanced for the first game coming in." Jones went on to say, "Practice three this year was amazing, best practice we've had. The kids are bought in. They are super excited and they are ready to go."

Coach Jones is looking for a couple of his seniors to take on bigger roles, "JT Hauer, and Sam Dumas are seniors. They played a big role last year. They are going to have to step up this year. Kurtis Hamilton, another senior who is going to have to step up and play. He's going to play a big role on offense and defense. And, you know, a lot of our juniors have to step up. Benton Elliott, playing QB; Reese Elliott, playing tight end and a bunch of other guys we could talk about. Toby Niederegger. We have athletes, we just need to be able to work together and play within our bounds."

Every team makes adjustments year to year, especially in high school with such drastic roster changes but making adjustments with this team has been smooth, "The nice thing is, defensively, we are tweaking some things but it's all within what we've done, so the changes are easy because all these kids have been around for a year and have some experience. So, it makes that transition to our defensive stuff that much easier."

The 'Beeters will be looking to get the ball to their athletes outside and utilize their individual skill sets while defensively looking to fill in some gaps from a season ago, "We are going to get open guys the ball outside. You know, we got a pretty dynamic runner in Sam Dumas we can come back underneath with. Benton is going to throw the ball well, he'll put it in the windows for us. Defensively, last year we struggled with coverages, coaches and players spent a lot of time working on that in the offseason, that might actually be a strength as well as our linebackers keeping it back inside," said Jones.

As far as personnel changes the 'Beeters have had to adjust, just like everyone else, "We did lose a lot from the offensive and defensive line. The only returning starter is Ethan MacLeod, and that may be a position shift for him, from Center to Guard, but we are working on that. Ethan's going to be a junior, that played a whole year last year, that's going to have to command both sides of the line for us. And, I think he's up for the challenge. We are young there, but I don't think we are missing anything.

The 'Beeters are getting an interesting opponent week one, "Yeah, we are playing Park City. Talked about that with our athletic director and principal and saw if we could get a team from the south, rather than two non-conference. Just to see somebody different. Park Cities going to be all right, they were young last year, and they got a good group of athletes returning. So it will be a good test for us early out of that South," Jones commented.

As far as the season outlook Jones knows anything can happen, "The North itself is always difficult. You know, you still have some pretty good teams in Shelby, Central graduated a lot, but they have 10/11 seniors coming back. And, Choteau is still going to be good. Fort Benton has athletes; the north is still pretty tough," concluded Jones.

Some minor changes in the Northern C Football Division include Box Elder moving back to Six-man football and Hays/Lodge Pole taking their place in the B Sub-Division to even each subdivision out with six teams apiece.


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