Beacons begin new era of high school football

The Concordia Academy football team embarks on a new era this week when it opens the 2015 season. The Beacons have a new head coach to go along with the new method of scheduling that the Minnesota State High School League introduced this year.

District scheduling is the new format and in many cases has taken teams away from their normal set of a conference games. Concordia Academy plays only two Tri-Metro Conference teams this fall.

New head coach Bob Wolf likes the schedule that his team has this season.

"It's good for us to start off with Spectrum as our opening game because they're another AA school," said Wolf. "I believe we're pretty close in terms of talent and numbers."

Spectrum, a public charter school founded in 2006 in Elk River, is in its fourth year of football. Last year, the Sting went 1-8 with its lone victory coming against St. Paul Academy/Mounds Park Academy.

Concordia Academy also beat SPA/MPA in 2014 along with St. Paul Humboldt and Brooklyn Center.

In addition to Spectrum, St. Agnes is the only other Class AA team on Concordia's schedule. The Beacons play three AAA teams and three AAAA teams.

"I think they're capable of a winning season," Wolf said. Concordia went 3-6 in 2014.

The Beacons will have to rely on its juniors and sophomores to fill most of the spots on the field. There are only two seniors on the roster this fall.

Those seniors are Zach Morse and Soren Mundfrom. Morse is an offensive lineman and Mundfrom is in his first varsity season with Concordia after transferring from Andover last fall.

Among the juniors who Wolf says have stepped up as leaders are quarterback Adam Maser, running back Cooper Wood and wide receiver Alex Moldenhauer.

Concordia returns about 30 players from last year's team and has reached the mid-40s in terms of total numbers.

Wolf said he doesn't plan on many big changes to the systems that the Beacons are used to running. He said what Concordia has done in the past is very similar to what he had employed in Arizona.

"I'm a Michigan guy and I learned a lot from Rich Rodriguez," Wolf said. "Don’t go in and overhaul the whole ship and put in a system you may not have the personnel for."

Rodriguez did just that when he became the head coach at the University of Michigan in 2008. He went 3-9 in his first year and lasted just three seasons with the Wolverines.

Of the eight teams on Concordia Academy's schedule this fall, only two were on the Beacons' schedule last year. Concordia closed out the regular season in 2014 with back-to-back losses to Columbia Heights and St. Agnes and both of those teams visit the Beacons again this season.

Following the Spectrum game, Concordia Academy plays three straight home games, starting with a week-two (Aug. 28) visit from Breck. Minneapolis Henry comes calling in week three (Sept. 4) and the homestand wraps up with St. Agnes coming to town in week four (Sept. 11).

Wolf said the Breck game could be a good barometer of where the Beacons are at this season. Breck is a bigger program that has had some decent seasons in recent years.

"If we get off to a good 2-0 start, who knows what could happen?" said Wolf.

The new coach

Wolf comes to Concordia Academy from Arizona, where he coached high school football in the Phoenix area for 10 years. Prior to that he coached in Saginaw, Michigan, and was a head coach there for six years.

Wolf grew up in Detroit, played high school football there and played college football at Concordia University in Nebraska. He left Concordia without graduating and instead went to work and started a family. His wife is from Minnesota and he ended up going to Concordia University in St. Paul to get a teaching degree.

He did some student teaching at Concordia Academy and also helped out with the track and field teams. Back in April, Wolf got a call from Concordia Academy principal Tim Berner, who was looking for a football coach. Wolf and his wife decided now was as good a time as any to return to Minnesota.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

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