2022 Football: Class 2A, District 2

The 3rd district involving a KQ-area team is Class 2A, District 2. Last season, Class 2A, District 2 was among the toughest (if not the toughest) districts in all of Iowa High School Football. Clarion-Goldfield-Dows opened the season at 3-0, Pocahontas took down 1A playoff qualifier South Central Calhoun in non-district play. The playoff qualifiers included Estherville-Lincoln Central, who held a stint as the #1 team in Class 2A, a Spirit Lake team who handed Southeast Valley their lone regular-season loss, OABCIG and 2A State Champions Southeast Valley.

2022 brings more uncertainty as to who will become the major players in District 2. Southeast Valley graduates many key pieces from the state championship team last year, including quarterback Kolson Kruse and superstar lineman Aaron Graves, while Spirit Lake graduates their top passer, rusher and top two receivers from a playoff team. On the flip side, OABCIG returns many key pieces, as does Estherville-Lincoln Central and Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, while Pocahontas Area enters a bit of a rebuild.

The Favorite: OABCIG Falcons

The Falcons return many of the key pieces that led them to a runner-up finish in District 2 a season ago. Senior quarterback Beckett DeJean, younger brother of current Iowa DB Cooper DeJean, will look to build off a junior campaign that saw him throw for nearly 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, while rushing for another 400+ yards and 6 touchdowns. The ground element of the OABCIG offense could be more prevalent with the return for Griffin Diersen, who fell just short of cracking the 1,000-yard mark last season, but punched in 8 touchdowns. Josh Peters headlines a receiving room that brings back over half of the Falcons receiving production in 2021.

Defensively, the Falcons return 3 of their top 4 tacklers from last season with Diersen, Carter Hoefling and Treyten Kolar. Up front, players such as Kyle Spotts, Vince Hoefling, Levi Streed look to help wreak havoc on opposing backfields, as well as keeping DeJean and company clean up front. The 2022 version of the Falcons appear to have the horsepower and veterans needed to help OABCIG make their 3rd UNI Dome trip in 4 seasons.

The Challenger: Estherville-Lincoln Central Midgets

The Midgets saw a meteoric rise early in the 2021 season, thanks in large part to a dominating 40-7 Week 2 win over West Lyon to vault ELC to #1 in the Class 2A polls. The ranking was short-lived after their loss to Humboldt the following week, which prepared ELC for a season of ups and downs, en route to a 5-4 record and a playoff appearance. The biggest task for the Midgets will be replacing starting quarterback Ryan Schiltz, who threw for nearly 1,400 yards and 17 touchdowns, while rushing for another 700+ yards and 10 touchdowns.

One the flipside, Estherville-Lincoln Central returns running back Zavion McMurrian, a physical specimen who stands at 6’3, 215 lbs, and rushed for just over 300 yards last season. McMurrian and junior receiver Owen Larson will see an expanded work load, as Larson was the Midgets leading receiver last season by catching 38 passes for 485 yards and 8 touchdowns. Defensively, ELC will have to find new faces to step up in the front seven, as they graduate 6 of their top 7 tacklers from last year, the top returner in Zavion McMurrian with 44 tacklers, while Logan Nissen is the next highest at 30 tackles.

The Darkhorse: Southeast Valley Jaguars

It’s rare to see a team that is a reigning state champion listed as a darkhorse in their district, but with the losses the Jaguars suffered from last season, it’s going to be a season that may have more rebuilding, rather than reloading in Gowrie. However, this doesn’t keep Southeast Valley totally out of the district title conversation. Key returnees for the Jaguars include leading tackle Justin Loseke, who tallied a team-high 82.5 tackles, 8 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss, and will likely anchor a new-look offensive line. Wide receiver Eli Johnson returns as well, as he was 2nd on the team in receptions (32) and yards (735) while also scoring 10 touchdowns.

Johnson’s return will likely help give a safety valve to whoever the Jaguars new signal-caller will be, and signs aim towards Dalton Crouse or Cale Vansickle as possible replacement for Kolson Kruse, who amassed over 4,000 yards of total offense last season. Seniors Carl Berglund and Drew Correll will headline a new look backfield for the Jaguars at running back as well, while the offensive line will feature many new faces. If the Jaguars can gel quickly in the non-district slate, they will have a chance to make some noise in district play.

Projected Standings

  1. OABCIG Falcons
  2. Estherville-Lincoln Central Midgets
  3. Southeast Valley Jaguars
  4. Spirit Lake Indians
  5. Clarion-Goldfield-Dows Cowboys
  6. Pocahontas Area Indians

OABCIG might be a sneaky selection to make a run at the Class 2A Championship Game in November, as the Falcons high-flying offense possesses the pieces to make a run to that stage. Estherville-Lincoln Central has the skill position players to make some noise happen, but will need to find a suitable replacement at quarterback. Clarion-Goldfield-Dows will be an intriguing team as well in 2022, with the backfield returning and a majority of their offensive and defensive line back.

Feature Image: CGD Sports Boosters

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