This is the first part in Northstar Football News' profiles of teams who might surprise in the 2017 season. Over the course of the 10 days, we will attempt highlight a “sleeper” team from each level that we believe will have a bounce back year this fall after finishing with a .500 or worse record in 2016.
NFN’s 2017 6A sleeper: Farmington Tigers
2016 Record: 4-5
Returning starters: Luke Kriesel C, Charlie Korbein LG, Caden Freetly WR, Brock Mogensen LB, Avery Filipek SS, Nate Roschen DT, Adam Weed CB
The Farmington has been building towards a season like this ever since head coach Adam Fischer took over after the 2014 season. They struggled to adjust moving to 6A just before Fischer's tenure, but the program has improved its win total every year Fischer has been in charge. The coaching staff has now had a few years to implement their systems.
If the Tigers can navigate the first month of the season, they should pick up steam down the stretch.
Offensively, they return two offensive linemen – Charlie Korbein and Luke Kriesel. They do have some holes to fill on the offensive side of the ball, but Fischer feels some of the holes on the offensive side of the ball will be occupied by guys who are not new to varsity football.
Quarterback Alijah Moe started at cornerback as a junior and should not be intimidated by the Friday night lights. He should have some good targets to throw to in the spread attack. Adam Weed (NFN's 35th-ranked junior) started on defense the last two years, and he might be asked to go both ways as a junior, adding wide receiver to his resume.
Fischer feels games will be won – especially early – by the Tigers on the defensive side of the ball. They will be led by senior linebacker and South Dakota commit Brock Mogensen.
As a junior, Mogensen (NFN No. 72 in 2018) set the school record for tackles in a season. On defense, Mogensen will be joined by a trio of returning defenders: defensive backs Avery Filipek and Weed as well as defensive tackle Nate Roschen. They didn't start last season, but defensive end Sam Castillo, linebacker Cory Krotzer and linebacker Logan Hammond all saw a lot of time last season and will be counted on to step into starting roles in 2017.
The Tigers open the season at Woodbury on Friday, September 1.