HARTINGTON — Area football teams will take to the gridiron earlier than usual this year.
The Hartington Wildcats open the season in Week Zero, which means the Wildcats are just one of a handful of teams that will open the season Aug. 24.
Hartington will open against a very tough squad, as the Cats travel to Humphrey. Coach Corey Uldrich’s Humphrey crew put together an impressive season last year, finishing the regular season at 4-4, but two of their losses were to undefeated Howells and once-beaten St, Francis.
Humphrey travels to Wynot Aug. 31 as the Devils open the new campaign at home. The contest will feature two coaches that used to roam the sidelines together as Uldrich and Wynot Coach Steve Heimes are both former assistants at Cedar Catholic.
The Cedar Catholic Trojans will start the season Aug. 30 when Oakland-Craig comes to town.
The Trojans will have a rare Thursday night contest because Russ Hochstein Field will host the Wildcats Friday night in the Hartington home opener. Hartington hosts another tough foe Aug. 31 as Bloomfield comes to town.
The Oakland-Craig Knights will be a formidable foe for Cedar as they handed the Trojans two of their three losses on the season in 2011.
Oakland-Craig put together a perfect regular season in 2011 and did not see defeat until being eliminated in the playoff quarterfinals.
Coach Joe Anderson’s Knights hope to repeat as District champions. The Knights will have some rebuilding to do, though, as they return just three starters on offense and four on defense.
O-C will be led by a new field general this season.
Junior quarterback Matt Nissen will be taking over a starter’s role for the first time, but he has plenty of experience as he guided the OC JV to a 12-1 season. He will have two familiar targets to throw to in juniors, Mitchell Lindstrom and Jacob Dixon. Both are returning veterans at receiver.
Cedar graduated a lot of seniors last May, but will still return a talented bunch.
Frank Herbolsheimer only saw part-time duty last season as the team’s running back, as he was behind All-Stater Keenan Sudbeck. Herbolsheimer should see plenty of snaps this season, however. He will line up behind a line that should contain quite a bit of depth.