By William for www.mcpherson-county-ks.com
CANTON – The Canton/Galva football program drops a notch to 8-Man Division II for the 2022 season but expects to continue the same success that found 43 wins to just five losses since 2018.
Shelby Hoppes returns as the head coach of the Eagles and has an overall mark of 47-10 as he enters his sixth season leading the program.
The Eagles finished 2021 with a 10-2 mark and sub-state runner-up but expect new challenges in 2022 with the drop to Division II.
“We drop down a classification this year to 8-Man Division II,” explained coach Hoppes. “It will be unfamiliar territory for us.”
One major work in progress will be to find a replacement for four-year starter and all-state Tyson Struber who completed his 8-Man career as one of the all-time best receivers. Struber is now playing Division I football at Kansas State.
On replacing Struber, coach Hoppes notes, “We have a good core of skill guys coming back that will need to step up and account for the loss of Tyson’s offensive production.”
Leading the Eagles through the transition to division II will be a senior heavy, experienced football team that returns six of eight starters on both sides of the ball.
Among the senior players leading the Eagle offense for 2022 will be Garrett Maltbie, an all-state honoree at quarterback where he accounted for 2,853 yards and 53 touchdowns in 2021, Cason Mastre at wide receiver, TJ Koehn at tight end, Ryder Norstrom at running back plus Preston Minson on the line. The other returning starter is junior offensive lineman Wyatt Collins.
As for the defensive side, TJ Koehn returns for his senior season after recording 74 tackles, 15.5 stops for a loss and five sacks in 2021. Joining him on the front line will be Wyatt Collins while Ryder Norstrom returns at linebacker and Maltbie, Mastre, and junior Lane McMannis will man the defensive backfield.
Talking about his offense, coach Hoppes said, “We are looking forward to having a more experienced group in 2022, especially on the offensive line which was a group that had zero varsity starts entering the 2021 season but now returns four players with varsity time under their belt.”
Defensively, Hoppes referenced it would be much like the offense where they return a lot more experience this season that previously.
“We will be able to put a lot of speed on the field in the defensive secondary and at linebacker,” pointed out Hoppes. “We are also excited about our defensive front which will have both size and speed in 2022 though we will need to work on becoming a more physical defense in 2022. If the guys can figure that out, then the unit should be extremely solid moving forward.”
One bright spot for the Eagle coaching staff will be trying to figure how to include senior transfer Jeff Vincent into the mix. Vincent transfers in from Wheatland/Grinnell where he earned all-state honors with 103 tackles and six interceptions as a defensive back while also catching 67 passes for 1,341 yards and 19 touchdowns as a wide receiver on offense.
The Eagles kick the 2022 season off with a major game on Friday, September 2 when they play host to Little River, the team that knocked them out of a state bid in 2021. Currently Little River is ranked number one pre-season in 8-Man Division I while the Eagles are ranked number two pre-season in 8-Man Division II.
2022 EAGLE OFFENSIVE RETURNING STARTERS:
- Garrett Maltbie, 6’1”, 180 lbs. senior QB – had 763 yards rushing on 100 attempts with 21 touchdowns in 2021 while going 110-179 passing for 2,090 yards and 33 touchdowns with 2 interceptions.
- Cason Mastre, 5’11”, 165 lbs. senior WR – caught 31 passes for 630 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2021.
- TJ Koehn, 6’4”, 220 lbs. senior TE – caught 13 passes for 288 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2021.
- Ryder Norstrom, 5’7”, 165 lbs. senior RB – ran for 575 yards on 79 carries while scoring 9 touchdowns.
- Preston Minson, 5’10”, 220 lbs. senior OL
- Wyatt Collins, 6’2”, 215 lbs. junior OL
2022 EAGLE DEFENSIVE RETURNING STARTERS:
- TJ Koehn, 6’4”, 220 lbs. senior DE – 74 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks.
- Wyatt Collins, 6’2”, 215 lbs. junior DE – 24.5 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks.
- Ryder Norstrom, 5/7”, 165 lbs. senior LB – 54.5 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 interception.
- Garrett Maltbie, 6’1”, 180 lbs. senior DB – 41 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions.
- Cason Mastre, 5’11”, 165 lbs. senior DB – 19.5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss.
- Lane McMannis, 5’11”, 155 lbs. junior DB – 55.5 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception.
2022 EAGLE PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- Jeff Vincent, 6’3”, 180 lbs. senior WR – a transfer in from Wheatland Grinnell where he caught 67 passes for 1,341 yards and 19 touchdowns. Also had 103 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 6 interceptions as a DB.
- Braison Alcala, 5’10”, 170 lbs. senior WR/DB.
- Nick Evans, 5’6”, 140 senior RB/DL.
- Jaden Ediger, 5’8”, 170 lbs. junior WR/DB.
- Isom Marstan, 5’10”, 235 lbs. junior OL/DL.
2022 CANTON/GALVA EAGLES FOOTBALL SCHEDULE:
- Friday, September 2 – Host Little River
- Friday, September 9 – at Goessel
- Friday, September 16 – at Solomon
- Friday, September 23 – at Norwich
- Friday, September 30 – Host Fairfield
- Friday, October 7 – at Central Christian of Hutchinson
- Friday, October 14 – Host St. Johns of Beloit
- Friday, October 21 – Host Rural Vista
- Thursday, October 27 – Bi-District game
- Friday, November 4 – Regional game
- Friday, November 11 – Sectional game
- Friday, November 18 – Sub-State game
- Saturday, November 26 – State Championship game
(William is a free-lance writer covering McPherson County Activities – he can be reached at email@example.com)