—by Roger Fritz

The Roland-Story Norsemen kick off the 2013 football season this Friday in year two of the two year district rotation. All road games of last year will be at home, and all the home games of 2012 will be on the road. However there will be a slight change in the schedule. In 2012, South Hardin was unable to field a varsity squad, so a replacement game with PCM was added. This year, South Hardin is back on the schedule, and the Norsemen will be travelling to Eldora to take on the Tigers.

2012 was not a good year for the Norsemen, as they stumbled to a 1-8 record. The Norsemen lost the first two games of the year on last second scores (PCM and South Hamilton). Roland-Story held off a late game scoring flurry by CMB in game three, for the only win of the year. The Norse did not claim a win the remainder of the year.

This fall the Norsemen will travel to South Hamilton (Jewell), South Hardin (Eldora), Greene County (Jefferson), West Marshall (State Center) and Nevada. Roland-Story will host CMB, North Polk, East Marshall (Homecoming) and Gilbert.

This is the second year the Iowa High School Athletic Association is going with 7 team districts in Class 2A. So all teams start with two non-district games, and then play a non-district game somewhere in the final seven weeks. South Hamilton, CMB, and Greene County are the three non-district games, and will have no bearing on the Norse’s post season opportunities.

The top 4 teams in each district move on to the postseason to play the top 4 in a partner district. Roland-Story is in Class 2A District 7. The partner is District 8, which contains schools generally in Southwest Iowa. Carroll Kuemper should be considered the favorite in D8.

In our own district, West Marshall is the reigning champ, going through district play unscathed in 2012, and North Polk came in second losing only to West Marshall. Both will be strong contenders for this fall as well. Nevada and Gilbert were the other postseason representatives for D7 in 2012. Nevada has the most work in front of them this year, needing to replace 20 of 22 starting positions due to a senior heavy lineup in 2012.

Head Coach Kerry Van Winkle reports practices have been going well for the Norsemen. "The players have had a good attitude, and we’ve had some good weather. I’ve been pleased with how it has gone so far."

Van Winkle went on to talk about what fans can expect this year. "We have some experience up front. We are not big, hopefully we will be better with that experience. We should have a nice backfield if they can stay healthy."

During the first week of practice, the Norsemen seniors elected their captains. Ben Crisman, Noah Bartmess, Zach Hovick, and Charlie Messer will chosen by their teammates to be representing Roland-Story this year. The foursome will be at their first coin flip this Friday at South Hamilton. Kickoff is at 7:30.