The evening began with an introduction of the volleyball and cross-country teams followed by a volleyball scrimmage in the very humid, high school gym. Head Varsity Coach Holly Kupka and Assistant Varsity Coach Cally Thompson are coaching the Trojans this season. While she has served as an assistant coach in previous years, this will be Kupka's (a 2003 STC grad) first head coaching effort for the Trojans. Emily Chyma is coaching the freshman volleyball team. The cross-country team is coached by George Kuhter and Robert Tyynismaa. They will begin their season at Marshalltown Community College on Thursday Aug. 28. The volleyball team kicks things off on Tuesday Sept. 2 at home against Grinnell.
After the volleyball scrimmage fans headed to the football stadium to catch a glimpse of this season's freshman and varsity football teams. The Trojans have moved to District 2A and are set to face several new teams this season.
Despite graduating several key players from it's roster, the Trojans appear ready to rise to the challenge with some new faces along with other seasoned upperclassmen. Upon looking back at the 2013 season, there are a couple of holes the Trojans will need to fill if they are to continue progressing forward. 2013 seniors Tyler Martens and Dylan Kalinay led STC in receiving yards (Martens), tackles (Martens), and kick off return yards (Kalinay). While the two may be tough to replace the Trojans are looking to do just that. If the annual Gator Bowl is any sign of the times to come, the times look good.
Head Varsity Coach Jay Hoskey gives instructions to the football team prior to the start of the annual “Gator Bowl” on Friday Aug. 22. The Gator Bowl was held at the STC football stadium.
Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham
"It looked like we were fairly sound (Friday night), we had too many mistakes offside and jumping the gun, but that's why we have a scrimmage.
"Overall the people we saw at camp did a good job," said Jay Hoskey.
Junior Cody Kellogg who transferred to South Tama in 2013 served as backup quarterback for Dalton Doyle last season. This season the landscape has changed slightly and Kellogg will be on the receiving end of the ball as a wide receiver. As a centerfielder for the STC baseball team Kellogg displayed an impressive level of athleticism and hopes to translate some of those same diving and catching skills to the football field. Trojan fans got a taste of what may be to come for the junior receiver as he hauled in an acrobatic catch from quarterback Darius Lasley-Shields to end the first half of the Gator Bowl scrimmage.
With Kellogg moving from backup quarterback to wide receiver a crucial role opened up for the Trojans. It looks to be filled by standout basketball star Darius Lasley-Shields. Lasley-Shields was quick and agile on the court last season and looks to make his debut appearance for the football team this season. Dalton Doyle continues to impress the coaching staff and will again take the helm as the Trojan's starting quarterback.
The 2014 STC junior class will make up nearly half of the Trojan roster this season. On the defensive side juniors Justin Suchanek and Colson Frakes will return as key role players. The two juniors led the Trojans in interceptions last season and both ended with an interception in Friday's scrimmage.
Another highly anticipated player to watch is junior Jerry Lowe. Lowe led the Trojans in rushing with 105 attempts for 604 yards in 2013 and looked to be fine form as he displayed both power and quickness at the Gator Bowl. Senior Bo Blocker came in just behind Lowe ending last season with 106 attempts for 452 yards. Blocker, who was not dressed Friday night due to a minor injury, was also the Trojan's second leading receiver last season with 239 yards. Blocker looks to be back on the field for the first game. With a strong backfield comprised of Lowe, Blocker, and Peyton Rutledge the Trojans will have multiple options to keep their offense moving in 2014.
According to Hoskey the team is deeper than it has been in quite some time. "Typically second string doesn't keep up with first but they did tonight, although first string had a better performance," stated Hoskey.
The Trojans are set to open their season with long time rivals, the Grinnell Tigers. The game will be played in Grinnell on Friday Aug. 29 and will determine where the Steve Kriegel Trophy will live for the next year. The trophy has taken residence with the Tigers since 2007 and the Trojans look to bring it home along with a victory for their first non-district game of the year.
"We look like we are going to be a more well-balanced team. We want to play physical, fast, and hard," said Hoskey.