STC ready for 2020

As high school track and field, soccer, golf, and tennis teams lamented the cancelation of their respective seasons this spring, football players across the state of Iowa were left to sit and wonder if they would have a chance to suit up in the fall.

STC Head Coach Nate Doran and his coaching staff spent the early summer developing workout programs for their players to complete remotely. Players received a workout plan four days a week during June and the coaches developed a competition between the football and volleyball teams to see who could finish the most workouts each week. Coaches also developed an online resource through Google Classroom where plays and sequences were uploaded for the players to analyze and discuss online while they were awaiting the start of in person practices. Sent out work out plans four days a week during

Then after they got the green light to open the weight room in early July, players and coaches started two-a-day workouts leading up to the beginning of full practices in August.

“We had a really good turnout in the weight room this July,” Doran said. “Between the boys and girls we topped out at around 36 total and rarely dropped below 20.”

While there are a number of new safety guidelines that state high school athletic officials have installed this year in relation to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, two of the most visible changes for the upcoming season are the change to the schedule and required referee timeouts during each game.

Within a guidance document released by the Iowa High School Athletic Association in late July, a new rule requires teams to take a mandatory timeout every four minutes of game clock to provide time for sanitizing and hydration.

Social distancing will also be encouraged by the expansion of the sideline team box to each 10-yard line, which provides an additional 30 yards for players and coaches to distance themselves during games.

This year’s regular season was adjusted to feature seven regular season games instead of nine with schools also having the option to opt out of the first two weeks and only play a five game schedule.

In the adjusted format, playoffs will expand to include all schools and will begin on October 16, two weeks earlier than usual.

Since this year’s schedules were predetermined before the onset of the pandemic, schools across the state had to rework their schedules and determine which games would drop off and which would remain.

The South Tama Trojans will play a seven game schedule this year and will see some different non-district competition than earlier anticipated.

Prior to the new schedule format, the Trojans were set to face Saydel, Roland-Story, Benton Community, and Grinnell in non-district competition. Saydel and Grinnell will remain as the Week One and Week Two opponents, respectively, but Roland-Story and Benton Community have fallen off the schedule. Each team will have an opportunity to start in the playoffs on the week of October 16, much the same as volleyball and basketball.

South Tama’s slate of opponents this season will feature solid competition but may be a slight departure from the past four years where district competition has guaranteed meetings with perennial powerhouse programs like Xavier and Pella.

As far as preseason rankings go, the top ranked opponent for the Trojans this season are the Grinnell Tigers. They come in ranked third in Class 3A by the Cedar Rapids Gazette and will tout a high powered offense that featured the Class 3A leading rusher, a freshman quarterback who threw over 1,700 yards, and returning players at nearly every skill position.

Solon steps in as the heavy hitter in district competition but will be looking to rebuild after graduating several starters from their 2019 state runner-up bid.

Vinton-Shellsburg, CPU, Union Community, and Mount Vernon each captured multiple wins last season and should prove competitive but a few rungs below Solon and Grinnell.

South Tama meanwhile is looking to break a 24 game losing streak that extends back into 2017.

They will have a good opportunity in Week One as they host Saydel, a team that is nursing a sizable losing streak as well. The Eagles streak stands at 22 games and also reaches back into 2017.

Saydel and South Tama have been common opponents for several years but have not had the opportunity to face each other since 2013. The Trojans have won the past four contests with the Eagles, each in blowout fashion.

A key component of the South Tama roster this season will be the presence of a large senior class, filling 18 spots on the varsity roster.

Outside of losing some help on the line and at the linebacker position, South Tama will return the bulk of it’s starters this season. Most of whom have logged significant varsity minutes over the past two seasons.

Team captains for the Trojans this year include Brayden Smith (QB/LB), Matt Wiese (LB/WR), Kalem Schrock (OG/DT), Brady Knode (CB/WR), Payton Vest (RB/LB), and Mickey Wanatee (OL/DL).

The Trojans will host the Saydel on Friday for their Week 1 season opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.