FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Time to believe in Ghosts

Justin Miller

Break out the maroon and grey because the IVC boys varsity football team is back and ready to make a run at a state championship.

This Friday, the IVC Grey Ghosts varsity football team will take the field to kick off another exciting season of high school football.

IVC’s varsity team is coming off an impressive 8-3 season last year, a season in which the Ghosts clinched a third straight playoff berth. They started the playoffs by beating Rock Island to get their first playoff win under fourth-year head coach Tim Heinz.

Sadly, the dream season ended, as the Grey Ghosts fell to Driscoll in the second round of the playoffs.

This year, the Grey Ghosts look to run a balanced offense, with a healthy mix of running and passing. 

Veteran running backs James Lauber and Jake Elias, both seniors, return to create a powerful one-two punch in the running game.

Senior quarterback Chris Razo, who will replace last year’s senior quarterback Andrew Kupper, will have two big time go-to wide receivers in Luke Hall and Terrell Williams, as well as a strong core of underclassmen wide receivers.

Razo will also be taking over kicking duties from last year’s stellar senior kicker, Anthony Buob.

At left guard, protecting Razo, will be Luke Bartlett, who is taking over the duty of anchoring the offensive line from last year’s outstanding senior, Brandon Ratcliff.

Looking at all the weapons that this experienced offense has, it is safe to say that they will put up a lot of points over the season.

Defensively, IVC looks to have an athletic yet physical defense, which will be led by senior linebacker Kolbe Weller and senior defensive back Hall, who will take over free safety duties from last year’s standout senior, Ryan Foster.

Along with the veterans, the defense will feature some younger defensive linemen who are being brought up to speed on a defense that uses a lot of different movements to throw off opposing offenses.

One of the new defensive linemen, senior Chris Green, will be taking over the duties of last year’s senior Dan Rufus.

Rushing opposing quarterbacks and shutting down the opposition’s running game at defensive end, senior Jake Switzer will be replacing Joe Sperry, the senior defensive end from last year.

Putting it all together, this year’s IVC varsity football team, which began practicing Aug. 13, has several key ingredients to make a deep playoff run.

For starters, both the offense and defense are diverse.

Neither relies too heavily on one particular aspect of play, which should give opposing teams a tough time when strategizing against the Ghosts.

Another important element that makes this year’s team so dangerous is the amount of veteran senior leaders at key positions. 

After last year’s playoff win against Rock Island, this year’s team should have enough experience in big games not to get rattled too easily when the pressure is on.

However the season turns out, hopes are high heading into the season opener at 7 p.m. Friday at Monmouth-Roseville.