With every new season comes changes, but they will see more than usual changes for the Belmond-Klemme football team. Darwin Christiansen stepped down as the head coach after 15 seasons.
Shannon Muhlenbruch will take on another sport as he will co-coach with Kyle Wilkinson. Muhlenbruch is also the head boys track coach and co-coached the softball team this summer. Both he and Wilkinson have experience coaching football they will bring to the table. Muhlenbruch had been an assistant coach under Christiansen for the past six years, while Wilkinson spent five years as an assistant coach.
The other major changes for the Broncos this season will come with the players you see on the field. Belmond-Klemme lost their entire offensive line, their quarterback, a running back, and a couple of wideouts that all graduated. Even though the personnel will be different, Muhlenbruch says fans won’t notice a large difference in the offense they run.
When you have an all-around athlete like Tate Sander, it’s not a surprise to teams to whom you will be looking to get the ball. The key for Wilkinson and Muhlenbruch will be doing it differently to keep teams guessing. Though Sander will be getting the ball often, teams will also need to watch for Clayton Pletsch. The senior ran for 251 yards and two touchdowns last year, including a long run of 52 yards for one of these scores. The Broncos will have a little more experience at wideout. Pletsch is the leading receiver back; he caught four passes for 71 yards and a touchdown last year. He’s joined by classmates Cameron Roberts and Nicholas Jenison, and junior Brian Buran also caught two passes for 17 yards.
The defensive line and linebackers are gone for the most part, but the defensive back will bring back some experience. Upfront, Nicholas Jenison recorded 16 tackles and is experienced. He and Cameron Roberts are the only defenders who record more than 15 tackles last season.
Any team looking to win a district title will have to go through South Central Calhoun. A state semifinalist a year ago, the Titans look to be the favorite this season. Woodward-Granger and South Hamilton will also be a big test for the Belmond-Klemme Broncos.
With the new playoff structure this season in Class 1A, the Broncos will play eight regular-season games instead of nine, and the top four teams will make the playoffs from each district. The teams in Class 1A will no longer qualify with the RPI systems used in years past.
Belmond-Klemme will open the season at home aginst AGWSR on August 27th. Coach Muhlenbruch will be on KIOW’s Coaches Corner Program starting Saturday, August 28th, and will run each Saturday morning throughout the football season.
Zarren Egesdal is the sports director for Coloff Media radio stations KIOW and KHAM. He can be reached daily at email@example.com or 641-585-1073. Do you have a story idea? Feel free to contact him. Zarren is an award-winning journalist providing coverage to all area schools. You will hear Zarren calling games as the ‘voice of the Forest City Indians’ on KIOW (107.3), the Indians’ flagship station throughout the year.