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Freeze Football looks to use speed and athleticism


Nolan Bakke carries the ball during the Freeze’s 34-13 road loss to the Stephen-Argyle Central Storm, a November 12, 2020 afternoon game in Argyle. (Photo by Jennifer Klegstad)

After watching his team play just four games last season due to COVID, Freeze Head Coach Adam Gast is excited to see what his team will do this year, particularly what it does with its speed on both sides of the ball.

“We’re athletic and that’s the other fun part,” Coach Gast said. “… I’ve been head (coach) now for four years. I would say it’s one of my most athletic groups I’ve had seen.”

Coach Gast talked about last year’s team and this year’s team, from the seniors he lost to the players who return to his program. He also discussed practice performance, his team’s strengths, and the goals for his team this season.

The program lost six seniors from last year’s team, a group that finished a shortened season 0-4. Those six seniors included George Cruiz Jr, Ben Haugen, Mason Scholin, Anton Budziszewski, Easton Olson, and Adam Maurstad. Most of them played as linemen.

“We had to kind of revamp our line a little bit there,” Coach Gast said, “but I think we got guys stepping that up now that’ll should help fill those shoes of last year’s seniors.”

He considered last year’s seniors as “big” contributors.

“It’s always tough to lose seniors,” Coach Gast said. “A guy wish(es) you could hang on for them for many years, but it’s tough.”

Despite the loss of these seniors, the Freeze program returns many starters from last season Gast highlighted. The program has 41 players out this year from seventh to twelfth, including 18 at the ninth to twelfth grade level.

Besides Gast, Tom Maki (Varsity Assistant), Shawn Donarski (Varsity Assistant), Craig Bakke (Junior High), and Eric Melcher (Junior High) will lead these 41 Freeze Football players.

Six seniors— all starters and captains this season— will lead the varsity team. They are as follows: Brady Skeim, Blake Sillanpaa, Gage Hockstedler, Austin Kautzman, Logan Youngstrand, and Eli Grove. This senior group’s inclusiveness stands out to Gast.

“They hang out together. They have a good time together. But the best thing about that (senior) group is they include all the other grades too,” Coach Gast said. “They’re super, super friendly with the ninth through eleventh graders. They’re all one whole team now. It’s nice to see that.”

As for those returning players that Coach Gast looks to lead the team this year, he first pointed to starting senior quarterback Skeim, believing he would have a strong season.

Gast is starting with junior Nolan Bakke, senior Hockstedler, senior Sillanpaa, and freshman Straet Spilde as his running backs.

“ I expect a lot out of those guys,” Gast said.

Speaking of freshmen, with six seniors, four juniors, and two sophomores, Gast figures to see some of his six total freshmen players get much time in this season.

Going into this season, Gast highlighted how the speed his team possesses extends from the running backs to the linemen.

“It’s fun watching them in conditioning, because the linemen are almost beating the backs every day,” Coach Gast said. “… Our speed is going to be our, what’s going to, I think, bring us over.”

As for goals for this speedy and athletic group of players, Coach Gast wants them to have a competitive season and to win games this year.

“It’s up to them and how far they want to go I think… There’s only 18 of them, but they could go a long ways if they play hard,” Gast said. “I don’t know if they realize that yet, but I hope they do because they’re a good group of kids this year.”

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