GOTHENBURG – Don’t be surprised if the Gothenburg Swedes see a return to some old-school football this year. Gothenburg is coming off a 7-3 season last year and an appearance in the playoffs. They look to return to the playoffs by returning to some Swede basics.
With some experience on the line (three returning starters) and experience in the backfield (top three rushers) don’t be surprised to see a return to what locals know as “Haake Ball” in Gothenburg. For years a trademark of Swedes football “Haake Ball” was defined as Head Coach Craig Haake’s power running, ground and pound, in your face offense. It produced results, including a state championship appearance in 2002 and 15 straight playoff appearances. Often Swede teams were smaller, but quicker than their opponents, Haake sees this year’s team as similar.
“We have a little more speed across the whole team, “Haake said.
Vincent Nickels returns at quarterback. He split time with Maguire Bartlett under center last season. Nickels also has experience as a running back in what is expected to be a crowded backfield for the Swedes. Bartlett, Owen Geiken, Evan Peterson and transfer Trent Harbor all will figure in the mix.
Haake feels his defense could be improved.
“We are athletic and bring an attitude,” Haake said. “At linebacker we are deep and quick. Right now we can go about six deep at that position. Not only are we quick enough to get the plays we can end the plays too.”
Geiken returns as the leading tackler in Class C1 and he did that as a freshman. Nickels is a three years starter at safety and is the signal caller for defensive coordinator Tom Scott’s hard hitting unit. The defensive line is helped out by the imposing figure of 6’7″ Josh Olsen.
Gothenburg broke camp with 58 players out for the team. The Swedes open up with a long trip to Imperial to take on the Chase County Longhorns.