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HUDDLE 2018: Titans opting for run-first approach

Central Dakota football coach George Straub didn't mince words discussing the Titans' offensive plans for 2018.

"We're going to go back to Titan football and how it used to be played," Straub said. "We're going to run it, run it and run it. Ground and pound."

The Titans finished 2017 without a victory for a second consecutive season, even with the transition down from Class AA to Class A. But there is hope on the horizon. Other than losing University of Jamestown quarterback recruit Mason Smith and kicker Tabitha Muncy to graduation, Central Dakota is returning its entire roster to the field.

Juniors Colby Bruner and Jory Boote will be battling for the position left by Smith under center. Bruner was the Titans' backup QB last fall, while a host of athletes are being looked at to utilize Straub's run-first approach.

The coach said seniors Cord Laplant and Tyler Guscette, both listed as lineman last fall, will see snaps at halfback and fullback, respectively. Sophomores Hunter Gronneberg and Max Fehr will also see time out of the backfield.

"I want three or four sets of fullbacks and halfbacks," Straub said. "I'm sick of looking at interceptions. We're going to control the ball, play smash-mouth football and use the run to set up the pass.

"The other team can't score if we have the ball."

A strong Titans' senior class also includes lineman Teylor Hanson, Jacob Harstad and Isaac Smith, who all will be helping to open lanes, while senior receiver/corner Mason Haugen is also back in pads. Sophomores Landon Hanson (OL/DL), Jonah Ringstad (WR/CB) and Tanner Soupir (WR/TE) were all starters as freshmen in 2017, a season that ended at 0-8.

"They're bigger, they're stronger and I think they're ready," Straub said. "I know what my expectations are."

Straub likes Carrington as Region 2 favorites.

"Carrington, hands down," Straub said. "They've got the athletes coming back."

(Editor's note: This story and more can be found in The Sun's area football preview magazine The Huddle.)

Michael Savaloja

Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota

A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.

Follow on Twitter: @MichaelSavaloja

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