The Gustavus Adolphus College football team looks to take a big step forward in 2005 after posting a disappointing 2-8 mark in 2004. Head Coach Jay Schoenebeck will look to 32 returning letterwinners to lead the way including eight starters on offense and seven starters on defense. Schoenebeck is hoping that this year’s team can mature into a title contender after many young players gained valuable experience against a very difficult schedule last year.
Coach Schoenebeck and his staff encouraged the returning players to focus on strength training and speed improvement in the off-season and it appears that the group responded as pre-season testing showed a significant improvement in both areas. The 2005 Gusties appear to be bigger, faster, and stronger, which should help keep the team competitive in the fourth quarter when the game is on the line.
Defensively, second-year coordinator Lance Taylor feels much more comfortable with his unit after having had a year to install a new defensive philosophy. Taylor can already see the difference in pre-season drills as players are reacting to situations rather than having to think and then react when everyone was learning a new system last year. All-America middle linebacker Isaac Sieling and All-Conference defensive end Karl Spilseth have graduated, however virtually every other significant contributor returns.
Junior defensive tackle Nick David (Morristown, Minn.), a two-year starter, will anchor the defensive line. David recorded 54 tackles a year ago, including five tackles for loss and two sacks. Senior Chris Cornwell (St. Paul Park, Minn.) will join David in the trenches. Cornwell played regularly for the team last season recording 19 tackles including two tackles for loss. Senior Korey Wermerskirchen (Sartell, Minn.), junior Kevin Burke-Rook (Pine Island, Minn.), and sophomore Andrew Brown (Winsted, Minn.) will also contribute on the defensive line.
At defensive end, the Gusties will look to sophomore Blake Theisen (Cold Spring, Minn.) and senior Jay Frederickson (Blue Earth, Minn.). Both individuals will be playing at the end position for the first time as Thiesen played fullback as a freshman, while Frederickson started at outside linebacker last season. Frederickson recorded 25 tackles with two sacks, a pass breakup and a forced fumble. Coach Taylor is excited about the speed and athletic ability that both players bring to the line. Junior Jared Chapman (Eden Prairie, Minn.) is also expected to contribute on a regular basis. Chapman recorded 21 tackles, forced two fumbles and blocked two kicks in eight games last season.
Outside linebackers Jared Sieling (So., Watertown, Minn.) and Jon Horbacz (Jr., Hinckley, Minn.) both moved into starting roles last season and are expected to make significant contributions again this year. Sieling finished second on the team in tackles with with 79, while Horbacz was tenth with 39. Senior Justin Redfield (Moorhead, Minn.) has also looked strong in pre-season practice and will battle Horbacz for playing time. At middle linebacker, Sophomore Adam Miron will step in to fill the hole created by the graduation of Isaac Sieling. Miron recorded 32 tackles backing up Sieling last year. Junior Taylor Beahrs (North Oaks, Minn.) is also expected to contribute in the middle after making 17 tackles in eight games a year ago.
At defensive back, the Gusties return good experience and depth at both cornerback and safety. Three returners are expected to battle for starting roles at cornerback including juniors Wade Vrieze (Richfield, Minn.), Brian Evans (Gaylord, Minn.), and Brad Maiers (Bloomington, Minn.). Vrieze tallied 53 tackles and recorded two interceptions last season. Juniors Wade Wietgrefe (Cottage Grove, Minn.) and Kevin Hegland (St. Michael, Minn.) both started as safeties a year ago and will give the Gusties a strong tandem in the middle of the field this year. Sophomore Drew Hood (Mankato, Minn.) has impressed the coaches with his improvement in the off-season and he is pushing Wietgrefe for playing time. Hegland made 57 tackles and intercepted three passes last season, while Wietgrefe contributed 40 tackles.
Offensively, Coach Jay Schoenebeck will be looking for more balance this season after the team struggled to rush the ball a year ago. The Gusties had great success through the air last season leading the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in passing with an average of 227.4 yards per game, however, the team ranked ninth in rushing at 85.8 yards per game. Schoenebeck will look to sophomore quarterback Jordan Stolp (Mankato, Minn.) to lead the offense. Stolp turned in a standout rookie campaign as he led the league in passing and shattered the school record for passing by a freshman completing 163-of-324 passes for 2,034 yards and 16 touchdowns.
A deep and talented receiving corps returns with Stolp, which should allow the Gusties to spread the field and open up some holes for the running backs. Junior Kerry Zajicek (Glencoe, Minn.) is the team’s top returning receiver having made 32 catches for 473 yards and four touchdowns last year. Other top receivers include Clint Riegelman (Sr., Red Wing, Minn.), Loren Havemeier (Sr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.), who is moving over from cornerback, sophomore Tom Johnson (Mankato, Minn.), who was Stolp’s favorite target in high school at Mankato West, and juniors Patrick Weineke (Jackson, Minn.) and Bobby Bonine (Roseville, Minn.). Senior Jamie Germscheid (Cleveland, Minn.), who started every game at tight end a year ago, also returns.
Senior Drew Stifter (Watertown, Minn.) and sophomore Mitchell Anderson (Sleepy Eye, Minn.) look to give the Gusties a strong one-two punch at running back. Stifter, a veteran who is adept at running inside the tackles, has compiled 1,167 yards on 300 carries in his three-year career. Anderson is a speedster, who can get around the corner in a hurry. He made his varsity debut late last season when Stifter was out with an ankle injury and carried 27 times for 80 yards against St. Thomas. He finished the year with 66 carries for 208 yards and two touchdowns.
The job of protecting quarterback Jordan Stolp will be the responsibility of a fairly young and inexperienced offensive line. Senior center Dan Tiegen (Shoreview, Minn.) will anchor the line. Other returning starters include senior guard Mark Iverson (Littleton, Colo.), and sophomore tackle Andy Klaers (Loretto, Minn.). Joining that group will be sophomore guard Ian Ruppel (Edina, Minn.) and senior tackle Joe Cupka (Maple Grove, Minn.). Ruppel moved into a starting role late last season, while Cupka played in a backup role. Sophomore Mike Johnson has been backing up Tiegen at center in camp as Tiegen is recovering from a leg injury. Others expected to contribute are junior Andrew Rieke (Fairfax, Minn.), junior Paul Shneider (Chanhassen, Minn.), and sophomore Andrew Liska (Plymouth, Minn.).
Special teams appear to be a strength for the Gusties as the entire group of specialists returns in tact. Jordan Stolp will likely handle the placekicking chores, while senior Mike Leonard (Burnsville, Minn.) returns as the punter. Leonard ranked sixth in the MIAC in punting last year with an average of 35.1 yards per punt. Loren Havemeier, who ranked fourth in kick returns (25.4 per return) and sixth in punt returns (8.4 per return), will give the team a serious return threat. Kevin Hegland will handle the long snapping responsibilities once again.
The team will open its season on Saturday, September 3 on the road against Valley City State University (No. Dak.) and then return home on September 10 against Wheaton College (Ill.). Coach Schoenebeck feels that although the Gusties will still be young, they return more experience at key positions, which will help the team be more productive. You can expect the Gusties to be a faster and more aggressive squad in 2005 than in 2004, which Schoenebeck hopes will lead to more victories.
Name: Gustavus Adolphus College
Location: St. Peter, Minn.
Nickname: Golden Gusties
School Colors: Black and Gold
Stadium: Hollingsworth Field
Affiliation: NCAA Div. III
President: Jim Peterson
Athletic Director: Al Molde
Athletic Phone: (507) 933-7617
First year of football: 1902
All-time bowl / play-off record: 0-3
Last postseason appearance / result: 1987/Lost to St. John’s 7-3
All-time record: 432-280-21
Sports Info Director: Tim Kennedy
Work Phone: (507) 933-7647
SID Fax: (507) 933-8412
Press Box phone: (507) 933-7404
Athletics website: http://www.gustavus.edu/oncampus/athletics
Directions to stadium:
Gustavus Adolphus College is located 60 miles from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. Drive times vary depending on traffic levels, but with good traffic conditions, it will take about one hour to drive to Gustavus from the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, about 75 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, MN, and about 90 minutes from downtown St. Paul, MN.
* From north, continue on 169 (Minnesota Avenue) southbound through St. Peter, turn right onto College Avenue, and go up the hill into campus.
* From east, come into St. Peter on westbound Hwy 99, and at the intersection of Broadway and Minnesota Avenue, turn left. Continue on Minnesota Ave. until you reach College Avenue, turn right, go up the hill into campus.
* From south, continue on 169 (Minnesota Avenue) northbound through St. Peter, turn left onto College Avenue, and go up the hill into campus.
* From west, come into St. Peter on eastbound Hwy 99, and turn left onto Minnesota Avenue. Continue north to College Avenue, turn left, and go up the hill into campus.
The football stadium is on the west side of the campus next to the Lund Center for Recreation and Health.
Head Coach Jay Schoenebeck
Alma Mater / Year: Gustavus ’80
Record at school (years): 54-56-0
Career record: 54-56-0
Head Coach’s office phone: (507) 933-7611
Best time / day to reach coach: 10:00am – 10:30am Monday – Friday
Defensive Coord.: Lance Taylor (UW-Platteville ’88)
Receivers/Special teams: Tom Brown (Augustana ’86)
Defensive Line: Mike Deschneau (Gustavus’01)
Defensive Backs: Bob Southworth (Gustavus ’99)
Offensive Line: Gregg Roberts (Gustavus ’80)
Running Backs: Chuck Larsen (Augsburg, ’71)
Linebackers: Travis Armstrong (Minnesota State, Mankato, ’96)
Gustavus vs. the MIAC
Series vs. Augsburg 51-12-0
Series vs. Bethel 14-12-0
Series vs. Carleton 13-14-3
Series vs. Concordia 40-31-2
Series vs. Hamline 50-22-0
Series vs. St. John’s 31-37-3
Series vs. St. Olaf 34-17-0
Series vs. St. Thomas 34-36-2
Letterwinners returning: Total: 32
Letterwinners lost: Total: 16
Starters Returning: 15 – Offense: 8 – Defense: 7
Starters Lost: 7 — Offense: 3 – Defense: 4
Jordan Stolp (SO, QB, 6-3, 185) — 2nd Team All-Conference, Led MIAC in passing at 212.9 ypg
Drew Stifter (SR, RB, 5-10, 190) — 2nd Team All-Conference, 3-year starter, 124 carries, 519 yards, 4 TD’s
Kerry Zajicek (JR, WR, 6-3, 198) — Finished 5th in MIAC in catches per game (4.2)
Wade Vrieze (JR, DB, 5-9, 175) — 53 tackles and two interceptions, talented kick returner as well
Jared Sieling (SO, LB, 6-1, 210)- Leading returning tackler with 79
Nick David (JR, DL, 5-9, 260) — 54 tackles including 5 tackles for loss and two sacks
Isaac Perry (FY, DB, Wabasha, MN)
Nick Schneider (FY, WR, Pipestone, MN)
Mike Fabel (FY, DB, Cold Spring, MN)
Ted Aleckson (FY, LB, Weston, WI)
Jared Thelemann (FY, OL, Kilkenny, MN)
Isaac Sieling (Graduation, First Team All-America linebacker)
Karl Spilseth (Graduation, All-Conference defensive end)
Sean Smith (Graduation, wide receiver)
Anders Haugen (Graduation, All-Conference offensive tackle)