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The Mount Ayr Raider football team is gearing up for a brand-new season, this time with a few changes.
Along with COVID-19, the Raiders will be missing coach Delwyn Showalter, who retired after last season, after 19 years at the helm.
Co-head coach Derek Lambert, who was with Showalter for those 19 years, will assume the role of sole head coach with assistants James Smith, Daniel Showalter, Lucas Smith, Brad Elliott and Dustin Larsen.
With the change, the Raiders look to continue their success after a 7-3 season last year, despite losing 10 seniors to graduation.
Returning letterwinners include: Payton Weehler, Adler Shay, Dawson Swank, Jace Grose, Austin Cole, Cody Larson, Seth Shelman, Rhett Larson, Will Strange, Donavon Morales, Trae Ehlen, Erik Trujillo and Bryce Shaha.
“There are lots of holes to fill from the graduation class,” said coach Lambert. “Nine seniors that started somewhere and most on both sides of the ball.”
The Raider offensive line will be new but will be led by center Rhett Larson.
“I think the district is very evenly matched for the most part,” said Lambert. “Pella Christian may have the edge, they are solid every year, as well as I-35. Very sound coaching at each of the teams in the district, we will have our hands full.”
Despite the difficult district, coach Lambert and company are excited to get the year underway.
“The group of seniors we had last year was a special group, but I believe their work ethic and determination has rubbed off on the returning players,” said Lambert. “Our seniors this year have done a tremendous job in preparing themselves for the season despite all the adversity they have faced. We won’t be very big, but are athletic and very aggressive.”
Mount Ayr has 43 students out for football this season, including 13 seniors.