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Head coach Ryan Victor will take the helm of the Raiders this Friday in the “Battle for the Rock”.
In what will be his ninth year as a head football coach, eight at Missouri Valley and his first in Mount Ayr, coach Victor will be joined by a familiar cast of assistant coaches in Dan Showalter, Lucas Smith, James Smith and Brad Elliott.
Last season the Raiders went 7-2 and won the conference title.
Major losses from that team were Nebraska commit Peyton Weehler, Trae Ehlen, Donovan Morales, Peyton Stull, Rhett Larson, Bryce Shaha and Erik Trujillo.
The team does return a lot of experience, however.
“We return some guys with experience on both sides of the ball,” said coach Victor. “But we have to replace some guys that were huge pieces in this program. Our focus has been improving each day especially with buy-in. If we continue to do those things I believe we could be a real tough team in our district.”
The Raiders return All-Conference players in Jaixen Frost, Jaydon Knight, Austin Cole, Adler Shay, Will Strange and Cody Larson.
New districts were drawn up from last year, taking the Raiders to places like Sidney and Riverside, while hosting teams such as Earlham and St. Albert.
“This district is a tough one,” said coach Victor. “I think that it could come down to a couple teams, but I feel Earlham is the early favorite, but it’s anyone’s district to win. That’s how tough I feel this district is.”
Being a new coach takes getting the athletes to buy-in to something new.
“The team has been doing an excellent job of buying-in to some new philosophies and roles,” said coach Victor. “We’ve seen some good growth, but we need to continue to raise our ceiling.”
The Raiders will kick-off this Friday in Greenfield as they battle with Nodaway Valley in the “Battle for the Rock”.