Senior strength for WHS football

Pictured is the 2022 Waterloo High School football team. From left, front row, are Ian Liefer, Trey Miller, Anthony Groves, Lexi Stephens, Alex Roehm, Aidan Morrow, Chris Pete and Aiden Hunter; second row: Dane Barnes, Bryce Reese, Brady Rose, Steven Lopez-Tercero, Ethan Toms, Kaleb Buechler, Oliver Davidson, Brian Klein and Koby Osterhage; third row: Jack Roessler, Curtis Crossen, Michael Donjon, Jason Hooser, Harrison Bartosik, Gavin Lich, Max Mitchell, Hunter Gould, Nathan Lloyd and Evan Davis; fourth row: Nathan Chitty, Dylan Jackson, Savion Maxey, Nate Phillips, Tucker Wilson, Dalton Crawford, David Neikirk, Ethan Bass, Eric Williams and Wyatt Fink; back row: coaches Janella Neary, Eric Major, Matt Mason, Head Coach Dan Rose, Matt Lucash, Jake Schneider, Joe Habermehl (offensive coordinator), Tony Morrow, Chase Guercio (defensive coordinator) and Rodney Newbury.

The usual grueling schedule awaits the Waterloo High School football team this fall, but there’s hope that a senior-laden roster is strong enough for battle.

A total of 21 seniors are on longtime Bulldogs head coach Dan Rose’s squad in 2022, including returning starters at key positions all over the field. 

Leading the way on offense are running back Evan Davis and quarterback Aidan Morrow, both seniors. 

Davis, a bruising runner, was just three yards shy of 1,000 total yards last year and scored 13 touchdowns.

Morrow threw for 885 yards and seven TDs last season in addition to rushing for two more scores.

Others expected to contribute in the backfield include junior wingback Kody Osterhage and seniors Max Mitchell and Bryce Reese.

Rose is especially excited about his offensive and defensive linemen entering the 2022 campaign.

“Our offensive line is bigger,” he said. “Overall, it’s probably our strongest offensive line ever.”

He credited offseason dedication in the weight room for building up this strength and “pushing the limits of where we’ve ever been before.”

Linemen include seniors Dylan Jackson (245 pounds), Nathan Chitty (250), Ethan Bass (250), Curtis Crossen (220) and Hunter Gould (245), all seniors. 

At center will be 6-foot-3 junior Jack Roessler at 205 pounds.

On defense, 6-foot-3 senior Wyatt Fink should be exciting to watch. He recorded six sacks and two interceptions last season. Fink will also be involved on offense for the ‘Dogs.

Fellow seniors Reese and Mitchell should also have their names called on defense. Reese recorded 52 total tackles, a sack and interception last season. Mitchell had 49 total tackles, three sacks and two fumble recoveries in 2021 before getting injured.

Leading the defensive backfield will be seniors Ian Liefer and Dane Barnes.

Returning for kicking duties is senior Lexi Stephens, who earned honorable mention all-conference last season. She will share some of these duties with senior Jason Hooser, who will also play at tight end and linebacker, Rose said.

Other players to watch for this fall include juniors Brady Rose, Savion Maxey and David Neikirk.

Last year, eight of nine teams on Waterloo’s schedule made the playoffs. The Bulldogs went 3-6 in those games, but Rose said at least a couple of those losses came down to just a play or two that could have gone differently.

The expectation is that Waterloo’s 2022 schedule will also be tough, starting Aug. 26 at Mater Dei and then Sept. 2 at rival Columbia before taking on five tough Mississippi Valley Conference teams.

“Our schedule is tough,” Rose said. “Our margin of error is always very thin.”

Read the Fall Sports Preview in the Aug. 24 issue of the Republic-Times.

For a schedule of fall sports, click here.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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