Prep football: NLS will have two new faces under center against Crusaders – West Central Tribune

NEW LONDON – After losing three-year starting quarterback Kyle Doty due to graduation, the Wildcats football team will have new faces at quarterback this season.

With their home and season opener scheduled for 7 pm against St. Cloud Cathedral on Thursday night, the Wildcats faced Paynesville and BOLD in preparation.

“It’s nice to have that fight against those two area schools. They showed some good things and we were able to showcase some of our talents,” Wildcats head coach Chad Gustafson said. “That’s the best time you have the opportunity to assess your players.”

After the preseason, Gustafson made the decision to play with two quarterbacks in Thursday’s opener.

Wildcats junior Grant Paffrath, who served as junior varsity quarterback last season, and sophomore Blake Schultz, who served as ninth-grade quarterback last season past, you’ll see snapshots in the first game of New London-Spicer.

What is Gustafson’s plan for playing with his two quarterbacks?

Gustafson will have Paffrath at the helm of New London-Spicer’s first offensive series of the season. After that, he has no further plans on who will take over the Wildcats’ offense from there.

“I thought about it a lot. We’ll see how the game goes,” Gustafson said of how he wants to play with his two quarterbacks. “Going forward, eventually you’re going to want to settle for one guy… Whatever happens, we’re just trying to make our football team the best we can be.”

Paffrath and Schultz are good friends and have a lot of respect for each other outside of football.

Brycen Christensen 2021 all areas .JPG
New London-Spicer junior cornerback Brycen Christensen watches the Royals quarterback in the red zone after snap on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, in New London.

West Central Tribune file photo

The Wildcats’ new quarterback duo have played baseball together.

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“We love to fight every day in practice for the starting job,” Paffrath said. “I want to be there (at quarterback), but what’s best for the team is what it takes.”

The Wildcats’ game plan is to win the trenches and run the ball, while making action passes when they can.

Gustafson feels his offensive line is solid. He wants this group to take advantage of an inexperienced Cathedral line.

Wildcats all-section junior Mason Delzer will lead the New London-Spicer running back pack.

Joining Delzer in the running back room is All-District senior fullback Gavin Degner, senior running back Hunter Downey and junior fullback Lucas Swenson.

Also returning to the New London-Spicer offense is senior wide receiver Brycen Christensen, who was a member of the 2021 West Central Tribune all-area football team.

Christensen had 895 yards and 14 touchdowns on 62 receptions in his youth campaign> He broke school records previously held by current NFL players Brandon and Shane Zylstra.

“He’s got a quiet route,” Paffrath said of Christensen, who is 6-foot-4. “She is very fast and can easily open up.”

The Wildcats, who made a Class AAA state tournament appearance in 2021 after going 3-5 in the regular season, will look to continue their late-season success in 2022.

“We’re looking forward to getting the season started. We’re hoping our defense will play strong against St. Cloud Cathedral and give us some scoring opportunities,” Gustafson said. “I hope a lot of people get out there and enjoy the upcoming season with the Wildcats.”

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