On the Bench with Byron Higgin

The quarterback

Going into this football season, the quarterback position was wide open. The Minneota Vikings have had a long list of stellar athletes who manned the important position at the helm of the team. Now, we know one thing for sure.

The job was wide open when the season began. The two candidates for the job are Kade Lozinski, a sophomore who was the backup to Thomas Hennen last year and the one who directed the Minneota JV. The other is freshman Isaac Pohlen, younger brother of former Minneota quarterback Alex Pohlen.

The younger Pohlen has yet to take a snap in a varsity game. Lozinski’s have come only in a mop-up role the past year. Coach Chad Johnston said last week Lozinski may have the edge because he has a little more experience. Both have strong arms — but both are struggling to fit into the Viking offense.

“We may have a lot of wildcat,” Coach Johnston joked. Wildcat is directly snapping the ball to the running back. With the likes of Cole Sanow back from a 1,000-plus season plus Blake Reiss and others to run the ball, it appears Minneota may start the season as a running team.

But, whichever player emerges to lead the team, it’s likely they’re going to need a little time to become comfortable with the offense. I recall Alex Pohlen telling me once that during his four-year stint as Viking quarterback, a time in which he and the Vikings were 50-1 with three state championships, he was hit only seven times. “I had good protection,” said Alex Pohlen.

This year, the new quarterback lines up behind an entirely new line with faces like center Cole Myhre and linemen Jackson Esping, Beau Banish, Josh Citterman, Logan Sussner and others. The Sussner name is familiar and Banish played one-way last year.

But Coach Johnston has yet to see if Banish has the durability to play both ways. There are a lot of interesting questions yet to be answered.

Some of those questions may or may not be answered Saturday when the Vikings scrimmage at Tracy. Teams at the scrimmage include Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, Dawson-Boyd, Pipestone, Springfield and Yellow Medicine East. The scrimmage begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday for both varsity and JV teams.

Minneota’s young squad probably needs this warm-up more than any Viking team as they head toward a Thursday, August 28 opener at Tracy.

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