5 Aug 2018 Allspach column
SIOUX CITY – California cool quarterbacks dot the rosters of all 10 football playing schools in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
While the GPAC is oriented to the Midwest roll-up-your-sleeves and go to work philosophy -- primarily the tri-state recruiting base of Iowa-Nebraska-South Dakota – student-athlete procurement stretches from coast to coast and border to border when it comes to quarterbacks.
Granted, the GPAC’s top two quarterbacks going into the 2018 campaign, Morningside’s Trent Solsma (North Sioux City, S.D.) and Northwestern’s Tyson Kooima (Hull) are sort of salt-of-the-earth local dudes, starting QB jobs for most of the league are up for grabs and outsiders figure prominently in the reps.
At Morningside and Northwestern there’s just one backup in each program from California, while quarterbacking at Doane is pretty much local, too, although a couple Coloradoans figure to seek minutes.
Dordt returns a proven starter in Brock Lamle, who is from Blanchard, Okla., but is a transfer from Saddleback College in California.
The Defenders also have a California QB prospects from Yuba City (Tyler Reynolds) and MarkYbarra-Brandt (Fresno). Midland is Midwest-heavy at QB, but Garry Cannon hails from Chula Vista, Calif.
Concordia has two guys from Cali, Blake Culbert (Garden Grove) and Luke Lang (Brentwood), but two others from deep in the heart of Texas, are in the mix, too.
Hastings, pretty much out there in the middle of nowhere, may turn to Mark Livingston (San Juan Capistrano) or two other westerners from Colorado and Arizona.
Briar Cliff Coach Dennis Wagner is banking on at least one Californian, Brad Cagle from San Diego, to take the helm, or even Floridian Brian Scott.
Dakota Wesleyan, which must replace all-everything passer Dillon Turner, could stretch way out beyond California and gravitate to Zachary Lester, a redshirt freshman from Fairbanks, Alaska, although Harrisburg (S.D.) product Shaye Slaughter is the heir apparent.
Slaughter is the son of former South Sioux City and Briar Cliff basketball standout Shane Slaughter.
Jamestown, the newest football member of the GPAC, recruits regionally and the North Dakota school reaches into surrounding states.
The quarterback picture this season my include rangy freshman Thomas Ledford, who led his school, Spring Creek (near Elko), to Nevada’s Class 3A playoffs last fall.
#Midland University is touting a surge to GPAC prominence, not incidentally, with the addition of 2001 Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch to the Warrior coaching staff.
Crouch won the 2001 Heisman while quarterbacking the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
He’ll coach quarterbacks and the special teams at Midland working for head coach Jeff Jamrog, himself a former Husker.
Crouch becomes the second Nebraska quarterback of national prominence to work in the GPAC.
Tommie Frazier, the Heisman runner-up to Ohio State’s Eddie George in 1995, directed NU to national titles in 1994 and 1995.
Frazier was eventually hired as Doane College head coach, but the Tigers faltered to 2-8 and 1-9 records under his watch in 2005 and 2006.
#The pre-season player roster distributed by Morningside lists a whopping 85 freshmen.
Traditionally, the number will dwindle, of course, but a significant number of retainees will continue to make the program the one to beat in the GPAC.
The quarterback group at Morningside also includes non-Tri-Staters like freshmen Jake Taute (6-4, 200; Cedar Park, Texas) and Jacob Medders (6-5, 215; McDonough, Ga.) and sophomore Hunter Gaines (El Cajon, Calif.).
#Like Morningside, Midland will also field a massive roster, one that numbers 163 players.
Jamrog points out with pride that nearly 120 of his players hail from Nebraska.
#Anthony Dunn, in his second season as offensive coordinator at Doane, was the GPAC offensive player of the year in 2011.
Doane’s new head coach is Chris Bessler, who will retain duties as defensive coordinator. Bessler was an all-conference linebacker at Doane in the pre-GPAC days in the early 1990s.
#Midland defensive coordinator Tom Brinkman has put his Grinnell College degree to good use in helping revamp the recruiting system for the GPAC entry located in Fremont, Neb.
Brinkman, from Rolfe, Iowa, played his high school football at Pocahontas Area.
#After consecutive 9-2 campaigns, Doane slipped to 5-5 last season. Since knocking off Morningside 49-48 in 2014, the Tigers have suffered 55-7, 69-7 and 41-10 drubbings to the Mustangs.
Doane lost a first-round NAIA playoff contest at Eastern Oregon in 2016.
In 1972, Doane lost an NAIA Division II first-round playoff game to Missouri Southern State, which then defeated current GPAC member Northwestern in the D2 title game 21-14.
Doane, as you might already know, defeated Colorado A&M (now Colorado State) in the 1950 Bean Bowl in Scottsbluff, Neb., 14-6. The Bean Bowl was also played in 1949 with Idaho State trimming Chadron State, but faded into oblivion after two years.
Doane also defeated Central Missouri State in the Mineral Water Bowl in Excelsior Springs, Mo., in 1968.
#Dordt College sophomore David Kacmarynski now deals in harassing opposing quarterbacks rather than being one of the hunted.
In high school at Pella Christian, Kacmarynski passed for 7,167 career yards and 83 touchdowns and also rushed for nearly 2,000 yards.
He’s now a 6-2, 250-pound defensive tackle/end for the Defenders. He’s not out of place on the D-line. As a prep all-state linebacker he made 277 career tackles.
#Dordt’s pre-season roster includes 47 freshmen and University of Iowa transfer Noah Clayberg, another of the standouts Coach Joel Penner has recruited in opening a pipeline to strong programs at both Pella High and Pella Christian.
#Penner has added one of the most accomplished assistants in the small-college ranks in linebackers coach Craig McCord.
McCord will also be Penner’s quality control guy.
He coached at Pacific Lutheran for 31 years, helping that school reach NAIA national title games in 1987 (first)-91 (second)-93 (first)-94 (second) and the 1999 NCAA Division III national title.
He served as Frosty Westering’s PLC top assistant for 17 years.
Westering, who was born in Council Bluffs, began his coaching career at old Parsons College (9-0 in 1962) in Fairfield, Iowa.
He also coached six seasons at long-closed Lea College in Albert Lea, Minn., before his long tenure at Pacific Lutheran.
He’s still the all-time leader in NAIA coaching wins with 305, which also ranks ninth all-time at all divisions of college football.