After working more than a year to build a new football program, the Sierra Lutheran High School Falcons are prepared to take flight into their inaugural season.
Sierra Lutheran, playing Division IV 8-man football, opens tonight with a 6 p.m. non-league game at Tonopah. For coach Jacob Schumacher and the Falcons, this has been a long-awaited date after they played a limited schedule of scrimmages in 2014.
“By comparison, we’re light years ahead of where we were last year as far as the kids understanding the game,” said Schumacher. “I’m really excited to see what we do.”
Oh, by the way, this team is going to travel for every game this season while a new field is constructed at the school.
Even though this is pretty much the first football experience for all 26 players on the roster — two seniors, seven juniors, six sophomores and 11 freshmen — the Falcons have some athletic talent.
Start with the team’s five co-captains: Cole Contreras, a junior running back/defensive back; Cameron Drudge, a senior running back/defensive back; Zach Ferenz, a senior offensive guard/inside linebacker; Jake Cummings, a junior wide receiver/outside linebacker/punter; and Peyton Hedwall, a 6-3, 220-pound sophomore lineman.
Ferenz and Drudge are the team’s only two seniors. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Ferenz is coming off a successful track and field season in which he was a top-four place finisher in the high jump (5-8), shot put (41-foot season best) and discus (129-1). Drudge also plays basketball plus he placed at the state track meet in the 800. Contreras placed second in the 400 (season best 54.97) at the state track meet.
Schumacher also describes Hedwall as “kind of the director of our offensive line.” Hedwall and Cummings both play basketball for Sierra Lutheran.
The Falcons impressed at least one opposing coach last Saturday during a league scrimmage in Virginia City.
“I’m really impressed with Sierra Lutheran. They sure are a lot different than last year,” said Coleville coach Will Sandy, whose squad was one of three teams who faced the Falcons in 2014. “They have some tough games early in the season, but I think they’re going to surprise a lot of people this year.”
That type of improvement was part of the process Schumacher spoke of last year. No doubt, he looked forward to the challenge of coaching a new program.
“This is an opportunity very few coaches get to do, to start a program from the ground up,” he explained in August 2014. “And being a Christian school, starting it the right way is a very essential, so I take a lot of pride in this. I want to make sure we do our playing on the field and people know that we are Christians, that we are competitive, and we want to win.”