By Jon Swisher-Sports Director:
The 2014 high school football season gets underway today for teams around the state with the official start of practice. Three of our eleven area coverage schools have new head coaches to start the new campaign. At Beckman, Jim Derr was promoted to take over the program after being an assistant and head sophomore coach there for the past several seasons. Derr takes over for Gregg Hammann who resigned late last month to spend more time with his family. Justin Penner has come back to the area for his third head coaching position with Western Dubuque. The Dubuque University graduate and former Beckman Blazer assistant in the early 2000′s filled the Bobcats void when Brian Kuhle stepped down after 4 seasons in early June to take the Activities Director and Assistant Principal position at Dubuque Hempstead. Penner has been a head coach for 9 seasons, the first five at class 2A Carroll Kuemper and the last four at 4A Mason City, he has a coaching mark of 47-47. At East Buchanan, assistant coach Jerry Alden is the new head man replacing Cory Quail who resigned in early March. Alden is the Buccaneers 4th head coach in 4 seasons. Next Friday the 22nd will see most of the area schools in action, featured in scrimmages against other teams or the traditional intrasquad setting. The first high school football games of the season around the state are Thursday, August 28th, with all the area teams and the remaining majority of schools kicking off Friday, August 29th.