Minatare Indians eye a return to playoffs
     2014-08-28      By Kay Grote    editor@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Kay Grote/Gering Citizen - Minatare 2014 football squad include, front from left, Dominic Longoria, Chance McAllister, Miguel Martinez, Tyler Koke, and Marc Cinocco. Middle row from left, Gilbert Rodriquez, Amber McNees, Robert Kanniard, Yovan Perez, and Teren Barnett. Back row from left, Destin Standley, Josh Cinocco, Rome Lerma, and Kyler Lane. Not pictured are Mario Sanchez and Juan Garfio. 
Minatare head football coach JJ Ozuna is looking forward to this year’s season. With 16 players out, nearly half of them seniors, his Class D six-man squad looks to make some noise on the road and at home. With intentions of improving on last year’s 3-6 record, the Indians are also eyeing a return to the playoffs. Minatare has qualified for the post-season playoffs four consecutive years.

“I’m really pleased with our numbers,” Ozuna said last week during a practice session. “And a lot of our guys have three or four years of varsity experience. A lot of our seniors have seen playing time since they were freshmen, so we’re excited.”

Ozuna said the experience and depth that comes with numbers will be needed to get past some tough “ranch kid” teams.
“Sioux County is going to be tough. They have some key returners. And Hyannis got to the championships last year so they’ll know how to get things done. But our guys, they’ve got a really good outlook and positive attitudes on the field. They want to play for each other and for the town,” Ozuna said.

That strong core of seniors includes second year starting quarterback Tyler Koke (6-4/170), Juan Garfio (5-6/130), and Marc Cinocco (5-5/135) who both will use their speed and agility to mix things up at the running back position. Mario Sanchez (5-6/140) will handle the linebacker duties and big men Chance McAllister (6-0/200), Dominic Longoria (5-11/225), and Miguel Martinez (5-4/201) will hold the offensive and defensive lines. Other experienced starters include Josh Cinocco (5-7/150 RB/LB), and Yovan Perez (5-6/145 RB/LB).

“We have some really talented and ambitious underclassmen, too. So with a lot of depth, we will be able to give all players a breather during each game, which really helps in a six-man game,” Ozuna said.
This will be Ozuna’s second year in the head coaching position. A product of Minatare High School, Ozuna’s senior year in 2006 was the school’s last year to play an eight-man game. Ozuna went on to play four years at Peru State where he got his degree in business and his coaching endorsement. He returned to his hometown to farm and ranch.
“I’m just really happy to be back here and help these guys build the program,” Ozuna said. He is joined by assistant coaches Matt Korkow and Kyle Cotton.

Minatare opens their season at home on Friday, Sept. 5 against Spaulding-Cedar Rapids in a 1:30 p.m. match-up before hosting Wauneta-Palisade on Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. Their first road trip is to McPerson County on Sept. 19.


Minatare Indians Football

Friday, Sept. 5 Spaulding/Cedar Rapids at Home – 1:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 12 Wauneta-Palisade at Home – 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 19 at McPerson County (McPerson) – 2 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 26 at Arthur County (Arthur) – 2:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 3 Banner County at Home – 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 10 at Cody Kilgore (Cody) – 4:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 17 at Sioux County (Harrison) – 2 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 24 Hyannis at home – 7 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 1 First Round Playoff
Friday, Nov. 7 Playoff Semi-Final
Saturday, Nov. 15 Playoff Final

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