The student news site of Hopkins High School

2015 Football season recap

Oct 29, 2015


Ruby Krietzman

The Royals offensive line prepares for a play against the Shakopee Sabers. The linemen were an integral part of the Royals’ success this season.

Before the season even started, the Royals knew they had a tough road ahead of them.

Drawing perhaps the toughest schedule in the state, the Royals started off strong, beating Coon Rapids by a score of 42-14. After the opening day win, the team’s confidence was high.

“We are really good, and if we play our game, we can dominate,” said Henry Brott, senior, on the team’s attitude after their first game.

Despite the strong start, the Royals won only once in their final seven games.

That win came at a good time for Hopkins: Homecoming. With the excitement of Homecoming festivities surrounding the school, the football team did not disappoint. In an all-around team effort, the Royals beat the Shakopee Sabers 31-7.

Aside from their two convincing victories, Hopkins failed to win any other regular season games.

The combined record of the teams the Royals lost to was 31-18, making the Royals’ record less of a disappointment than it seemed.

Heading into the playoffs, it was clear that the Royals were a better team than their record indicated. On October 16, the Rosemount Irish found just that to be true.

In the biggest upset of the 6A playoffs, Hopkins shocked the Irish by a score of 28-21. While the game left the rest of the state stunned, none of the Royal players were surprised.

“We had a great week of practice coming into the Rosemount game and a mentality of do-or-die. We knew our season was on the line. This gave us confidence because we knew we were a family and would fight together,” said Andy Aune, senior.

After defeating Rosemount, Hopkins faced the Osseo Orioles.

For the second consecutive year, however, Hopkins lost the section championship, this time to the Orioles by a score of 56-34.

Despite coming up one game short of state once again, it was a successful season for the Royals and many individual players.

Among the standouts for the Royals were quarterback Oscar Johnson, senior, who finished the regular season as the state’s overall leader in passing yards, JaMichael Ellis, senior, who finished with the third most rushing touchdowns in Class 6A, and Deyon Campbell, junior, who finished second in receiving yards in the Class.

Campbell was an explosive playmaker for Hopkins all year, contributing as a receiver, a running back, and also returning two kickoffs for touchdowns.

Receiver Alex Bowers, senior, emerged as an unexpected go-to target for Johnson. Never having caught a pass in a varsity game before this season, Bowers led the Royals in regular season receiving touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball, Aune finished third in Class 6A in total tackles. Cornerback and receiver Malik Lofton, junior, led the Class in interceptions with five.

The unsung heroes for the Royals were the five starting offensive linemen, who kept Johnson on his feet and opened up holes in the running game all year. An experienced group, the line was led by Isaac Kadoun, Dylan Drone, Ryan Greeley, and Joe Nissen, seniors. Rounding out the group was Bennett Van Dellen, junior.

“I would never have been able to put up the numbers I did this year if it weren’t for the [offensive linemen.] The offense wouldn’t have been nearly as explosive if they didn’t do such a good job protecting me,” Johnson said.

After an encouraging end to the 2015 football season, the younger players have high hopes for what is to come next year.

“My expectation for next season is to have everybody on the same mission, which is to reach the state tournament. Once we reach state, our faith will decide the outcome,” Campbell said.

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