Dakota football rejuvenated by new head coach, new playbook

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 7:56 PM CDT
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DAKOTA, Ill. (WIFR) - Once considered a top contender in Class 1A, Dakota has fallen on some hard times. But with a few new pieces, the Indians feel like they are ready to prove they’re back.

Dakota missed the postseason the last two years and went 0-2 during the COVID-shortened spring. Daniel Sheets is now in charge after being an assistant the last four years. He’s also the boys track coach. Sheets taking over has breathed new life into the program.

“Dakota, the tradition that we’ve had here, with the state titles and playoff runs, these kids want that,” said Sheets. “They’re working, and they want to have that success, they want to feel the playoffs.”

“Completely new defense, new offense from what they’re not familiar with the last few years. They’ve really picked it up like that.”

It’s also brought out a few new guys in including wrestling state champions Phoenix Blakely and Noah Wenzel. This is Wenzel’s first year playing at the high school level. He hopes to bring that championship pedigree back to the gridiron.

“Some of us were just like, it was getting to the point where we’re reaching our last few years of high school,” explained Wenzel. “So we just decided to come out for football and have some fun with it.”

“I hope the other wrestlers keep the exact same energy that they do throughout the wrestling season and bring it to the football season and help get the other kids moving.” “Coming off of the previous seasons, it definitely seems like one thing that if we end up with a winning record this year, then I would definitely feel satisfied.”

Dakota opens the season on the road at Chicago (Christ the King) on Saturday, August 27.