Fall Sports Preview: Beavers look to new head coach to continue championship tradition
Joseph Swierc rounds the corner during the Beavers’ scrimmage with Ingram.
FALLS CITY -- There is a longstanding tradition of winning in Falls City. The town has produced champions in a variety of different sports, though perhaps no program is more celebrated in Falls City than Beaver football. If you don’t believe that, wander down to a game one Friday evening. Count the number of students playing football, working the sidelines, and marching in the band. You will quickly realize that nearly every child enrolled at Falls City High School is participating.
Because Falls City loves the sport so dearly, great care had to be taken when long-time head coach and athletic director Mark Kirchhoff resigned his position for a job at Iraan High School. The Beavers needed to hire the right person. They needed someone who was just as passionate about football, and was willing to put in the work necessary to lead Falls City toward another state title. Enter Steve Marbach.
Marbach comes to Falls City from rival school Pettus, where he spent nine years with the Eagles. Marbach is excited about coaching the Beavers, and had nothing but praise for the athletes, school, and community.
“The support has just been awesome,” he said. “From the school administrators, the staff, the parents, and the community, everyone has been almost ridiculously welcoming. I love how involved everyone is.”
Bringing in a new head coach means changes are to follow, but the transition so far has been good. While Coach Travis Ehrlich will continue as the Beavers’ defensive coordinator, Marbach and Coach Damian Van Winkle will assume the play-calling duties for the offense. The Beavers will definitely do things differently on offense this season, but Marbach said his team is adapting very quickly.
“They are taking to it really well,” he said. “This is a very intelligent football team. I’m constantly impressed with how fast they pick things up.”
Marbach describes the Beavers’ new offense as “very multiple,” saying it will give opposing defenses several formations to deal with, including the option, a spread formation, and the “I.”
“We are going to be able to do a lot of different things on offense,” he said.
Marbach said his team’s greatest strength is its senior leadership.
“It all starts with Cameron [Soto] and works down from there,” he said. “Phillip [Lyssy], Jon [Swierc], Dillon [Cheatham], and all the other guys have been great. We have a great senior class.”
In terms of weakness, Marbach said it would have to be his team’s overall size, indicating the Beavers are on the “light” side. The upside to that, however, is that the team’s overall speed is “phenomenal.”
“There are a lot of fast guys on this team,” Marbach said. “Lots of guys who can make plays.”
When it comes to goals for his inaugural season in Falls City, Marbach didn’t hesitate in saying that his sights are set on the Beavers winning another state championship.
“I know all teams say that at the beginning of the year, but in reality, only about 25 really have a chance to do it,” he said. “We are among them.”
Marbach noted that several of the players on this year’s roster were part of the 2010 team that won a state title, and that they remain hungry to do it again.
“The kids embrace the challenge,” Marbach said. “Many of them know what it feels like to win a state title and they want to do it again.”
The Beavers’ non-district schedule is tough, but Marbach likes that, saying, “It will be a challenge for us every week.”
Once district play begins, the first matchup will be against Marbach’s old team -- Pettus. He knows there will be some pregame awkwardness, but also understands it will all go away rather quickly.
“Once the game starts, it’s just football,” he said. “Pettus should be a playoff team this year. They have a lot of speed. It’s definitely a huge one to open with.”
From there, the Beavers will face Runge, Louise, and Woodsboro, closing the regular season out with just four district games.
“Every game counts even more when you only play four of them,” Marbach said, underlining the importance of each game, and of the playoff implications it can have.
The Beavers open their 2012 season on the road Friday, Aug. 31, in Jourdanton. Falls City will then be in Poth on Friday, Sept. 7, and will play its home opener Friday, Sept. 14, against Stockdale. Kickoff for each game is set for 7:30 p.m.