116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
WAUKON — Mitchell Snitker has a knack for finding the football.
With six interceptions last season, the Waukon defensive back was tied for fourth in Class 2A and tops in District 4, which made him a second team all-state selection.
'Last year, something that really helped me out a lot was coaches getting us in the right defenses at the right times and people making plays around me so I can make the easier plays,' Snitker said. 'That's just early in the week, watching film, going through stuff in practices and just knowing where I am supposed to be and what the situation is.'
The 5-foot-11, 182-pound senior is one of five returning starters for an Indians' defense that allowed 14 points or fewer in six of nine games. The son of former Waukon head coach Ted Snitker, now an assistant with the Indians, Mitchell proved to be exceptionally versatile last season for every unit Waukon fielded.
In addition to his all-state defensive performance, Snitker handled kickoff duties, averaged 33.9 yards on 17 punts and even converted an extra point. He totaled 21 touchdowns via an interception return, punt return, rushing (7) and receiving (12). On offense, Snitker led the Indians with 856 rushing yards, 462 receiving yards and 12 successful two-point conversions.
'He's one of those kids that we can run him out of the backfield, we can put him in the slot,' fifth-year Waukon Coach Chad Beermann said. 'We can put him in motion. He allows us a lot of flexibility and is a really good receiver in the open field, too.'
Watch: Mitchell Snitker highlights
Snitker even threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns in two games at quarterback last season when starter Abe Schwartz was hindered by a broken thumb.
'I don't know how he makes some of the reads he makes,' Snitker said with a laugh.
Having Schwartz — one of eight returning starters on offense — back under center behind a veteran offensive line should prove vital for a Waukon team that was eliminated from playoff contention during the final week of the regular season. The 6-foot senior completed 55 percent of his passes for 1,069 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Schwartz also rushed for 115 yards and four scores.
'He's a quarterback that knows where everybody else is supposed to be and knows everybody else's assignment,' Beermann said. 'If we've got a motion that should be something else, he will recognize that as soon as anybody and question that. He's a smart kid.'
Defensive end Alex Brink and linebacker Tristan Hansmeier added 10 pounds of bulk to their respective frames, while Beermann expects big seasons from 6-foot-2 junior defensive end Michael Sweeney and senior linebacker Evan Armstead.
If Waukon is to ride its No. 6 preseason ranking into a 2A playoff bid, it will need to survive a district that includes fifth-ranked Union Community, 2016 state quarterfinalist North Fayette Valley, district favorite Cascade and Dyersville Beckman.
Waukon hosts MFL MarMac in its season opener.
'I think it is just going to be we're going to have to stay focused every week and not overlook anyone,' Snitker said.
Waukon, at a glance
Coach: Chad Beermann (5th year, 31-16; 116-92 overall)
Last year: 6-3 (missed playoffs)
Top returning letterwinners: C Colin Waters, OL Brady Sullivan, OL Chance Opperman, OL Ethan Krueger, DE Michael Sweeney, FB/LB Evan Armstead, RB/DB Mitchell Snitker, QB/DB Abe Schwartz, LB Tristan Hansmeier, DE Alex Brink, DB Jadon Johnson, OT/DT Tanner Peterson, DE/DB Isaiah Welch, C/LB Pryce Hesse, OL/LB Peyton Bieber
Key losses: WR/LB Blain Swenson, WR/DB Tanner Mathis, LB/OL Brandon Regan, DL/OL Andrew Dickson, OL/DL Carson Schwartzhoff, OL/DL Riley Wyninger, OL/LB Kyle Gordon, WR/DB Nathan Benzing, TE/LB Aaron Sherman, DB/WR Max Swartz
Key to making the playoffs: While Waukon returns 13 starters, Union Community and North Fayette Valley sustained significant losses to their playoff rosters. The Indians also will need to contend with Cascade and Dyersville Beckman, two teams primed for a move up the district standings.
Games to watch: At Cascade, Sept. 15. The winner of the district road opener for Waukon will receive a sizable early boost in the 2A-4 standings.
Aug. 25 — MFL MarMac
Sept. 1 — at New Hampton
Sept. 8 — Dyersville Beckman
Sept. 15 — at Cascade
Sept. 22 — Waterloo Columbus
Sept. 29 — at Monticello
Oct. 6 — at Union Community
Oct. 13 — Oelwein
Oct. 20 — North Fayette Valley
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