CEDAR RAPIDS — The last time they had a winning record in football, “Jurassic Park,” “Beverly Hills 90210” and Barney were big. Bill Clinton was just beginning his presidency.
Their head coach was a freshman in high school. The former MFL and Mar-Mac school districts were in their first full year of consolidation.
Do you know the year?
“The people up here in the MFL MarMac community aren’t really used to this,” Dan Anderson said. “It’s kind of new to them, and they’re loving it, man. They’re loving it.”
As are he, his assistant coaches and players. Everyone in the communities of Monona, Farmersburg, Luana, Marquette and McGregor loves that the Bulldogs have a 3-0 record going into their home game Friday night against Sumner-Fredericksburg.
That includes a 44-28 eye opener in Week 1 against highly touted South Winneshiek. MFL MarMac hadn’t beaten South Winn since 2007 and had been outscored in the prior nine games between the schools by a margin of 410-62.
MFL MarMac’s last three-game win streak came in 2008. It had never been ranked until this week, when The Gazette/KGYM voted it 10th in Class A.
The last time this program finished with more wins than losses in a season was (drumroll) 1993. That was 5-4.
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“Coach Anderson always says we’re not building a team, we’re building a program for years on,” said senior quarterback Cedrick Drahn. “This could really be something that is the start of something special if we can get there. Now we see more and more that the community is noticing us and our success, and that more people want to get involved.”
“When I took over the program last year, I asked the kids what they thought my number one priority was,” said Anderson, who played football for hall of famer Bill Post at Decorah and student taught for hall of famer Steve Milder at West Central. “They said to have a winning football team. I said ‘You know what, that’s actually not my number one priority.’ They kind of gave me a funny look, and I said my job is that these parents are entrusting me with their kids, and I take that role as a head coach very seriously. My number one goal is to make sure I turn these kids into young men of high integrity.”
Anderson reasoned that if he did that, success would follow, and it has. It helps that there are 12 seniors on the roster, including Drahn, an all-district guy last year.
MFL MarMac also has six guys up front with playing experience, and that’s been huge, no pun intended. Give a quick shout out to Spencer Larson, Gavin Hertrampf, Eli Johnson, Jackson Landt, Zach Howe and Jacob Trudo.
Believe it or not, Larson went from starting center last season to starting tight end this season.
“It starts with our line,” Drahn said. “Then defensively, we all do our job. The secondary has been great, our line is getting in there, and our linebackers are beating guards. We have a lot of tackles for loss early, so everyone is just doing their job.”
Kutter Anderson is MFL MarMac's leading rusher (495 yards and six touchdowns), though four different backs have rushing touchdowns. Drahn has completed 25 of 33 passes, with four of those going for TD.
“Statistically, we’re doing a lot of good things,” Coach Anderson said.
He and Kutter are no relation, by the way. The Bulldogs’ other victories came over Starmont and Jesup.
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District play begins next week against Clayton Ridge, with third-ranked Edgewood-Colesburg the favorite.
“We go in and work hard every week,” Drahn said. “We go in every Monday with a 0-0 mentality. That we have something to prove each week. As far as handling success, our grade levels on the varsity team have been successful every year since (youth football). We kind of know what it’s like to win.”
“I’m proud of the kids, the community is proud of them,” Coach Anderson said. “The big thing now is to keep level heads and worry about what is six inches in front of our face. Don’t look ahead. You’ve got a great thing going … Things are clicking. I hope we can ride this train as far as it will take us.”
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