The North Boone Vikings and their head coach, Ryan Kelley, are hoping to get back to five-hundred in the win column, this season. Last year, the Vikings finished just 3-6 overall on the gridiron.

Kelley, who is entering his third season as the Vikings’ head coach, saw his career record drop to 8-10. This season, Kelley is hopeful that North Boone can develop some consistency in the program.

“We need to become a more consistent football team every day in order to compete in the Big Northern Conference,” Kelley shared, late in the offseason. That is easier said than done, however.

“It will be a competitive conference, as always.” Kelley shared, adding, “There are a lot of great players and coaches across the conference.”

North Boone has some great players of their own coming back for 2023. The good news for the third-year head coach is that while he gains his own experience, he goes into this season with perhaps his most experienced squad, as the Vikings return a majority of their starters from last year.

A trio of All-Conference seniors are back in wide receiver-linebacker Chris Doetch, wide receiver-linebacker Julian Rodriguez and linebacker Gabe Quintana. Joining them are seven other returning starters.

The Vikings look to be strong up-front, on both sides of the ball. Three seniors are back along the line of scrimmage in: Dominick Rayas, Hunter Chamberlain and Joe Adolph. Jimmy Elsworth also returns as a starting defensive lineman, for his senior year. Patrick McCarty, a junior offensive and defensive lineman, is yet another returning starter up front.

Experience means a lot on the football field, but it can really make a difference at the line of scrimmage. The Vikings should have one of the more experienced fronts in the conference.

The Vikings also return a couple of players in specialty positions. Senior running back-linebacker Connor McKibben and senior linebacker Jack Christensen are both back after starting last season.

Although the Vikings return a number of reliable starters, they will need some development if they want to find success in 2023. Kelley acknowledged both sides, saying, “We have quite a few guys that have solid varsity experience who are returning.”

However, the third-year coach added, “We need to replace some key players lost to graduation and we need guys to continue to develop and fill in areas of need.”

Some of those newcomers who need to step up include junior wide receiver-defensive back RJ Wolski, and a pair of sophomores in wide receiver-defensive end Bradley Dahl and wide receiver-defensive back Azriel Dixon.

This year, the Vikings open the 2023 season on the road as they travel to face off with Oregon on Friday, Aug. 25. In week two, the Vikings kick off their first home game of the season as they host Genoa-Kingston on Friday, Sept. 1.

Full schedule:

-Week 1: Aug. 25 @ Oregon

-Week 2: Sept. 1 vs. Genoa-Kingston

-Week 3: Sept. 8 vs. Winnebago

-Week 4: Sept. 15 @ Byron

-Week 5: Sept. 22 vs. Stillman Valley (Homecoming)

-Week 6: Sept. 29 @ Rock Falls

-Week 7: Oct. 7 @ Rockford Lutheran

-Week 8: Oct. 13 vs. Rockford Christian (Senior Night)

-Week 9: Oct. 20 @ Dixon

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