CEDAR BLUFFS – Coach Tom Brinkman takes over the Cedar Bluffs football program in 2019.
Brinkman is the third different coach in the past five years for a Wildcat program which has won just 12 games over the past five seasons and last qualified for the playoffs in 2014.
Brinkman graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa in 2013 and has served as a college assistant the past six seasons, including defensive coordinator at Midland University.
“I am excited about getting back into high school football. My background is education so I am excited for the opportunity to teach,” said Brinkman.
He knows he has a big job ahead of him.
The Wildcats finished 1-7 last season due in large part to a struggling defense that surrendered more than 60 points a game, including 92 in a 92-72 loss to Pender.
The Wildcats lone win last season came against Omaha Brownell-Talbot on Aug. 31 by a score of 40-36.
The Wildcats have won just 12 games over the last five seasons and haven’t won a playoff game in 11 years.
“We are going to try and revamp the culture here. And it comes down to accountability. We have hard working guys here who want to be good. They just need some direction on how to go about doing that,” Brinkman stated.
Five starters return on the offensive side of the football while just three are back on the defensive side of the football.
The offense will be ‘centered’ around the return of 250-pound junior Brody Ptomey. Ptomey will start at center for the Wildcats.
“Brody has a great knowledge of the game as a center. He is a really good run blocker and brings us solid leadership,” said Brinkman.
The offensive and defensive lines should be areas of strength for Cedar Bluffs this season with the return of Ptomey, 225-pound junior Lane Kremlacek, 230-pound junior Gabe Anaya and 175-pound senior Ethan Schutt. All started for the Wildcats last season.
“We will have some pretty strong and physical guys up front,” said Brinkman.
Brinkman will be breaking in a new quarterback this fall.
Senior Grant Pleskac and sophomore Zephan Kluthe will be in an open competition during fall practice to see who is under center when the season opens on Aug. 30.
Senior receiver Chris Vasquez returns for the Wildcats after starting on both sides of the football in 2018. Vasquez also excels in the return game.
The defense will need to be rebuilt in 2019 and will be spearheaded by 180-pound senior linebacker Kolby Hermanson, the teams’ leading returning tackler.
Schutt and 160-pound senior Dominic Goodwin both
return after starting on the defensive side of the football a season ago.
“We are going to try and simplify things on the defensive side of the football and I think that will make a difference,” added Brinkman.
The Wildcats will open the 2019 season with a road game against Allen on Aug. 30.
The first home game of the season will come against Omaha Brownell-Talbot on Sept. 6.
The Wildcats will have four games at home in 2019 culminating with the annual rivalry game against Mead on Oct. 25.
The Raiders beat the Wildcats last season by a score of 62-20 at Mead High School.