Tanner Cormeny

In this file photo from Aug. 22, 2019, Tanner Cormeny (32) warms up with a teammate. Cormeny returns this season to the Mohawks as a senior, after recording more than 1,000 rushing yards and 100 tackles last season.

MORAVIA — Settling the starting positions within the Moravia football team will be competitive this season.

Denny Whitlow, looking at starting his 15th season as head coach of the Mohawks, says he is signing up the most pads and helmets of his career.

“We have many kids battling for positions which should help prepare us for the season and give us depth in most positions which is something we’ve not had in years past,” Whitlow said.

Moravia were 3-6 last season — and are now three years departed from their last winning season of 9-2 in 2017.

They have some work to do, but return many big names from last year. Tanner Cormeny returns for his senior season after a 1,000 yard rushing senior campaign that resulted in 14 touchdowns for the Mohawks. On the other side of the ball, he tallied more than 100 tackles en route to an all-district selection.

Slotted this year as a tight-end and linebacker, who Tanner Cormeny will receive passes from was still to be decided at practice.

Whitlow said junior Kaleb Templeton and sophomore Gage Hanes are battling for the position.

Wil Martin, who graduated after last season, threw most of the passes for the Mohawks though both Templeton and Hanes took some snaps.

“The players have come in with good attitudes and ready to work to get better every day,” Whitlow said. “As they say, iron sharpens iron, and I think the competition we are seeing in practice will help us get ready for the season.”

Moravia will see a different schedule this year than in year’s past — and not just because of COVID-19. They are scheduled to start at home against New London and English Valleys in weeks one and two.

The biggest test is believed to be in week five against Montezuma, who returns Eddie. Burgess after a 2,900 yard passing season that included 1,000 rushing yards and 70 total touchdowns.

“I feel confident we have a team this season that can compete with any team that we play and can make a strong showing in the play-offs,” Whitlow said.

Elsewhere in the district, the Twin Cedars Sabers struggled last season with a 1-9 year, but return quarterback Dallas Clark for his junior season.

The team also returns three rushers who each ran for more than 250 yards last season: Brayden DenBurger, Kade Dunkin and Levi Messamaker. Dunkin was also Clark’s top target last year, with 51 catches for 536 yards, and was the team’s top tackler.

They get a tough start to the year, opening with Montezuma.

Kyle Ocker is the group editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the first vice president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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