Orion Football awards

Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic
Orion High School’s football postseason program was held Sunday, May 9, in the gym. Award winners were, from left, Quinn Hoftender, Offensive Player of the Year; Coby Schultz, Most Valuable Player; Cole Kratzberg, Special Teams Player of the Year; Maddix Moninski, Defensive Player of the Year; Luke Dunlap, varsity Scout Team Player of the Year and frosh-soph Defensive Player of the Year, and Drake Gunn, frosh-soph Offensive Player of the Year.
Zack Riddell was named Best Blocker at Orion High School’s football awards program on Sunday, May 9.

The COVID-2019 pandemic forced the postponement of the fall 2020 football season to spring 2021.

Orion football did not fare well with the change. The Chargers finished 1-5.

Varsity coach Chip Filler addressed the season during the awards program on Sunday, May 9.

Everything was in limbo, and there was a lot of uncertainty, Filler said. A lot was out of the control of players and coaches.

“The only thing we had belief in was that we were going to play,” he said. “We were not as ready as we needed to be.”

Filler said the 1-5 record was not what he wants people to remember about the spring 2021 season.

“If you believe the season was a failure, you’re missing the point of high school sports,” he said.

Normally limited to one sport at a time, some of the Chargers started football while finishing up the basketball season, and as football ended, some were beginning baseball, Filler said.

With winter ending, the football players had some practices in the gym before school, he said. They had two weeks of practice before the first game.

Filler had two first-year coaches. One was former Orion star Dylan Schultz and the other was Rock Island track coach Pharaoh Gay, who could teach players to be faster.

“Week by week everyone got a little better,” Filler said. “We couldn’t quite get to where we wanted to be.

“All of our losses were to teams that had no loss or only one,” he said. The teams that beat Orion had a combined 30-2 record.

“This was a season to learn from adversity,” Filler concluded. “We won’t be down long. We’re going to be back all the way.”

First-year sophomore coach Ian Cooper noted the short time coaches had to prepare their players. They were still preparing depth charts the day before the season-opening game.

“All we wanted was to get better from week to week,” Cooper said.

Varsity awards were presented to Coby Schultz, Most Valuable Player; Quinn Hoftender, Offensive Player of the Year; Maddix Moninski, Defensive Player of the Year; Zack Riddell, Best Blocker; Cole Kratzberg, Special Teams Player of the Year, and Luke Dunlap, Scout Team Player of the Year.

Frosh-soph awards went to Drake Gunn, Offensive Player of the Year, and Dunlap, Defensive Player of the Year.

Receiving varsity letters were seniors Schultz, Kaden Meguffy, Braydi Mascari, Carter LaBelle, Josh Fair, Hayden Lilly, Jayson Johnson and Riddell, and juniors, Hoftender, Jared Mohr, Luke Johnson, Dathan Moore, Moninski and Payton Weaver.

Also earning varsity letters were sophomores Gunn, Kameron Weaver, Blayden Murdock, Kratzberg, Conner Green, Lane Johnson, Kile Johnson, Keagan Blessman, Tyler Anderson, Kale Stropes, Quincy Perry and Gabe Masias.

Freshmen with varsity letters were Caden Mielke, Landon Gekas, Kaden Edmunds, Brody Straw, Phillip Dochterman, Nolan Loete, Seth Gardner, Cooper Holke and Dunlap.

Spirit squad members receiving varsity letters were Brooklynn Haars, Kenadi Sovey, Kristen Sovey, Nickie Kettler, Maryn Bollinger, Sarah Marshall, Rachel VanDuyne, Abbey Grems, Avery Noble, Mary Mohr, Gretchen Kerker, Sophie Selander, Hope Seys, Melaina Meisenburg, Chloe Rittenhouse, Elle Weber and Kylee Brown.

Junior varsity letters went to Braylin Crose and Katie Christensen.