REMSEN, IOWA (KCAU) – Remsen St. Mary’s football were like a shot out of a cannon throughout last season. Though it’s almost an entirely different supporting cast in 2023, the Hawks hope to soar back to the top of the Class 8-man circuit.

The Hawks finished 2022 with an unblemished 13-0 record, capping it off with its second State championship in the last four seasons. RSM graduated arguably the most decorated senior class we’ve seen, a group who finished their football careers with a 42-4 record while scoring the most team touchdowns (108) and offensive TDs (96) of any class in Iowa.

Turning the page to this season, it’s a new-look Hawks squad. Taking the quarterback role from Kirkwood CC baseball talent Cael Ortmann is junior Landon Waldschmitt, a tall task with big shoes to fill after Ortmann threw for 1,902 pass yards with 49 total touchdowns, a mark tied for fourth in the State. Junior Brady Koenck shares high standards to live up to at the running back spot following a 20 TD season on the ground from senior Brenden Fisch. Mix in a 24.8 yards per catch from top graduating receiver Ryan Willman, it creates a lot of work cut out for the Hawks this fall.

Yet, this year’s crew sees it as an opportunity to step up and continue the program’s legacy.

“We feel pretty good. Obviously coming off last year, we lost quite a bit. So, everybody knows they’ve got to step up and the seniors have got to lead and juniors have got to lead, too. We’re going to be there and hopefully prove everybody wrong this year,” Remsen St. Mary’s junior quarterback/defensive back Landon Waldschmitt said.

“It was fostered not just with them, but with the groups in front of them. So, they were even able to build in to what it meant to be a great champion and to be a great leader, so they were able to show this next group what it was. Their legacy is simply going to be not only filling in for the group in front of them, but for showing this group behind them,” Remsen St. Mary’s head coach Tim Osterman said.

RSM has been the standard for 8-man football program teams in Iowa, as the hawks only lost four games in four seasons. Similarly, they averaged 57 points per game last season, winning every game by at least 22 points. For a team that’s been the favorite in recent history, it’s a different lens in 2023 as some feel that is no longer the case.

But it’s that unfamiliar underdog territory that RSM has decided in which to fully embrace, rather than shy away.

“We hear it every year. As soon as the senior class leaves, we hear how they were the whole team. But, you’ve got to keep building, keeping working hard, and keep doing what we do,” Waldschmitt said.

“We were always the overdogs, we were always on top of the preseason whenever I started. But this year, we’re getting some doubts and I like that. I like the competition that we’re going to have. We have a new district this year, we have some new faces. But, we just have got to focus on that first week,” Remsen St. Mary’s senior offensive guard/defensive end Hunter Pick said.

“I think with every group, even the group we’ve had the last couple of years, we try to view ourselves in the bottom of the mountain just like anybody else. We’re on a developmental track and we’re on a learning track so we want to make sure that they pay attention to all of the little stuff and all of the little details and tune everybody else out and just concentrate on ourselves and build up the best team that we can build,” Osterman said.

Remsen St. Mary’s opens up its title defense hosting Harris-Lake Park for its season and home opener on Aug. 25th.