Season Preview: Dakota Indians
The Dakota Indians took a big step backward in 2019, going from a formidable playoff opponent with high expectations to missing the playoffs, with 2 crushing losses to former rivals renewed in the last 2 weeks of the season. Their 5 losses were all to playoff opponents, while only 5 scores separated them from 4-5, where they finished, to 7-2. Entering 2021 they will be without longtime offensive coordinator Britton Kauffman who stepped down before the school year began.
Coach Joe Free is entering his 5th year at the helm, and is looking at redeveloping his offense to better fit his personnel. The Indians bring back experience, but with limited offensive success, only returning 671 career yards. They will need to depend on the senior leadership to help lead Dakota through one of the toughest schedules in the conference as they will face 5 playoff teams from a season ago. With a good mix of youth and experience on the line, the Indians have the opportunity to show how much they have developed in the offseason.
The Indians are 27-21 in the playoffs in school history, and have collected 3 state titles at the peak of their playoff success. The Indians were slated to open up the 2021 season at Forreston, however due to COVID concerns this game has now been canceled. This will move Dakota's opening game to week 2, where they will be at home against East Dubuque. Dakota's home games will be played on Friday nights at Harlem High School in Machesney Park.
Dakota Playoff History
2005 5-0 Class 2A State Champion
2007 5-0 Class 2A State Champion
2011 5-0 Class 1A State Champion