By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
MANKATO — The last time Trever Coxworth was interviewed about starting up the Mankato Brawlers minor league football team, he was busy trying to find players, arrange for sponsors, put together a schedule and find fields on which to compete.
The roster and sponsorship may still be works in progress, but the Brawlers appear to be a lot closer to reality than they were a few months ago. Coxworth has a schedule in place that includes 12 regular season games and up to four postseason games.
In this inaugural season of the franchise, Coxworth has opted to play at a lot of surrounding towns, often during their summer festivals, to get the word out about the team. There will be one game in Mankato on Aug. 3, against the Nebraska Lawdawgs at West High School’s Todnem Field.
“We’re excited about that one, but we’re excited about all our games,” Coxworth said. “This is real, 11-man tackle football, and I think the fans are going to enjoy the spectacle of it.”
The Brawlers have decided to compete in the United National Football League. Among the teams they will be playing are the Minnesota Silverbacks out of Burnsville, the Minot (N.D.) Oilers, the Quad City (Iowa-Illinois) Wolfpack and the Brainerd Lumberjacks.
Among the area towns they will be playing in are Mapleton for Town & Country Days (June 8), Janesville for Hay Daze (June 15), Blue Earth for Giant Days (July 13) and Wells for Kernal Days (Aug. 17).
As for the roster, Coxworth said it’s coming along. Former Minnesota State players Levi Fossen and Ray Teachout are among the athletes who have committed.
The team has an open tryout/practice on May 5, at the Mankato East field from 1 to 4 p.m. Anyone interested in playing tackle football is encouraged to attend.
Ideally, the Brawlers would like to have about 35 players to start the season. The thing about these summer teams is that they often add players in July and August who have been playing in other leagues during the spring. Coxworth said there are a group of guys playing arena football who will show up for the Brawlers after their season is over.
“There are some skeptical people out there who don’t think we’re going to get this off the ground,” Coxworth said. “But it’s going to happen, and it’s going to be good. Fans are going to get a lot more than they expect.”