Osseo, Fall Creek (WQOW) -- The News 18 Sports Two-A-Days continue with stops at Osseo-Fairchild and Fall Creek.
The Thunder are coming off a 6-4 season that saw the team make the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Coach Dan Waters says his teams return 14 starters from last year's squad, which has the team confident about the upcoming season.
"They've been looking forward to this for quite awhile, obviously. A lot of these guys got a chance to contribute an awful lot last year as well. So they know what it's all about and anxious to get started," says Waters.
Adds senior RB/LB Dawson Kuehn: "We were a little disappointed in what happened last year. We felt we should have made it further. This year we have high expectations for ourselves and we're definitely trying to get deep in the playoffs this year."
Coach Waters says his team's experience has paid dividends early in practice.
"We've already seen that in the first three days. Guys know what is going on. Right now it's kind of a matter of, if we have to switch some guys around in positions and things of that sort, that's kind of what we're looking at now. How we're going to fit the pieces together," says Waters.
The Thunder will open up the season August 24th at Prentice.
In Fall Creek, the Crickets are working towards their first playoff berth since 2008. Last season the team finished 3-6 overall, but coach Mike Johnson says his current roster has plenty of on-field experience. Many off the current seniors have been playing at the varsity level the past two years, and they're hungry for their first trip to the playoffs.
"That is one of the things the guys looked at, let's get ourselves back into the playoffs," says Johnson. "It's been three years since Fall Creek has been in the playoffs, so guys are hungry for that playoff experience, to taste that for this group of seniors."
Johnson says the trip to the playoffs will be tough this year in an always tough Cloverbelt conference.
"With Colby being in three championship games in the last four years and Eau Claire Regis returns a lot of players back and Stanley-Boyd has a tough program too," adds Johnson. "So it's going to be a tough week in and week out. But guys want to make that step up and they've set some goals. And one of those is to improve from day-to-day, but every game is a challenge."
The Crickets open up the season against the defending division 5 state champions Colby Hornets.
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