Hammond, Boyceville (WQOW) -- The News 18 two-a-days continue with a couple stops in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference.
St. Croix Central finished undefeated in the DSC last year, winning the conference crown by two games. The Panthers first loss came in the playoffs, falling in the third round to Somerset. But that was last season. This year, the team knows they will have a target on their backs.
"We have to play it one game at a time, week in and week out. We can't look ahead to anybody. Every game that we play, we're going to get the best out of every team we play," says head coach Tony DiSalvo.
Quarterback Carl Moll is one of the Panthers returning starters. He says the team returns plenty of experience.
"I think expectations are definitely still high," adds Moll. "A lot of us played last year, or started last year with that group, so we still hold ourselves up high and expect to win a lot of games again this year."
This is the third season St. Croix Central has run DiSalvo's system, and the coach says the team is ahead of schedule a week and a half into camp.
"The nice thing is the kids buy in, and the young kids have had it now for two years in our junior high levels. So the learning curve is really cut down because we haven't had to do as much teaching," adds DiSalvo. "We can add more things sooner, and we feel we're a little ahead of the game this fall. So that really helps us out a lot."
The Panthers open the season August 24th against Baldwin-Wooville.
Over in Boyceville, the Bulldogs are coming off a playoff run, finishing 3-3 in the DSC and 6-4 overall. But the team is looking to improve it's third place conference finish from last year. Boyceville loses just eight seniors, but the coaches say they'll have to replace a lot of talent.
"We had some good leadership last year and the kids that were under them paid attention, and kids have jumped in pretty good. We're only returning five offensive guys and five defensive guys and we're going to expect a lot out of some juniors and sophomores," says Boyceville head coach Brian Roemhild.
Senior Will Kraft says the team has performed well in camp: "Everything is coming together real good, defense, offense we're getting our plays down. There's a lot of young players but they're getting it quick, they're just jumping in there whenever they get the chance and they're going at it."
The Bulldogs say many of the conference's teams are young this year, so the bar has been set high for the team.
"This year more than ever, I think each team has a shot going into every game. It's going to be who comes out and plays the hardest each night. Our expectations are always high, the seniors wouldn't accept anything less than that. They're going to want to come out and win every game we play," says Roemhild.
Boyceville starts the year with a non-conference game against Flambeau.
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