Bloomer, Barron (WQOW) -- The Heart O'North Conference sent five teams to the WIAA football playoffs last season, including both Bloomer and Barron.
Both the Blackhawks and Golden Bears had 5-2 records in the conference to finish in a three-way tie for second place.
Bloomer head coach John Post is beginning his tenth season leading the program. Post says Bloomer's goal this year is to be one of the top three teams in the conference, which appears to be a reasonable goal, with the Blackhawks returning plenty of regulars from last year.
"We have a nice senior group," says Post, "[our] quarterback coming back, played backup last year, he's a good quarterback, and a good leader on our team. Our line, we have some nice size with some of our boys, we're returning starters, other than one, so we have a little experience coming back."
Bloomer won Heart O'North titles in 2005 & 2011, and should be in the race once again.
"There's a lot of good teams in the Heart O'North," Post says, "we learned that last year, we had a couple teams beat us, they played nice games, and I tell our boys that we're always a team to beat, because it's a positive thing, and we strive to be in the top three."
Bloomer begins its season on Friday, August 23, with a non-conference game at defending state champ Somerset.
Barron has a new head coach. Trenton Nelson was on the Golden Bears' staff last season. He takes over for co-coaches Ken Rasmussen and Kirk Haugestuen.
Nelson says once again, the Golden Bears will rely a lot on their conditioning.
"We're truly an iron man football team," says Nelson, "we've got guys going both ways and some of the guys, I mean, sometimes we'll have eleven guys go both ways, we don't know what the situation is, so being in the weight room, conditioning, and keeping those guys healthy, that's the biggest thing."
Barron graduated some good talent, including quarterback Neil Rasmussen and wide receiver Isaiah Frandsen, but plenty of regulars return. Those veterans are embracing a leadership role this season.
"Guys, they need help doing different things," says Barron senior wide receiver/running back/defensive back Jason Balts, "different tackling, different wide receiver drills, so I help them wherever I can, try to step up."
"There's going to be some surprises this year, again," says Golden Bears tight end/linebacker Justin Doriott, "but we just gotta keep playing like it's our last day here, and hopefully we can go a long ways."
"I'm really excited," says Barron senior wide receiver/cornerback Taylor Koenig, "we've got a lot of guys stepping up, we got new guys that came in from other schools, I mean, you know, we should be just as good as we were last year."
Barron begins its season on Friday, August 23, when the Golden Bears will host Prescott.
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