Stanley, Cadott (WQOW) -- Our high school football Two-A-Days continue with stops at a couple neighboring districts along Highway 29: Cadott and Stanley-Boyd, but these two programs are many miles apart when it comes to recent history.
The Orioles went unbeaten in 2013, capping off the season with a WIAA Division 5 state championship. It won't be easy to duplicate that success this season, even though head coach Jeff Koenig welcomes back a number of key letterwinners.
"We lost ten seniors from last year's team," Koenig says, "and they were a great, great group, and we have a lot of returning players from last year's team but we have a lot of holes to fill, with the offense we run and the defense we run, we have lots of substitutes all the time, so we really need a lot of the younger guys to grasp what's going on and really step up big-time this year."
The bar's been set high at Stanley-Boyd after winning a state title, but Koenig says this year's team is a work in progress.
"We got a long way to go," says Koenig, "we really have to work on execution, our guys are playing at too slow of a pace right now, and we just have a long way to go. They have moments with some great intensity, but it's a lot of work to do. I think they're ready for the season to get going, it's just that they want to hit more than we're letting them hit, so I think it's kind of affecting our tempo and our pace."
Stanley-Boyd kicks off the season on Friday, August 22, when the Orioles will host Regis.
Down the road in Cadott, the Hornets are happy to be back at it after two years without varsity football. It'll take a team effort to keep Cadott competitive in the tough Cloverbelt Conference, much like it took a team effort to restore the football program.
"The involvement from the kids, the community, and everyone else, that's probably the biggest thing," says Hornets head coach Jeff Chrusciel, "just the excitement that's, again, it's back, they're working, it's been a long two years, so we're excited about it, we're going to give it everything we've got, teaching the fundamentals of football, making it fun for them again, it still is a game, it needs to be fun."
Cadott simply didn't have enough players to field a team when the varsity program was discontinued, but this season, the Hornets have a renewed enthusiasm for the game, thanks to having 43 players come out for football.
"That's like, almost double what we've had in the last couple years," says Cadott senior offensive lineman/linebacker Garrett Janicki, "they're a good group of freshmen that, if they stick with it, I think Cadott football will be good in the future, for sure, and this year, too."
"We're obviously not going to be the biggest team out there," says Hornets senior wide receiver/defensive back Brett McChesney, "probably we're not the most talented, it's just all about how bad you want it, and this team, Cadott football, really wants it this year."
Cadott kicks off the season on Friday, August 22, when the Hornets head to Osseo-Fairchild.
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