Durand, Mondovi (WQOW) -- Long-time local rivals Durand and Mondovi look to contend this season in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference.
The Panthers won the DSC last season, winning all six of their conference games. Durand did graduate ten seniors from that team, but the Panthers return four starters on each side of the ball.
"Hopefully, we're healthy," says Durand head coach Rod Rosemeyer, "with the low numbers we have we're going to have to keep guys healthy, lot of guys are going to play both ways, if we can stay healthy we can finish in the top half of the conference and you know, if we get a few breaks, hopefully we're right there at the end playing for a conference championship."
The Panthers have some talented guys in the backfield returning for 2017. Rosemeyer wants to establish the run, first, but is also looking for balance on offense.
"We've got Josh Biesterveld back in the backfield, we've got Karter Kurth back in the backfield so we're going to rely on those two guys to carry the ball for us and get a lot of yards on the ground for us," Rosemeyer says, "we're hoping our passing game will be a little more of an impact for us on offense."
"I'm the exception to that but as a team we have some serious speed," says Durand senior lineman Kyle Abramason, "our backs are insanely fast, we've got a couple state-qualifying track people, our backs are going to be able to burn by people."
Durand kicks off the season on Friday, August 18, when the Panthers visit defending Division 4 state champion St. Croix Central.
Mondovi is preparing for a new season with a new head coach, as Craig Loscheider takes over for Mike Sinz, who is now at Eau Claire Memorial. Loscheider has been an assistant coach at the high school and college level in the Milwaukee area.
"The challenge to me is just not being from here, and having to get to know the kids and get to know the town in a short time," Loscheider says, "but everything's been positive, people here have been really good. The challenge is developing relationships with the kids and feeling like, this is, that we're a team that trusts each other, and you know, plays together."
Loscheider says the Buffaloes will be more diverse this season on offense.
"We're going to spread the ball around a little bit, we're going to have more wideouts in the mix," Loscheider says, "whether that helps us or not it kind of remains to be seen, but it's going to look, it's going to be a different look for Mondovi football."
"We're just trying to motivate the young kids to do the best they can," says Mondovi senior lineman Ben Larson, "we're always trying to help coach them and being with Coach Lo here, all new, he's just, I think he's happy that we all kind of know the kids, and coming from a small school."
Mondovi kicks off the season on Thursday, August 17, when the Buffaloes will host Eleva-Strum.