Packer football team finds leadership from seniorsPublished 4:31pm Tuesday, July 2, 2013
The high school football season doesn’t begin for another two months, but the Austin Packers have been working hard since last season ended and that hard work has put them in a good position as they continue to work out and hold practice sessions over the summer.
Austin head coach Brett Vesel said he’s seen his team grow faster and stronger over the last year.
“We’ll see how they do on the field. We’re faster so far and we’re definitely stronger,” Vesel said. “It’s unbelievable how much stronger we are and that will help us in every way.”
Four of the most active Packers are Gabe Gerstner, Elijah Dahmen, Noah Leuer and Joe Grabau, who will all be seniors in the fall.
Grabau, who started at center last season, was the smallest lineman in the Big Nine last season and he’s put on 25 pounds since then.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” he said. “It’s the same playbook and we’re just trying to perfect everything. I’m excited for this year. I think we started something good and we’re trying to pick it up and continue.”
Austin was a little undersized up front last season and it cost them in the running game and pass protection as they finished 2-7 overall. Leuer, who plays on the offensive line, said the team had no choice but to hit the weights and that’s exactly what they did.
“We worked really hard in this offseason, because we know what we did last year wasn’t on par with what we wanted to do. It was a big motivation to be bigger and stronger,” Leuer said. “If we had it our way, we’d run for three or four hundred yards a game and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Vesel is expecting the line to be a much bigger strength for the team when the season opener takes place at Faribault Aug. 30.
“Joe has worked really hard and Noah has worked really hard,” Vesel said. “They’ve put on some good weight. Joe’s looking pretty good right now and he was really our best offensive lineman last year.”
Gerstner, who played offensive line and linebacker last season, is expecting another strong workload this season. He’s been in the weight room as much as possible and is hoping the younger Packer players will catch on to the intensity the seniors are showing.
“I’m hoping to play every snap of every game. I’ll fill in wherever I’m needed,” Gerstner said. “I think the team got a lot better last year, but the record didn’t really show it. I think in the long run, we’re going to be a lot better.”
Dahmen, who played running back and linebacker last season, is hoping to make his senior year a strong one.
“The desire to win is keeping us in the weight room. We want to win some games,” he said.