Cardinals are looking for seniors to lead the way
Published 9:13 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2017
LEROY — The LeRoy-Ostrander football team has had some ups and downs over the past few years and the Cardinals are hoping this will finally be the year they can hold their own.
LO has its first legitimate senior class in years and the team is relishing being able to actually match up against opponents instead of being overwhelmed and undersized. This year’s senior class was the first LO class to play in the youth football tackle league as sixth graders and they said that has jump started them to stick with it in football.
LO senior running back Sean Lohuis said this year’s group of seniors have been playing together at recess on the playground since they were first graders. As they grew older, the group was able to learn some early lessons by playing in the Youth Football League in Austin.
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“It was big for us [to play in that league] and I know there’s a lot more kids playing youth football now. We were excited because we finally got to hit people,” Lohuis said. “Most of them have played since they were in sixth grade and now their careers are coming to an end. I’m hoping for the best. I’m hoping they want to put the pedal to the medal, try to win games and leave a good legacy behind.”
Two years ago, the Cardinals were so low on numbers that they had to play a season without a varsity squad. Last year they had a varsity team that composed mostly sophomores and juniors and they went 2-7 overall. This year, LO will have a quite a few upper classmen and head coach Aaron Hungerholt is banking on that pushing the team to new levels.
“Most of them have played since they were in sixth grade and now their careers are coming to an end,” Hungerholt said. “I’m hoping for the best. I’m hoping they want to put the pedal to the medal, try to win games and leave a good legacy behind.”
The LO seniors have built up a strong bond with each other over the past few years and they learned plenty of lessons while they were taking their lumps as undersized and inexperienced players. LO senior Trever Kelly said the group is looking forward to this season with a sense of optimism.
“It’s going to be a good year. We’re going all in,” Kelly said. “This is the year we’ve been waiting for.”
With so much experience, the Cardinals will likely field a more mature team this season. That could lead to a few more wins.
“I’m hoping with that senior leadership that we’ll get off to a good start,” Hungerholt said. “We’ve been lacking that in the last couple of years. These guys have been through the whole program and hopefully they’re willing to put in the time and effort to change our program around.”
The Cardinals will open their season at West Lutheran Sept. 1 and they will host Mabel-Canton Sept. 8.