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Byron Football: New Season, New Focus, New Motto

August 14, 2019 11:23 PM

(ABC 6 News) - New season, new focus, new motto? The Byron Bears are ready to pound the stone. 

“Every play, we're going to come at it, do our best and you'll see a team that plays hard, has fun and respects their opponents,” Head Coach Ben Halder said.

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The Bears went 6-4 last season which included going undefeated at home, but their season came to an end in the section tournament against Dover-Eyota.

However, that was last season and coming into this one the team is making sure to focus on themselves.

“When things don’t go our way, we can’t look and point fingers and blame somebody else and that’s easy to do," Halder explained. "We talked about fixing what we need to fix individually, personally because that will make everyone better. So, focusing on ourselves and doing our job.”

High school camp started Monday, but the team already knows what their biggest strength is, athleticism, and they pride themselves on their speed. 

“I mean we’re big but there are obviously bigger teams so we just gotta beat them with speed and energy," senior captain Sam Connelly said. "We’ll also have pretty good endurance this year from all the conditioning.”

The team is also finding strength in their veterans. There are 11 seniors this year and even though it's a smaller class they are still making a big impact through leading by example and picking up the younger guys. 

“I’m really happy with our senior leadership, it’s been an encouraging senior class," Halder expressed. "When somebody makes a mistake or we don’t do something how we exactly want to, our guys have been really good about helping each other out and encouraging, ‘we got it next time.’ So, it’s been a really good vibe out here.”

Besides a new team dynamic, the Bears will also be competing in a new class as they make the move from AAA (3A) to AAAA (4A).

“I mean our competition was great before, it’s going to be great again," Halder said. "We’re really looking forward to being in the new section. Obviously there will be some challenges, but I know our kids are excited about it and they’ve embraced it."

The Bears will be going up against some new competition, but really it comes down to logistics. 

"Of course they come from bigger schools, but there are 11 guys on the field though," senior captain Curt Stemper echoed. "We’ve got 11 great athletes, they’ll have 11 great athletes so I’m excited.”

Bottom line this season? Stemper added it's about giving relentless effort and never quitting. 

“It’s such a mental game as much as it is physical," Stemper said. "Keeping the intensity up and really being a team where they’re gonna be asking, ‘how are they still coming at us?’ We want to be those guys this year.”

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Jordyn Reed

Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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