2023 Pigskin Preview: LeRoy-Ostrander knows what they can and can’t control

The Cardinals went 2-7 last season.

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(ABC 6 News) — For the LeRoy-Ostrander Cardinals, 2023 is about proving last season was just a stretch of bad luck.

Following their first-ever State Championship win in 2021, injuries played a major factor in 2022’s 2-7 campaign, with starting quarterback Layne Bird and wide receiver Tristan Lewinson among those who got hurt long-term.

While this year’s Cardinals are heavy on underclassmen, the team feels it will be able to get the most out of its youth despite only two seniors on the roster.

“I think that with every negativity there comes a blessing too,” Cardinals head coach Trevor Carrier said. “And last year with all the injuries, it got a lot of these kids prepared. We played a lot of sophomores, a lot of freshmen both ways. But we feel that we have one of the best kids in each class. We prepare well as a group, we lift extremely hard, we think we’re ready to go. Again, my leaders are young, so we’ll see.”

LeRoy-Ostrander plays in one of the most competitive districts in 9-Man football, as noted by the fact that the Section 1 winner has reached the State Championship game 10 out of 13 times since 2010. To stay ahead of the crowd, a strong offense will be required.

The dual-threat skills of junior QB Camden Hungerholt will help as he threw for 1,260 yards and 11 touchdowns. When it came to the run game, Hungerholt bolted for 1,016 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“I think Carrier really got me ready, he got me prepared for that position,” Hungerholt noted. “I had a great line, my receivers made the plays that they needed to. And I just went out there and tried my best, make the best play for the team.”

Defensively, the Cardinals need to make their tackles count, especially after missing quite a handful in 2022 as junior wideout/linebacker Carter Sweeney admits.

“Tackling was a big one last year, I think Peyton (Roe) last year led our team with (104) tackles, a lot of those he missed which had to be filled up with other people. So tackling would be a big one.”

LeRoy-Ostrander’s season opener is 7 p.m. this Friday at Westbrook-Walnut Grove.