HS Football Preview: Southland up for the challenge of a tough schedule

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(ABC 6 News) — Nothing is going to come easy for the Southland Rebels football team. Their first two games of the year are against Leroy-Ostrander, the defending 9-man champs, and Lanesboro, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs.

The team says knowing those tough tasks come early on the schedule has allowed them to hunker down more in practice.

"Looking at those and wanting to play those games just to see where we’re at, right?" head coach J.J. Galle said. "And maybe take a shot at getting a win. We play the game to see if we could potentially win, to play the game to see where we’re at as a team together. That’s the fun part of sports."

Southland’s team has a large number of underclassmen that are facing stiff competition. Only three seniors are returning, but the captains are certain these young men have a spark yet.

"Tyson Stevens, he’s got great footwork, he’s speedy, he’s got great hands, runs great routes and I’m just excited to see what he can do this year," Rebels offensive/defensive lineman Travis Kirtz said.

"We’re very inspired, we have a lot of energy on this team and we’re ready to get to work," Issac Felten said. "We want to get back at these guys."

Cornerback turned quarterback Noah Bauer is one of those young players, the rebels believe have a real chance to shine.

"He really gets on you about stuff to get us going and hype us up." Felten said.

"He’s a great athlete, he can move, he’s shifty," Kirtz said. "He’s got a great arm, he’s got a great ball and he can pretty much do anything on the field."

Certain lessons can only be taught when a team has its back against the wall. Coach Galle says he hopes by the end of this season he sees a more hardened rebels team ready to face even more tests on the road to success.

"It’s easy to keep playing when things are going really well, but where you really find the grittier team is where you have to fight through some adversity and it’s a huge life lesson for the kids which is why we’ve been talking about we do it as a team every single second."

Southland’s matchup with Leroy-Ostrander will take place at home at 7 pm on September 2.