South Sioux City returns seven starters on offense and defense, including four of their five offensive lineman. The Cards know games are won in the trenches.
"The physical level with these kids are there," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "Scrappy is the best way I would describe this team. I'd take a team like that any year. It's the kind of kids you want to be around."
"They're always the key," senior Karter Keefer added. "That's the heart of the offensive and defense. If you don't have them, you can't play the game."
"Should be an aggressive team," senior Lane Bernstrauch continued. "Be able to stop some big teams, like Gretna. Hopefully get them."
Gone are quarterback Scott Manley and wide receiver Nate Rodgers, who combined to pass and catch for more than 1,000 yards and connect for 17 scores, while re-writing the Nebraska Class B and school records at South Sioux. The Cardinals are still looking for their starting QB.
"We have a good competition going between Lane Bernstrauch and Jake Schmidt. We'll have to see how that plays out," LaFleur said. "If they aren't at quarterback, they'll probably see the field somewhere else, as well."
On defense, South Sioux's leading tackler Karter Keefer returns, along with linebacker Alic Fischer, and defensive end Ryan Littlegeorge. To be successful, the Cards are planning on making it easy on themselves.
"Stick to the simple plays, that we know and execute them as well as we can," Keefer said."Not do anything fancy and win some games."
With 10 seniors leading the way, the Cardinals don't just want to make the postseason, they want to make a run at a state title.
"Getting in is not enough. Obviously, that's a step in the right direction," LaFleur said. "They were close to being able to do that last year, but it's just a game here or there to get a home field advantage or not. The bar has been raised."
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