Mapleton, Ore. -- Mapleton is seeing their first competitive football in 2019 at Lowell High School's preseason jamboree. After two straight 4-5 seasons, the Sailors think they have something this year.
"Well, we're definitely experienced this year," explains Mapleton head coach Eric Wolgamott. "It seems like for the past couple years, we've been younger, we've been freshmen and sophomores and now we're juniors and seniors. So, and that goes a long way with experience, you know? You have players who know the system, who have been in the system for two years now."
"...Just getting the game where we have a higher football IQ," continues junior Johnathan Neece. "We're understanding the plays and which angles need to be blocked that kind of stuff. Getting it all together."
Neece, the reigning league player of the year, is one such player to lead the charge. But knows he'll have to bring others with him.
"I'm still working on my leadership but how we want to be is humble," he says. "We definitely want to get other kids to our level. We know there's eweak links occasionally and our best option is to work them into the strongest link."
And when there's a 2000+ yard player coming back along with a multitude of returning starter, the expectations naturally get higher.
"We're experienced, we have talent coming back," Wolgamott mentions. "We think we can compete but the players have to compete. The players have to be ready each week, we can't take a week off. And we just gotta be ready for the show. You know, ready for the contact, resting their bodies. Treating their bodies right after the game, the weekend, making sure they're rested up for Tuesday because when Tuesday comes it's week 1."
And it's coming soon. T-Minus 7 days.