WATCH: Sheyenne, MSUM start fall football practices
The Mustangs begin their 11AA State Championship defense and the Dragons look to finish games with a young squad
After back-to-back losses in the title game, Sheyenne finally got that elusive championship. Now there’s a different group leading the way, but they have the same goal.
“I was on the sidelines my freshman and sophomore years when we lost the state championship," said senior Karter Menz. "That kind of gave me a lot of motivation. I wanted to win one for the school.”
Now seniors, Sheyenne’s class of 2023 has been a part of three state championship appearances, but it’s the next one that keeps them going.
“They’ve been shown a path to success and if they can kind of add on to that and make themselves better then we’ll be in good shape,” said head coach Jeremy Newton.
They have some big shoes to fill after graduating their top performers in passing, rushing and receiving.
“I think every team bases their success on their senior class good or bad," Newton said. "Hopefully those guys can step up.”
It will have a different lineup, but Sheyenne football doesn’t plan on changing who they are.
“Especially last year, they knew we were going to run the ball, but they couldn’t stop it,” Menz said.
“We haven’t surprised anybody for years," Newton said. "We just kind of do the same stuff over and over again.”
It’s worked. The Mustangs have made the playoffs in seven of eight varsity seasons. It’s those Mustangs of the past that are still pushing this team forward.
“It’s getting redemption for people who didn’t win the state championship," said senior We won state last year, but it’s not enough for us. We’re always hungry.”
MSU Moorhead kicked off their fall practices today at Nemzek Stadium. The Dragons are set to lean on younger players after graduating 12 seniors from last year's squad.
They do return Jamestown product Tommy Falk at quarterback. He threw for nearly 3,000 yards as a freshman in 2021.
MSUM is looking to improve on last season's 5-6 record. However, it was almost a different story as four of those losses were by just six points or less.
" We have to be great down the stretch," said head coach Steve Laqua. "Some of that is making sure that we're ready for those situations. Creating some of those two-minute situations in practice and creating competitive environments."
"I think we've got a lot of guys that are hungry," Falk said. "Last season left a bad taste in our mouth. We've got a lot of guys that put in a lot of hard work over this period of time and we're ready to go."