No team wants to have their season end the way the Liberty Lions season did in 2011, starting off 9-0, only to lose two of their last three games, including a 35-34 heartbreaker to Arcadia in the Division III quarterfinals last November.
That surely left a bad taste in their collective mouths, especially the seniors whose last game it was.
However, spring is here and hope springs eternal for each and every high school football program, including the Lions, who are a much younger team this year than they were last year, judging by all the young faces on the field at their first spring practice on Monday.
The youth factor doesn’t seem to bother head coach Danny Filleman, who’s heading into his fifth season at the helm.
Filleman points to his upperclassmen as a source of strength for his team. He will be counting on his veterans to provide leadership and guide the freshmen and sophomores along the way.
“The kids that we have coming up are really talented,” Filleman said. “We’ve got a lot of good speed and good strength.”
Speaking of size, senior quarterback Tyler Rogers is all of 6’3″, 170 lbs., and will surely be one of the focal points on this team, as he wraps up a great career in Peoria, Ariz.
Last season, Rogers had nearly 2,500 yards passing, 30 touchdowns in the air and 10 touchdowns with his legs.
Rogers wasn’t 100 percent during the playoffs last season, which is one of the motivating factors for him this season; to have a complete season and stay healthy throughout.
“To just improve team wise, and get that ring this year,” Rogers said.
Rogers’ good friend, fellow senior and backfield mate Kyle Harms, is right in his boat as well, when it comes to winning a championship in this their final season as Lions.
“We’re all trying to work hard this offseason, so come this season we can beat the teams that beat us,” Harms said. “Just get better and win a state championship.”