by Jayson Geiser
(WAOW) - We continue our "Countdown to Kickoff" with three schools on Thursday.
The Lakeland football team returns 16 starters from last year's team, 8 on each side of the ball. Even at positions where he loses talent, head coach Don Scharbarth has capable replacements. For instance, at running back, where the loss of 3-year starter Nathan Roy means more carries for 2nd-team all-Great Northern Conference runner Curtis Rich. Last year, the Thunderbirds made their 13th trip to the playoffs in the last 14 campaigns. However, it's their first-round loss that has them working even harder this pre-season.
Northland Pines won 8 football games back in 2005, but has managed just 6 total wins since then. That includes a 1-win campaign in 2009. This year, the Eagles continue their recent history of conference-shifting, landing in the West PAC conference in the Upper Peninsula. The guys from Eagle River are hoping for a fresh beginning and a more level playing field now that they're in a league of schools their size.
In the CWC-10 last season, a trio of teams finished atop the standings with 4-1 marks. That included Port Edwards, who's 6-3 overall record represented their first winning season since 2004. It's that taste of success that has the Blackhawks hungry for more in 2010.
Online Reporter - Jayson Geiser