by Sean Giggy
STEVENS POINT (WAOW) - SPASH rolled through the Wisconsin Valley Conference last year, but more than 90 percent of the Panthers offense is gone due to graduation. That doesn't diminish expectations for 2010 because with more than 25 seniors this season, the Panthers believe they can be just as good.
"It's a new challenge each year," said SPASH head coach Pete McAdams. "I think this group of seniors has taken on that challenge well. I think they're working hard in practice, they've set some high standards and goals for themselves."
"We had a real good offseason and these first two weeks we're seeing good things, so we're just chopping away and hope it works out," said senior running back Tanner Kolbeck.
Defense will be the strong suit for the Panthers, where they return three first-team all conference performers and seven starting seniors overall.
"We really expect our defense to carry us," McAdams said. "That's pretty clear, I think, on what we need from them. Our team knows that our defense has to make some big plays for us and keep us in the ballgames."
"We've got a lot of leaders on the defense and everyone's willing to be led too," said SPASH defensive tackle Alex Wachowiak. "Our main goal is state and WVC title, so we've got the stuff."
Pacelli also has a large leadership group back for 2010. Eleven seniors return, including starting Q-B Andy Rice and running back Kelvin Stroik.
From 2006-09, the Cardinals won three straight undefeated C-W-C 8 titles, before settling for 2nd last season. With such a strong core returning, they have their sights set back at the top this fall.
"We want our kids to have goals and the goals are to win the conference and win every ballgame that we go into," said Pacelli head coach Bob Raczek. "So, if that happens then we can be back up there again."
"I think we have great potential," said Pacelli guard Jozef Wojciehoski. "I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I think we can go a long way in the season."
"Our goal is to be undefeated in conference and try our best to win conference this year," said Pacelli running back Kelvin Stroik."
Online Reporter - Sean Giggy