By Jayson Geiser
(WAOW)- There's an all-Central Wisconsin matchup in Wisconsin Rapids tonight. That's where Assumption kicks off its season against fellow Cloverwood foe Athens. We feature both in our final edition of Countdown to Kickoff.
We start with the home team, as Assumption hasn't reached the playoffs since 2007, and its last postseason win came in 2000. That's actually when this year's coaches were actually players on the team.
The Royals return nine seniors to bolster a large group of talent, and the team thinks this is the year they can break the playoff futility.
"Our coaches were all a part of that and they give us that sense of confidence that we're doing things right and we can really, if we put in the effort, we can go all the way," said Assumption guard Nick Davis.
"Expectation wise, just go out and win every single game. That's all you can do," said quarterback Ben Smith.
"The kids are putting together some pretty good goals for the upcoming year," said head coach Riley Thomas. "They're working hard and I think there's a lot of potential here. We talk about just learning how to win and that's what they're trying to do right now."
The Royals opponent tonight is Athens which has first-hand experience where the post-season is concerned, as the Jays won their first ever playoff game last season.
And despite losing their best all-around athlete in Andy Ellenbecker, that victory gives them confidence heading into the new season.
"Just going second round of playoffs, especially being a history breaking event for us, the kids were excited," said Athens head coach Jim Dobbs. "They took a week off then hit the weights really hard. They're just extremely motivated to get after it and see what we can do with this year's team."
"It helped build our confidence a lot, build some momentum for this year," said senior linebacker Joel Mroczenski. "We've got a lot of guys coming back so we're looking forward to building on that even more."
Online Reporter- Jayson Geiser