LAUREL – With three of their first four games scheduled to be on the road, the Laurel-Concord-Coleridge football team will take to the gridiron in just over a week for live competition.
Members of the LCC football team focused their summer on strength training and conditioning while participating in five-on-five leagues.
Alan Gottula will be in his fifth year with the LCC football program and enters his second year as the head coach.
Of the 34-man roster, it’s pretty heavy in the freshman class according to coach Gottula.
“So, looking down the road we can keep our numbers probably where they need to be,” said Gottula. “We bring back a lot of experience, 16 lettermen, five returning starters. So, that’s a good core from which to build.”
Coach Gottula has 43 years of coaching experience.
Joining coach Alan Gottula will be Pat Harrington, Nate Sims and Zeke Stephens which is the same staff from last season.
A solid core of seniors will be returning highlighted by running back/linebacker Sutton Ehlers an honorable-mention all-state recipient (recorded over 100 tackles last year); running back/defensive back Daniel Puppe (honorable mention all-state); lineman Kolby Kasey (honorable mention all-state); tight end/lineman Jake Rath (honorable mention all-state) and lineman/linebacker Aaron Bloom.
After starting last week with helmets only and then transitioning to shoulder pads and helmets with shorts, heat didn’t allow for the full pads to go on for LCC.
Coach Gottula mentioned the coaching staff was pleased about the execution of their drills.
“I think the biggest thing is we’ve seen some kids kind of step up into some starting roles just mostly through the fact they executed well,” Gottula mentioned. “They know what they’re supposed to be doing, now we got to get on the field and this is a great week to do it. We got to have a little more contact and we need to get a little more conditioning in and I think the weather is going to lend itself to that this week.”
Last year, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge went 6-2 in the regular season before finishing 1-1 in the playoffs. The Bears picked up a 30-26 win over Exeter-Milligan/Friend but suffered a 54-20 loss to Howells-Dodge in the second round.
The 2022 Class D1 eight-man football season will begin on Friday, August 26 at Guardian Angels Central Catholic in Beemer starting at 7 p.m. followed by a second road game at Wisner-Pilger on Friday, September 2 at 7 p.m.
Coach Gottula added the team will need to avoid injuries if they want to make a push further in the postseason.
“I think the thing that benefits us is we’ve got five kids that have been there,” Gottula added. “Have played in the playoffs and understand what it’s like to get to the second round. I think that level of leadership now can overcome a lot of things. But it’s high school football and in the smaller classes, injures is a big deal.”
The Bears again will have a good group of experienced players from which to build a competitive football team. Like coach Gottula highlighted, avoiding injury and gaining experience will be a factor in their success this season.
Complete schedule: 2022 Football Schedule
The LCC football home opener will be on Friday, September 9 at 7 p.m. welcoming in Plainview.