ST. CLAIR, Minn. (KEYC) — The St. Clair–Loyola co-op made a name for themselves in their first year as a combined team last season.
This year the squad plans to take what they’ve learned about joining forces and dominate on the field.
Prior to these two teams becoming one, the squads were a bit wary of competing with rather than against each other.
“I think last year we were all pretty skeptical because we didn’t know how we’d all come together, but it turned out really good. We got a lot more people out this year than last year. I think people realized that, you know, it wasn’t such a bad idea and people are having fun out here, so our numbers grew a lot,” senior safety Chase Baker said.
“I definitely think everybody’s bonded really closely since that first year. I know everybody went into this just having a pretty poor attitude about how close the teams would get and how hard it would be to get everybody together like this, but it worked out really well last year and I think now we’re closer than ever and I think that will definitely carry into the season,” senior lineman Dawson Davito said.
Through the practices and games, both teams gained teammates, but they also gained friends.
“It’s really fun because normally you don’t really get to get with another group of guys from a different place. We used to be rivals, so it’s been a fun process to get to know people that you used to compete against,” senior fullback and defensive end Garrigan Morgan said.
Once the teams bonded, they started figuring out what it would take to accomplish their goals.
“I think especially coming off of last year and the first year of co–oping, we’ve got a lot of teamwork, we know what we’re doing, I think we’ll be able to have a successful season,” senior tackle and defensive end Matthew Karst said.
“Everybody is working so hard in practice. I couldn’t be more proud, but we’ve always got to be improving constantly. It’s just a constant grind and I think everybody understands that, so I think that’s why we’re going to be pretty successful this season,” Davito said.
The team also values having a little fun at practice.
“I think it allows us to become closer to one another. We know what we’re doing more, we trust each other more than if it was just 100% serious practices,” Karst said.
“Doing the 7–on–7 stuff, that really brings us together, shows that we can have fun together and be serious together, which, I think, is a really good quality for us to have,” Morgan said.
The squad begins there 2019 campaign Friday, Aug. 30 against Medford.
“Everybody just needs to keep working hard and give it their all and leave everything out on the field every year, every game, every play,” Baker said.