MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Starting Monday, the Minnesota State High School League gave football and volleyball the green light for team practices ahead of their seasons, which are expected to begin in the spring.
“Everybody’s ready. I mean, if we had a game tomorrow, everybody would be ready," Mankato West senior running back Owen Johnson said
“I think we are very ready to go," Mankato East left tackle and defensive tackle Eli Olson said.
These athletes are champing at the bit for a season kickoff, but as things stand right now, they’ll have to be patient.
“We’ve got to take every practice seriously. Got to have fun too while you’re at it. I mean, you’ll never know how many practices you’ll get," Johnson said.
On the first day of team practices, the Scarlets are getting a look at what their new roster might look like.
“We lost Jack Foster. You know, bigm big loss for us. But, I mean, these kids: Riley Bersaw, Zander [Dittbenner], Ethan Bartell even, going to be a sophomore; they’ve been throwing the ball a lot. We ran routes probably like three times a week maybe. They’re ready. Great athletes. Our senior class is really small, but we have some key players, like me, Wyatt [Wettergren], Jackson Bruning, Max Goertzen.”
On the other side of town, Mankato East tore up the turf.
Olson says the squad is coming off of its best off-season in his career with the Cougars.
“It’s obviously kind of a bummer because it’s easy to put your whole offseason into the fall and then it gets pushed back. But, I think everyone’s just kind of happy that we can be around the guys and keep throwing footballs around, keep running plays and stuff just to have something to look forward to," Olson said
When it is time to gear up for the season, East will boast a young team.
“We’re going to be a little younger, we graduated a lot of seniors last year. We’re bringing a lot of juniors that are really fast and strong and they’re just ready to get after it. I think we’ve would’ve been really good this year. We would’ve contended pretty well in the Big 9," Olson said.
Squads will have until Oct. 3 to get their reps in.