VIDEO: Chargers football aims for top of conference
With a roster filled with returning players, the Brandon-Evansville football team is setting their sights on the top of the Pheasant Conference's South Division for the 2013 season.
In his second year as head coach, Tim Pattrin said a contingent of returning starters should make them competitive this year.
"We'd like to think we're competing for the top," Pattrin said. "With our numbers coming back and everything, we think we've got a real shot."
The Chargers' schedule for 2013 is filled with difficult teams and includes back-to-back away games against 2012 state participants. They will play at the defending nine-man champions Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley on September 27 and state qualifiers Wheaton/Herman-Norcross on October 4. They also have a home game against Ashby on September 6.
"We've got a pretty tough schedule," Pattrin said. "We think we play in the best conference in the state."
But the Chargers are confident they will improve on their 3-6 record from last season. With the entire offensive line coming back and some returning running backs with experience, the Chargers will look to the ground for offensive production this fall.
"I think we can have a great ground and pound game," Pattrin said. "We'll have a big, bruising defense."
The team will have four captains this year, including linebacker and running back Cody Lund, running back and free safety James Huisman, offensive and defensive lineman Brad Challes and tight end and defensive end Will Schroeder.
They said the team is excited to get on the field and are looking to climb the standings in 2013.
"I guess I'm excited, and hopefully we get some wins," Huisman said. "I'm looking forward to the bruises, that'll be fun."
The team spent three days a week in the weight room during the summer in preparation for the season. One opponent the Chargers are looking forward to on their schedule this season is Ashby. The goal for the players is to win enough games to earn a home playoff game in the section tournament.
"I think we're going to take it game by game, but hopefully we get a home playoff game," Schroeder said.
Pattrin said one of the Chargers who will be a key on both offense and defense this season is Lund.
"We expect big things out of him, a big, bruising back," Pattrin said.
He also expects linebackers Challes and Schroeder to benefit from their time in the weight room this summer.
"We've got a big group in the line, and we've got big backs and we've got some speed too with (Huisman)," Pattrin said.
The starting quarterback this season will be Tom Bosek.
Now that he is in his second year as head coach of the Chargers, Pattrin is expanding the number of plays the team can run. He said the team was ahead of schedule on learning the playbook at the beginning of the season, and the defense has especially grasped the new plays.
"We can expand on our playbook," Pattrin said. "We kept it pretty basic last year, and we're able to expand it this year. It's like we can take the next step in the progression of the playbook."
The plan for the Chargers' offense is to keep the ball on the ground and pick up yards with their experienced running game this year.
"It's not going to be all finesse and things like that," Pattrin said. "We're more than happy to go three yards and a cloud of dust and keep driving the ball."
The Chargers will begin the season at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 30 against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in Brandon.