SHERRARD -- After suffering through the struggles of the 2015 prep football season, the Sherrard Tigers are determined to secure different results in 2016.
Ready to leave behind the baggage of an 11-game losing streak, third-year coach Brian Adams' club has shown it is willing to do the dirty work to raise the program from the mire of last year's winless finish.
"You know, this group, they have some confidence, they work their butts off and like to push each other," said Adams. "They don't like to be beat up or shown up, which is a great quality to have. We've had good senior leadership so far, and the juniors are also stepping up and leading, which has been a great thing to see.
"With our conference (the Three Rivers Mississippi Division), which is very physical, we've got OK size, so we have to work on our motor running at 100 percent all the time and refusing to give up, playing with a chip on our shoulder."
Bolstering the Tigers' hopes this fall is the return of nine two-way starters, a group led by such senior standouts as quarterback/linebacker Isaac Boraas and running back/linebacker Luke Kissner, alongside returning all-conference seniors Billy McAtee in the backfield and secondary and lineman Cordell Lenz.
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Additionally, comments regarding their team floating around the social media sphere have given Sherrard some extra logs for their motivational fire.
"There's been a lot of talk from opposing schools about our kids, which we've posted in our locker room and weight room,'' Adams stated. "They heard all last year and off-season about how bad they were, and that's really fueled them. Like I said, these seniors are very competitive, and don't like to get beat."
However, the Tigers' early schedule will provide its share of challenges. After opening at home against reigning TRAC Rock Division co-champion and Class 1A quarterfinalist Orion, Sherrard welcomes former Aledo coach Cullen Welter and his 3A quarterfinalists from Monticello to Clifford King Field for Week 2. The Tigers then open league play against Erie-Prophetstown.
"That'll kind of show our kids where they're at," said Adams. "The biggest improvements tend to come from Week 1 to Week 2, and in our case, Week 2 to Week 3. Hopefully we'll start playing with a little bit of swagger by then."