LONGMONT — There are no superstars on this year’s Mead High School football team. Head coach Jason Klatt knows it. So do the Mavericks.
The Mavericks, whose football stadium is surrounded by corn fields and state highways, are committing themselves to a blue collar attitude. They’re hoping this, and a boatload of hard work, will help them weather the storm of graduating 22 seniors.
If the Mavericks are going to improve on last year’s breakout 7-2 season, they’re hoping that blue collar workmen, like senior offensive tackle Daniel Gernant, can outhustle other teams’ studs.
“It’s always hard losing a bunch of seniors, especially a really special group like they were,” Gernant said. “We just have a bunch of people working hard to step up and fill their spots and we’ve got a lot to prove. We don’t have any standout players. We’ve just got to beat teams by working hard.”
Mead scored 46 total touchdowns last season. On offense, the Mavericks return just two players in Dane Myers and Conner Anderson, who combined to score a total of five of those touchdowns. Everyone else, including 1,000-yard rusher and starting middle linebacker Kyle Couch, graduated.
Myers, a senior, will take over as the starting tailback and junior Tony Feula will replace Griffin Nelson at quarterback. The 47 freshmen out for preseason camp represent nearly half of the males in Mead’s 2018 graduating class.
While it can be difficult for any athlete to admit he may not be on the same level as his competition, Gernant said this year’s Mavericks are using their perceived absence of top-end talent as motivation.
After missing the 3A playoffs by a handful of wild card points a year ago, this year’s Mavericks have set similar goals for the 2014 season. But surpassing last year’s new benchmark, or even reaching it, won’t be easy.
“We’ll all have to work together to get through it,” Gernant said. “We’re going to have to do it as a team and the fans and parents are behind us. Everyone supporting us has been great and we’re ready to get it done.”
Though Silver Creek and Skyline are leaving the conference, Niwot, Holy Family and Frederick coming in. The Mavericks won’t get many breaks during their tough schedule in the new-look 3A Northern League. But putting together the first winning record in school history last year has built the Mavericks’ confidence.
“Success always breads success,” Klatt said. “So that was an encouraging thing and a real fun season last year. We’ve got more numbers out in the program than we’ve ever had. The success last year helps but we’re really not focusing on the scoreboard as the way to measure our success. We want to produce good young men.
“The standard of our program is not going to be lowered. We’re going to keep it high and we’re going to maximize the potential of our group and try to reach our goals.”
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