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Head Coach Kevin Siple is going into his third season as coach of the Grant County Braves Football team and is feeling optimistic with the off season he and his team has had.
“We have had great off seasons the past two years and are getting stronger,” Siple said.
The football team is coming off of a disappointing 1-9 2013 season. This year seems to be a different story as they are a team of 21 juniors and 12 seniors that have experience playing as underclassmen.
“This year we will be more competitive,” Siple said. “I think that we will surprise some teams.”
The team plans on switching up its offense to a more of a power, ground and pound offense with juniors Triston Wallace and Hunter Lawson, who had 550 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore, leading the way in the backfield.
“We have a lot of big kids this year so we are switching up the offense to fit our personnel,” Siple said.
Under center, at quarterback will be senior Michael Mclean. At tight end will feature Austin Schneider, an athlete with real D1 potential, Siple said.
Grant County opened its season at home against Middlesboro on Aug. 23, but the game was called when it was tied 7-7 due to lightning.
The Braves lost to Middlesboro 20-48 last year, but it was a different team on the field.
“We were pleased because it was critical for us to get off to a good start,” Siple said. “Our kids played hard against a good Middlesboro team. We felt like we had momentun when the game was stopped.”
Siple said he believes his team would have been victorious if the game had not been stopped.
The off season will be the difference for the Braves this year and Siple likes what the players have shown him so far.
“This is a group of hard-nosed, tough football players. They are very close as a team and really care about each other,” he said.
The Braves will take on rivals the Owen County Rebels on Aug. 29 at home.
“Owen County is a big game for both schools and both communities,” Siple said. “You can always throw out the records and you better be prepared for a war.”
Siple said this week he will concentrate of making the Braves forget last week’s game to focus on facing a tough Owen County team.
We will work hard on stopping the things that they do well,” he said. “The biggest part for us will be to make sure we are mentally ready for them and play this week with no distractions.”