Football is only one night away for a couple area schools, but Friday night will serve up as the main course. As a yearly tradition, the Eau Claire and La Crosse teams play to start the season. FOX 25/48’s Erin O’Brien has more from the Central Red Raiders and the Logan Rangers.
After a 41-27 loss to Eau Claire North last year, the Central Red Raiders say their twenty returning players will make a stronger team this year. “Last year was just so young, and inexperienced. We only had one returning starter the previous year. This year we’ve got 15. So it makes a huge difference in terms of getting ready for this game. Eau Claire North shows a lot of formations, a lot of shifting, a lot of motion, which hopefully our defense is ready for this year unlike last year.”
“I think it’s going to be a tough game. Definitely we’re going to come out a lot tougher than we did last year. We’re a lot further than we were last year and hopefully it’ll be a good game.”
And on the other side of town, the Logan high school Red Rangers will take on a different rivalry, as they play the Eau Claire Memorial Old Abes. “We saw them on film and they look very big and very physical, and they’ve got a nice O line and a really good runningback, and just should be a really good physical fight for us.”
The Rangers beat Memorial last year, 28-21, and they hope to win again this Friday with their nine returning players. “Well Eau Claire Memorial’s going to be a pretty tough opponent but we know we got a lot of good guys here too, and we’re going to be coming out at them hard and they’re going to be coming out at us hard. It’s going to be a good game.”
Both teams look forward to this non-conference rivalry each year. “It’s really good that we’re playing against each other, all of us coaches get along.”
“It’s good for both communities, I think. Just to have a little bit of a rivalry, a little bit of bragging rights.” In La Crosse, Erin O’Brien, FOX 25/48 News at Nine.
The teams in Eau Claire are also looking fordwad to Friday night’s matchups. Eau Claire Memorial wasn’t able to contain Logan’s high powered offense last season, but that’s what they’re preparing for this week. The Old Abes have lost some valuable members of its team from last year, but Paul Kling is excited for the young guys to step up early on. “It’s always interesting to start the year because it’s a new team. We always say it’s once in a lifetime every season because this group of kids will never be together again after this season. It’s always fun to see what kids step up, and what they’ve done to work hard, to get themselves in this position.”
And as far as Eau Claire North is concerned, their victory over central was one of very few bright spots in 20-14. The Huskies found success on the ground and through the air as quarterback Adam Larock was a part of three first half but North knows it will be another good battle this time around. “Any time we start the year, we want to play well right off the bat. La Crosse Central is a very, very good football team. They had a very good scrimmage, they’re fast and physical off the football. Our kids know that it’s going to be a tremendous challenge for us and we’re going to need to play well that first Friday night.”