HAVANA (Heart of Illinois ABC) – Havana football will be young this fall. The Ducks only have two seniors on second-year head coach Matt Leng’s roster, but it’s a challenge they’re up for.
“It will be a lot of Ironman football, a lot of kids will be playing back and forth,” Leng said. “We do a great job of persistence and grinding and I just tell these guys to embrace the grinding, keep working hard and they just do whatever I ask and I think the team comes together on the right time. . “
The number of seniors may be low, but Havana is also looking to the future. Leng says there are currently 20 freshmen in the program, which will provide great depth for a team with playoff goals.
“I always expect the best from us,” said quarterback Jason Cruise. “I would love to come back to the playoffs, it was a crazy experience. I think we can do it this year in particular.”
Like any team with a small number of seniors, the Ducks will have their challenges, but it’s something they’re used to and something they’re ready for because they’re excited to get back in the game.
“It feels good,” said junior linebacker Dane Olson. “It has been a fairly short offseason, however. It was a bit difficult, but it’s just another challenge that we have to tackle.”
Veteran leadership will be paramount for Havana this year and that means they are ready for everyone to step into leadership roles, regardless of your age.
“It’s not just the seniors,” said senior running back Dylan Valderrama. “I mean, heck, freshmen could be leaders for other freshmen. Dane, he’s a junior and he’s one of the greatest leaders we have.”
Havana opens the season with a rivalry match against Lewistown on August 27.