Young Eagles look to rely on effort

Despite its 0-2 start in a pair of nonconference games this season, Cashton football coach Jered Hemmersbach likes what he sees from a young Eagle team that is willing to put in the effort to improve.
Add to that the fact that five key players who missed time in the early season due to injury will return in time for Cashton’s Scenic Bluffs Conference opener at Hillsboro Friday night, and the Eagle gridders have plenty to be optimistic about.
“Effort – that’s what we hang our hat on,” said Hemmersbach.
“We can’t control the size and speed of our opponents, but we can control our effort,” he continued. “Good things will happen when you play with effort.’
Effort is exactly what Hemmersbach saw from an Eagle team in a 41-19 season-opening loss to Ridge and Valley powerhouse Ithaca and last week’s 34-6 defeat at the hands of Onalaska Luther.
“Our effort was there and, at the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for,” offered Hemmersbach.
Coming off a season that saw Cashton post a 2-7 overall record and a 2-4 mark in SBC action, the Eagles return just six letter winners – including seniors Brady Butzler, Garrett Olson and Ben Wendland and juniors Ty Costello, Brett Butzler and Kole Ripley.
While the number of returning letter winners is low, Hemmersbach said he’s been getting the most out of that group of team leaders.
“This is a close-knit group of boys who hang out together and do things together,” he said. “They don’t point fingers. They come to work and they work hard.”
While leadership is a strength for  the Eagle gridders, inexperience at the varsity level may be their biggest weakness.
Hemmerbach said Cashton lacks experience with game speed, but he’s already seeing improvement in that area over the first two games.
“I think it will get better as the season goes on. Right now we’re reacting instead of just playing,” he said.
With a young team on his hands, Hemmersbach looks to consistent improvement as his top goal this season.
“Out No. 1 goal is to improve every week – we set that early one,” he said. “Second is to make the playoffs – this group wants to win a playoff game.”
Bangor is looking for its fourth straight conference championship this season and Hemmersbach believes the Cardinals are once again the team to beat in the SBC race.
“Bangor is the cream of the crop, but after that, I think everyone is compatible. It should be a fun, great season and I think anybody can win on any given night,” he predicted.
“It’s wide open and I think if we can get some things rolling we can be right up there,” Hemmersbach concluded. “I believe we’re a good football team  - we just have to play a complete game.
Cashton opens its 2017 SBC season on the road Friday night with a 7 p.m. game at Hillsboro.

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