Like many high school teams, the Bangor Cardinals graduated many of its key players a season ago. But unlike many teams, they return a handful of starters on each side of the ball.
Bangor has five starters on offense coming back, including Andrew Piske in the backfield. On defense, they return six starters to a team that went 5-4 last season.
"We lost a lot of seniors last year so a lot of new guys coming in," said senior linebacker Wyatt McDonald. "We got a lot of athletic, physical guys too."
Head coach Rick Muellenberg begins his 15th season with the program. He said this year's team is smart and doesn't have trouble playing physical. The wild card, then, may be the team's speed.
"We don't have blazing speed but we have a lot of guys with above-average speed," Muellenberg said. "So we definitely want to take advantage of that. I think that will help us defensively more than anything."
The Cardinals will use that speed to get to the outside, but may surprise you with a pass every once in a while, said senior tight end Mitchell Douglas.
"We'll just attack you from any way we can," he said.
Bangor scrimmages against Onalaska Luther on Saturday. They open the regular season Thursday, August 22, against Melrose-Mindoro.