LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) It's a sure sign that the fall sports season is arriving.
Friday night lights can not be too far away.
The first day of high school football practice arrived Tuesday.
The Central Red Raiders are coming off a very un-Red Raider like 2-7 season.
But several players who took their lumps last season are back and hopefully better for the experience.
Central returns 15 starters, 8 on offense and 7 on defense.
That's a lot of experience for a program that's looking to get back into the MVC title conversation.
"It's absolutely huge. Going into last season we only had a couple of returning players back. We played a lot of young kids and there was a lot of teaching that had to be done. We had to scale back on some things because they weren't ready for some things. So this year we feel like we can throw the whole playbook, offense and defense, at them. I'm expecting much better success this year," said head coach Tony Servais.
"It's really good (the experience level). Last year we had a ton of sophomores play, which is nice because we're all coming back this year. I feel like we're going to be high class this year with all the experience that we have playing varsity last year," said junior fullback Connor Williams.
Central will open the season at home against Eau Claire North August 21.