PECATONICA (WREX) — The Durand-Pecatonica co-op returns this year looking to build off the success of last season. The Rivermen made some strides, winning three games after managing just one win the previous season.
After last season ended, the players made a renewed commitment to working hard to try to reach their goal of making the playoffs this year.
“The boys, from last November on, have put in a lot more time and effort in the weight room and the conditioning program this summer,” head coach Tyler Hoffman said. “Just the competition outside of two-a-days and the summer have been a lot more intense than it has the past couple of years.”
The seniors have taken notice. They want that hard work to pay off in the form of more wins on Friday nights this season.
“It’s looking great,” senior Mason Manning said. “This is about the third year of the co-op. This is the most competitive group of guys we’ve had since the start of the co-op.”
The NUIC is perhaps the toughest small-school conference in the state. The league consistently produces state champions, and has a few teams make deep playoff runs while knocking each other out of the postseason. So making a playoff push while going through the rigors of the NUIC schedule is a challenge for any program.
“We’re finally realizing what it takes to be a winning team in the NUIC,” senior lineman Blake Bury said. “It’s a lot of hard work. And we’re bringing a lot of drive to it. A lot of energy. We can’t just come in expecting to win. We have to come in expecting a fight and be ready to battle.”
The Rivermen will be ready for battle in their season-opener at home against Amboy. That game will take place in Durand.