FREEPORT (WREX) — The Freeport football team fell just short of the playoffs last year, finishing 4-5, with a couple of close losses that could have gone the other way. The Pretzels graduated their standout quarterback, Major Dedmond, from that team. But they have a new crop of talented athletes ready to take over the reins of the program.
“Step up a little more as leaders,” senior running back Matthew Chavers said. “Last year we had a lot of good guys but we didn’t have a lot of leaders. A lot of us seniors this year are trying to show the juniors what to do. They’re buying in so we’re just trying to be someone they can look up to so we can get to the playoffs.”
Chavers will be a big offensive threat for the Pretzels this year, and he’ll run behind a solid offensive line that looks to clear the way. The Pretzels have seen a renewed interest in the football program after last season’s success.
“More people want to play now since they saw what we did last year,” senior lineman Isaiah Walker-Batteast said. “I think our coaches and the players that have come changed the culture for us.”
Head coach Anthony Dedmond will continue to try to build that foundation this year as the Pretzels look to climb the ranks in the NIC-10.
“They believe in themselves,” Dedmond said of his players. “They believe in the system we run. And they believe in the culture. We’re blessed to have the coaches that we have here working. We have a staff that is dedicated to our athletes. We’re able to spread out across the field everywhere. We don’t have problems with the kids. Everyone is on the hop and encouraging each other. It just kind of flows through everyone else. The culture is much better.”
The Pretzels hope that culture can help lead to the team’s first playoff berth in more than a decade. Freeport starts the season on the road at Belvidere.