Thursday, December 18, 2014

Exciting time for Cyclones football

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 8/25/2014

The excitement keeps building in the Ottawa High School football program.

The Cyclones have 80 players on the roster to begin the season, which is a far cry from the 40 or less a few years ago.

The excitement keeps building in the Ottawa High School football program.

The Cyclones have 80 players on the roster to begin the season, which is a far cry from the 40 or less a few years ago.

The players are working more and harder than ever.

“The kids are excited,” Ottawa coach Rob Hedrick said. “The kids have a good feeling where they are at ... what they did over the summer and the two-a-days. They put in a lot of hours. They had a long week.”

The coaches put the players through a nearly three hour practice in the afternoon, which was the second practice of the day.

The team scrimmaged on Saturday.

“There are nothing but positives,” Hedrick said. “I have been happy with everybody.”

Ottawa returns several starters on each side of the ball and 19 lettermen.

“We have a decent amount experience,” Hedrick said. “Our numbers are up. We have so much more depth at every position. We have competition at every spot. It should really help.

“The freshman-sophomore classes are talented. Freshman-sophomores were not backing down a bit.”

Hedrick said the addition of coaches to help with the younger group will help Ottawa make quicker strides.

“We have two coaches per level,” he said. “Our freshman-sophomores will be more prepared.”

Ottawa is coming off a 5-5 season where the Cyclones qualified for the playoffs for the first time in a decade. Now the program wants to take a bigger step, win in the playoffs and contend for a league title.

“We want to get to the point where 5-4 and making the playoffs is a sub-par season,” Hedrick said. “We want more.”

Ottawa has 16 seniors on the squad.

“We had a few kids that came out that had not played in awhile,” Hedrick said. “It is really good. The kids that play multiple sports learn so many more lessons. It helps them in every sport.”

Ottawa will be inexperienced at running back and defensive line spots.

“We are not sure who is going to fill those voids,” Hedrick said. “We have some good candidates. Biggest question mark is at defensive line. We have most of our other starters coming back.

“We have most of the offensive line coming back. We have a playmaker at receiver. We have our quarterback back.

“We are not game ready yet. We will prepare the best we can and go play. We are going in the right direction.”

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