Forreston-The Cardinals haven't had a losing season since 1999. They've made the playoffs 15 of the last 18 years. But each season it seems there's some team standing in their way. Last year it was State Champion Lena-Wislow that knocked off the Cards in the first round of the playoffs.
"Since I've been here we've been trying to get Dakota. Trying to get Lena. Hopefully one of these years it's going to be our turn," says Forreston coach Denny Diduch.
The Cardinals have the personnel and the experience to take a crack at being the big dogs this year. Start with returning quarterback Robert DeVries, a dangerous runner who's developed a terrific passing touch.
"I want to throw the ball a little better in bigger games," says DeVries. "I felt like I struggled through that, and this year help us win some more football games. We're going to be a lot more experience this year. We return a lot of seniors."
DeVries has some tall receivers to throw to, but Forreston's bread-and-butter will again be the ground attack. Max Barkalow will lead a group of runners that includes speedy Aaron Shelton and fullback Spencer Cruthis. He rushed for more than 800 yards last season. All-Stater Aidan Carr is back to anchor both lines.
"This year one of our strong suits is going to be our line," says lineman Brady Bronkema. "We've got a lot of returning guys, and some new guys filling in, so the expectation should be good."
In all Forreston has six starters returning on offense and seven on defense. Maybe this will be the year the Cardinals don't have to take a backseat to anyone on the NUIC.
"We think we're right on the cusp here," says Diduch