Dakota Football Preview

Scott Leber previews the Dakota Indians
Dakota, Illinois-Even the great football programs can have a down year. But they don't stay down for long. That's what the Dakota Indians are hoping for this year.

Last year the Indians were 4-5. It was their first losing season since 1995. Their string of 14 straight playoff seasons was snapped. That's not what this school with it's proud tradition is accustomed to.

"It's left a really bad taste in our mouth," says tightened/linebacker Steve Regez. "We don't like to lose. No one likes to lose, so we've really pushed it in the offseason."

"It made them mad," says Dakota coach Jerry Lano. "You could tell by the attendance in the weight room during the winter and summer. they got that feeling in their stomach. They got embarrasssed by a couple teams. They were upset."

Lano is confident the Indians will bounce back.

"We've got an experienced group. We're gong to definitely be better than last year."

Dakota football isn't pretty.  There's a lot of sweat and pounding. Physical play is what they take pride in here. And it should become this team's identity.

"He's (Lano) pushing us extremely hard this year," says Regez. "We're going to be in great shape."

Dakota should get better play at quarterback now that Austin Cashman has one year under his belt. Travis Kortemier and Drew Truckenmiller will also play big roles on offense. But the foundation of the offense and the defense will be the big bodies up front.

"We've got a big line," says Lano. "That's probably our strength. We're big and strong up front."

Brett Willing and Austin Steinke are the biggest of the bigs going well over 250 and 350 pounds. Dakota could simply run over teams. And the defense should also be stout.

"Our biggest fault last year on defense was not being aggressive," says Lano. "That comes with confidence. Our defense is going to be a lot better than last year."
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