FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) The Aquin Bulldogs has an impressive string of consecutive playoff seasons end last year. but the Bulldogs are in excellent shape to get back to the postseason party this year.
Growing pains is probably the best way to describe what the Bulldogs went through last year. With new head coach Broc Kundert, Aquin went 4-5 ending a string of ten straight winning seasons.
“We lost three games by less than a touchdown which is frustrating,” says Kundert, “But we were young at that point as well. So bringing back a bunch of experience this year [with] just camp and the whole off- season, everything has been real smoothing going through everything.The second year is always easier than the first.”
The Bulldogs are just getting things started with their junior starting quarterback Will Gustafson. He rushed for 916 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.
“I’ve learned a lot with how teams play defense because we play most of the same teams as we did last year. So I’m just a lot more confident coming in this year,” says Gustafson.
“Last year we kind of felt as a sophomore he might have tried to do a little too much sometimes, but hopefully this year, we’ve got guys around him where they can make plays too,” says Kundert. “Hopefully he can just let the game give him what it gives.”
Helping Gustafson will be a handful of weapons, including senior running back Ethan Yount. He rushed for 889 yards and 9 touchdowns last season. There are also some junior receivers who could see a breakout season this year, Ty Stykel and Brennan Carlson.
“Each of them scored a couple touchdowns last year, but hopefully they take that next step along with Will,” said Kundert.
Aquin’s offensive line brings four returning starters, including senior Tyler Geiken. They’ll also be bolstering their d-line.
“All of them are going to be over 230,” says Kundert. “They’re going to be big. The thing is with 1A football, we got our whole o-line is our d-line as well. That conditioning part we’ve really worked on a lot this off season. Hopefully that’ll be something that could be a strength for us.”
“They have put in the work this summer and they’re really big and definitely dangerous,” said Stykel. “I see them as being a scary factor for other teams.”