MULLEN, Neb. (KNOP) - After an undefeated regular season in 2018, and a defeat in the state championship game, the Mullen Broncos are eager to return.
The Broncos lost in the state championship game in 2018. They look to return to Memorial Stadium in 2019 (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV)
"We definitely have that championship mentality, we want to get back again. Realizing that other teams are going to want that too, that just makes us want to even more," said senior fullback and linebacker Riley Kessler.
The challenge for the Broncos in returning to the championship game is replacing last year's seniors.
"We had a really strong senior class last year. We lost a bunch of starters, a bunch of playing time, but we're looking to build on that. We've got kids that have been waiting their chance the last couple years, and now is their time to play," said first year head coach Wade Marsh, who was an assistant coach for the Broncos last season.
The two biggest holes for the Broncos are at quarterback and running back, where they have to replace Brady Gracey and Lane Edis, respectively. Last season, Gracey passed for over 1,000 yards, and Edis had over 3,000 all-purpose yards.
According to Marsh, the plan is to have a committee at running back to start the season, and junior quarterback Brendon Walker will lead the offense.
"It's tough to replace them guys. They were a good majority of who helped us get to that championship game. A bunch of these guys, they're young, and they're going to figure it out. We've got some young running backs that are doing really well, a young quarterback, he's going to be a really good athlete," said senior lineman Clayton Hassett.
Marsh also expects young guys on the team to step up.
"We have a couple sophomores we're working in there that played JV last year, so we're wanting to get them caught up to speed and just make sure we're all on the same page, so come August 30th we're ready to roll," Marsh said.
With just over a week until the regular season starts, the Broncos have been working hard to get ready for opening night.
"These guys come out everyday, they work their butts off, and they're ready to go prove themselves," Hassett said.
"We've just been working out a lot more, and been looking forward to getting back out here on the field, and working our butts off everyday," Kessler said.
The Broncos will start their quest for a fourth straight undefeated season on Aug. 30, when they visit Hemingford.
Mullen 2019 Schedule
Aug. 30: @Hemingford
Sep. 6: v Anselmo-Merna
Sep. 13: v Garden County
Sep. 27: @Brady
Oct. 4: v Medicine Valley
Oct. 10: @Sandhills/Thedford
Oct. 18: v Maxwell
Oct. 24: @Paxton