Posted at: 08/13/2012 5:54 PM
| Updated at: 08/14/2012 10:59 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
For the Hermantown Hawks, building success begins on the first day of practice. It's a day senior quarterback Kevin Folman has been looking forward to for months.
"It feels good. It's been a long summer and kept us hungry from last year," Folman said.
Last season, Hermantown's undefeated run ended with a section final loss to Bemidji. But with returning talent mixed with some new blood, the Hawks think their main goal, a section title, is within reach.
"There's always things to build on, always things you can do to get better," said Mitch Hiner, Hermantown senior halfback/linebacker. "This year, what we can do better is get to the state tournament."
Hiner knows his team has the skills, but there's something else they need.
"If we can get the chemistry going, the score, our record, that will all take care of itself," Hiner said,
Head coach Daryl Illikainen says having minimal injuries is equally important.
"Tthat's key. You have to keep the kids healthy for the end of the year to be your best," he said.
As the reigning conference champions, Illikainen says the Hawks face some outside pressure to repeat.
"When you have success, there's gonna be that stress whether you're 0-8 or 8-0. Its no different," Illikainen said. "People are going to expect that win."
But the players say no matter what, they have support on the sidelines and in the stands.
"We're playing for the school," Hiner said. "We're hawks. We want to play for Hermantown. The students, that's the pressure. But it's good pressure."
"The numbers and the community spirit we have in Hermantown, That really makes the difference," Folman said.