Posted at: 09/04/2012 9:06 PM
| Updated at: 09/04/2012 10:51 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
The practice field is where winners are made. At least that's the way Proctor senior center Cody Makitalo thinks about it.
"Our theme is no wasted reps, so everything is high speed, everybody is going 100 percent," Makitalo said.
It's working so far. The Rails defeated Pine City in last Friday's season opener. Head coach Derek Parendo says they simply won the turnover battle.
"That was the name of the game, I think," Parendo said. "We had two turnovers to their none, and we were able to score on those, so that was basically the difference in the game."
This year, the Rails talent is a little more widespread. That means more players getting game experience and more threats on the field.
"We're looking at playing 18-19 different guys," Parendo said. "If we can keep the tempo up the rest and the physical fatigue won't affect us as much as some of the other teams."
Senior running back and linebacker Jack Nikko says an even playing field builds strong bonds among players.
"It brings everyone together as a team. Instead of a couple of people thinking they're all that, it's all of us working toward a common goal," Nikko said.
For this week, that common goal is to beat Hermantown in the annual Hammer game, a decades old tradition.
"It's a game that's been going on for years," Makitalo said. "The honor of playing in that game, knowing we lost it last year, we will do anything we can to get it back."
"You watch your friends and older brothers play and you just want to fill their shoes and do it right," Nikko said.
This particular game is usually a show of gritty football, and that's just how the Rails like it.