Building a stadium, and building a football team aren’t all that different. It’s beautiful when you’re finished, but there’s a ton of work that goes into it that most people don’t see. That’s the approach the LeMars Bulldogs are taking this season after a 3-6 campaign in 2018.
“That’s a really good way to put it. That’s what we view ourselves as, building from the ground up, and really try to turn things around to be something everyone wants to come watch,” said QB Tate Westhoff.
The Bulldogs’ practice field is directly next door to the new stadium, which is slated to open Week Two. A constant reminder of the rewards of hard work.
“It’s a 24 hour seven day a week job. And our kids are great kids who have put a lot of work in, and we’re excited for the season,” said Head Coach Gabe Tardive. “And you’re starting to see the project coming together, and it’s kind of like a team. So we’re excited about our opportunities.”
Like any good project, you need a solid foundation. The Bulldogs foundation in 2019 starts with third-year starting quarterback Tate Westhoff, who has thrown for 24 touchdowns in the last two seasons, who should elevate Le Mar’s playmakers this year.
“I really think our skill positions and our connection with that is really great. I’m looking to get the ball out to them as fast as I can,” Westhoff said. “Because we have a lot of playmakers out there.”
“You’ll see us working to Tate’s strengths, and obviously as a three-year starter, we have high expectations for him,” said Tardive. “And he’s done a great job of leading this group and getting better every day.”
One of those returning playmakers Westhoff will be looking for is Aisea Toki, who not only will be snagging passes on offense, but had five takeaways on defense last season, a unit he says has plenty of players looking to do the same thing.
“Our middle linebackers they’re pretty physical, you know. They get around, they fly at the ball,” said Toki. “We’ve got Anthony Lamoureux at safety. He’s our fly around guy. He kind of just does everything at once.”
The foundation has been laid for the Bulldogs, but it’s up to them to make it a state of the art result, like their new stadium, but where do they feel they are in their team building compared to that new field?
“I think we’re a little ahead because the stadium is a little behind. But yeah, we’ll be ready for that first game,” Westhoff said.
While LeMars will have to wait to play on their new field, the expectation is that the wait is over for the Bulldogs on getting back to their winning ways.