The Sioux City East Black Raiders made it to the playoffs every year from 2009 to 2015, but they haven’t been back since, something the team is eager to get back to in 2019.
“We’ve been working really hard, we’re confident we’ll get it done against anyone really,” said Black Raiders senior wide receiver and defensive back Gabe Wagner. “And we’re confident we’ll make the playoffs.”
But the end of the year is a long ways away, and the Raiders are trying to focus on each individual day.
“I think the biggest thing is focusing on today, right here, right now,” said Black Raiders head coach Brian Webb. “We can’t control tomorrow and we can’t control what happened yesterday. That day’s gone. But right here, right now, what’s practice gonna be like? Are gonna leave here getting better or are we gonna leave here getting worse?”
“We go hard in practice we go hard in games,” said Black Raiders offensive lineman Blake Wiederhold. “I expect my team to give it everything they’ve got in practice and in games no matter what. And I expect us to g as far as we possibly can go.”
The Raiders quest for the playoffs begins with their rival, Bishop Heelan, who beat East 44-0 to open the season last year. So you can guess what’s on the minds of this year’s Raiders squad with their opener so close.
“This week has really been focused on Heelan, obviously,” said Webb. “We’re getting ready for them. It’s gonna be a challenge. Can we win the game? Yeah we can, but we have to be able to execute. And we can’t get out hustled. And if Heelan out-efforts us it might be a tough game. We have to bring it to them.”
“Obviously it gives us a lot of motivation,” said Wiederhold. “We just know it’s an important game for us and it’s an important game for them too. So both teams are gonna be at their best, and the best team is gonna win.”
Players and coaches have been breaking the huddles with chants of “beat Heelan” this week. The first of many streaks they hope are broken this fall.