BELT — The Belt Huskies are coming off a perfect season that resulted in their first state title since 1994, but the celebration is over and it’s time for them to to look ahead at trying to bring home another one.
The road to the top is never an easy one, but it does not get any easier after painting a target on your back. Being a defending state champion comes with a season full of unspoken rivalries as every team sets out to destroy the top dog.
“Everyone is going to be gunning for Belt,” said coach Matt Triplett. “The main thing is to stay humble, stay hungry, and keeping working hard. Take it one game at a time.”
“We’re focusing on ourselves. We have to acknowledge that there’s a target on our back but really it’s just all about us. One step at a time,” said senior Reese Paulson.
Paulson has played both sides of the ball every year, including being the backup quarterback. Now entering into his senior year, the starting role has opened up and he has made that easy transition into becoming the starter. Triplett explained that Paulson has been groomed for this position since he was a freshman, and the coaching staff knew that he would be the guy by the time his senior year came around.
That takes care of the signal-calling spot, but after losing seven seniors there are still other slots to fill. The defense that only allowed 84 points throughout the duration of the season will be returning majority of their secondary, but needs replacements for that defensive line and those linebacker positions.
“I think we need to build a little more team chemistry. We obviously lost a couple of seniors last year so we got some guys that got to step up this year,” said senior J.D. Shepard.
With all the new changes to the team, they have adopted the mindset of “don’t get complacent,” as Paulson explained. They feel like they are in square one and need to to work as if they have not earned anything yet.
“We’re defending state champs, we are not state champs anymore,” added Triplett. “That was last years team. We have to get better as a team and we have to prove what we can do this year.”