LEWISTOWN — Entering the season of COVID-19, the Lewistown Golden Eagles are on a quest to make it five consecutive Class A football playoff appearances. For each of the past two years, the Eagles have suffered one-point losses in the playoffs, and coming up short back-to-back years isn’t lost on the seniors, especially linebacker Landon Farrar.
"It’s definitely a heart-breaker," he said. "It’s been two years in a row, and we’re really wanting to get that back. We want to push through. We want to get in the fourth quarter and keep pushing instead of breaking. We’re really excited this year to prove that."
If the playoff losses alone aren't enough, perhaps the new circumstances surrounding the 2020 season will be. Lewistown just barely made the playoffs last year, and it won’t get any easier now that Class A has shrunk to just eight postseason teams due to COVID-19. In what promises to be a tough Eastern A division, the Eagles will have to push, according to senior wide receiver and defensive back Conner Mannin.
"We all realize that we’re going to have to work way harder to get where we want to be," Mannin said. "I think everyone out here, even the underclassmen, they're out here trying to work hard on scout (defense), getting all of us better. Everyone’s motivated by that, and we’re trying to get as far as we can in the playoffs."
Head coach Vic Feller said despite the high quality of teams in the Eastern A, there’s no reason his kids can’t be right there.
"When we first went to the East, the big adjustment we knew we had to make was we had to become more physical," he said. "Football in the East is a physical game and you’ve got to be able to run the football. And I think we’re there."
The Golden Eagles also expressed that they’re grateful to be practicing at all. There’s no doubt the possibility of COVID-19 disrupting the season is at the back of their minds. But instead of a distraction, they said it just brings more fuel to practice each day like it’s their last.
Lewistown will open the season against Hardin on Sept. 11.