LAUREL — It’s been a long time since someone other than Mike Ludwig was the head man of the Laurel football program — 21 years, in fact.
But longtime Townsend coach Travis Rauh has plenty of familiarity with the Locomotives, having played at Miles City and coached on the Laurel staff more than two decades back.
“A lot of teams I recognize and a lot of coaches I know from around the area. There's been a ton of familiarity. From my time here earlier, I know a ton of people in the town," Rauh said.
It’s not like Ludwig left an empty cupboard for Rauh. There are returning starters and all-conference players that should have Laurel ready to compete for some sort of hardware.
“I think we all have high expectations of ourselves," quarterback Tanner Schwend said. "I think it makes us better when we all expect stuff out of each other. It orients us as a group much more."
“The biggest thing I want to see is week-in, week-out we prepare at a high level and then we go out and play well on Friday," Rauh said. "If we do those things, the other will take care of itself in the end."
Schwend will likely be the focal point of the Laurel offense, as he has showcased his blazing speed throughout camp and brings stability to the quarterback position.
“It's been a little difficult for him having to learn different verbiage here and there," Rauh said. "You can tell he's well equipped as a leader and knows how to command a huddle and things like that, and that's kind of what you expect out of a senior quarterback."
The Locos will open the season at home against Sidney on Aug. 25.