LEWISTOWN — Last season has nothing to do with the upcoming season, and that’s the way the defending Class A state champions are approaching the new year.
Despite graduating a key group, the Golden Eagles still have strong veteran leadership with 17 seniors on the roster, 12 of which are returning starters to a program that won its first championship in 21 long seasons. Among those seniors is Big Sandy transfer Wylee Snapp, who will be lining up as a tight end for Lewistown this year.
Snapp, who won a 6-Man title with Big Sandy last year, adds more championship experience and brings more energy to a squad that already has high expectations.
“It’s a good place to be when your expectations are high. These kids understand that it’s even harder to stay on top than it is to get there. They’ve put in some hard work this summer and just taking the day by day approach to continue to get better and better and better,” said head coach Derek Lear.
The quarterback this year will be junior Dash Ruff. Filling that role on a team that went undefeated the year before comes with pressure, but Dash is confident he can get the job done and has his focus set on how he can help lead the Eagles to another deep playoff run.
“Go as far as we can. We’ll take it one game at a time but last year doesn’t mean anything anymore,” said Ruff. “Everyone is 0-0 at the beginning of the season.”
Entering into his third year as head of the program with a state title already under his belt, Lear has figured out what it takes to succeed in Class A football. Lear firmly believes that you can “get stuck on the big picture of winning a state title” but the work that comes before the glory is what will get you there.
“My big thing is win the day. Just the day by day approach. Win the day,” said Lear. “If you don’t take care of Week 1 and don’t take care of two-a-day practices you’re never going to get there.”
The road to what the Eagles hope is a second straight championship begins in East Helena on Friday as the Golden Eagles visit the Vigilantes. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.