BOZEMAN — After winning the 2019 Class AA state football championship the Bozeman Hawks know there’s a target on their back. But they're ready for it.
“Honestly, good. I hope they’re coming for us, because I hope that brings out the best in my team," said head coach Levi Wesche. "I really don’t think about what’s on our back, whatever. We’re focusing on getting better one day at a time. I feel like, for a lot of my kids right now, they’re feeling a little slighted anyway. It feels like a lot of the limelight has been shown on (Bozeman) Gallatin High and that’s fine, but I think we got a really solid football team here. Anything that is going to motivate my guys, I’m all about.”
As for the players, some are feeling the pressure to repeat.
“There’s a lot of pressure, but in the end, last year is old news," said senior linebacker and running back Brooks Talbot. "We got to focus on the future and what we have to work on to get back there.”
And some of the players are not.
“I think we have another championship-caliber team this year," said senior quarterback Jordan Jones. "I mean, there’s still that pressure, but everybody is going to hate us from that last year. It just puts a chip on our shoulder and gets us better.”
The offense and defense will look a bit differently this year. Jones is the new quarterback for the Hawks, replacing the graduated Jake D'Agostino.
“It’s a good feeling to finally get up there and take the role over," Jones said. "I just got to get my leadership skills dialed in and we should be just as good as last year. Our offense is a lot different this year. We were mostly a run team last year, but this year, if we dial in the offense, we could be a 50-50, 60-40 pass team.”
And on defense, the Hawks have new coordinator Justin Mobley, who is taking over for Hunter Chandler, the new Gallatin High head coach.
“We’re going to dress some things up a little bit differently and allow him to call the defense that he sees fit as long as it fits in our overall scheme," Wesche said. "It won’t be exactly the same, but it will bear some of the same resemblance of what we’ve done.”
Wesche wanted to thank parents for adjusting throughout the offseason and athletic director Mark Ator, who helped make this season happen.
“I’m very lucky to work with great people throughout, especially at time when nothing is certain,” he said.
The Hawks are scheduled to kick off their season at Billings Senior on Sept. 10.