After giving the community more reason to attend its high school football games than it had for several years, can the 2011 Mifflinburg Wildcats deliver an encore?
Coach Jason Dressler believes so, and he has 10 reasons for his opinion. That is how many starters are set to return for the Wildcats, who followed back-to-back 3-7 seasons with an 8-3 campaign that included a Heartland Athletic Conference Division I championship and berth in the District 4 Class AA playoffs.
Dressler agreed that what the team accomplished this year is a step in the right direction for a program that was five years removed from its last playoff team and winning record.
"Their work ethic in the off-season is only going to help continue what they started this season. Obviously we are going to be optimisitc for them going into next season already," Dressler said.
The coach backed up his assessment by relating how his underclassmen responded after last week's loss to visiting Bloomsburg in the district quarterfinals.
"They were asking when could we watch the game film, and talked about how they wanted to get started lifting weights right away. That is the type of kids they are," Dressler said.
There were also some seniors who helped make sure that their younger teammates would have a high bar to clear in 2012.
"It is tough, but they left the season with no regrets and playing hard, and that was one thing we talked about going in," Dressler said.
"We told them we have no more scheduled games and it comes down to the game you are playing -- 'play with no regets and the best you can, play every down as hard as you can.' The senior class was able to do that. They weren't happy with the outcome of the game, but they certainly played hard and gave it their all," he said.