The Forest City football team is ready for a fresh start.
After going 0-9 each of the past two seasons, the Indians are hoping this is the season they can put a couple of dents in the win column.
In the past two years, Forest City was a senior-heavy team. Usually, a team with a high level of upperclassmen should see some success. But due to a combination of injuries and poor attitudes, the team went winless both years.
This season, they are looking to turn it around. Head coach Chad Moore knows it will be a slow process and there most likely will be growing pains.
“This group had a lot of success at the younger level,” Moore said. “We’re trying to grow them slowly, concentrate on the fundamentals and playing the game right. We know we’ve got some time to build and learn. That has really been our emphasis this offseason.”
For the seniors, this is a crucial year. The Indians have not been winners since October 14, 2016 and the players are eager to end that streak quickly.
“We want to get a few wins, at least,” senior Jonathan Warren said. “We want to win really bad. It’ll be our last season and putting together a few wins is at the top of the list.”
To get to that point, the players have taken it upon themselves to change the culture of the football program. This means more fun, more team activities and more group hangouts off the field. But on the field too, the coach and the older players are putting a big emphasis on getting more done at practice, but also trying to keep the atmosphere light.
The weight of several years of losing is heavy and the players are ready to be rid of it.
“This year, we’ve had a bunch of sports get-togethers and practicing with no pads,” senior Kristian Gunderson said. “Just kind of a fun time and trying to get different plays in. Also, just these few weeks of school, we’ve been getting better, getting faster, trying to pick up the intensity more.”
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After losing so many older players to graduation the past few seasons, the Indians are a very young team. With so much inexperience all over the field, Moore is leaning on his small group of upperclassmen to set the tone, and be leaders on the field.
“The players have done a really good job of buying into the leadership things we teach, of the culture, being good teammates, all that stuff,” Moore said. “Being selfless players, so I think it’s things we’ve talked about, and goals that we’ve set, and its things that they’ve worked at, they’re trying to pursue, and they want. They want to see change.”
On the field, the Indians are smaller than they have been in the past. That means the passing game will see plenty of action this season.
“Since I’ve been here, Forest City has really put an emphasis on passing. That’s because that is the type of athletes we have. We typically aren’t blessed with a lot of big bulky strong guys where we can line up and go toe to toe with people.
We’ve got to try to utilize the athletes we have. A lot of times, the quick pass game and the intermediate pass game has been our strength.”
The Indians have a very young offensive line and while that might mean some struggles this year, Moore is excited about what the group could become down the line.
“I’m really excited about the potential of our offensive line in another year or so as they grow through this year,” Moore said. “We don’t hardly have any seniors over there. We know that will be a challenge, but it’s exciting that we’ve got a couple years of experience that will be coming in there.”
No matter what happens, Moore wants to see his team grow and show progress. Hopefully, they can have some fun this time around.
“It is tough to win in Iowa high school football with young guys,” Moore said. “If we are competitive, and we pay attention to our details and are competitive for 9 weeks, I’ll be really pleased with that. But usually, if you do stuff like that, wins will come your way.”
Forest City lost their week one matchup against Estherville Lincoln Central by a score of 26-12. The Indians next game will be at home on September 6, against Spirit Lake.