BISMARCK, N.D. - Century was one of the teams to beat in the playoffs last year, and nobody did. This year, the Patriots head into the season with a little more uncertainty but you will not find a lack of excitement for what's ahead.
Century won the first state football championship in school history last year, but the Patriots return very few starters.
"I think three is the magical number. Three on offense and I think three on defense actually. I think it's two on offense and three on defense," says Ron Wingenbach, Century Head Coach.
That's not much returning starting experience.
"We knew coming into the season we'd have a lot of holes to fill. A great graduating senior class last year," says Wingenbach.
Despite having holes to fill, the Patriots believe they have talent to do so. It starts with Seth Braun and Jacob Rader.
"Everyone, even us seniors, we look to them for leadership. Having them be starters and All-Staters last year sets them apart and makes them the top level guys, and everyone looks to them for leadership and to be the best out there on the field," says Luke Little, senior OLB-WR.
The coach says up-front Braun will be helped by Philip Walter and Jace LaPray.
"I'm really excited. I think this is one of the most physical teams we've had in a while, and we're just ready to get after it," says Jacob Rader, senior RB-LB.
"We have some big boys this year for sure. Two of three returning lineman from last year which is really good to see," says Wingenbach.
Stepping into Dalton Feeney's shoes at quarterback is Jakob Olson.
"He's really matured. The time we've had him in the program as a freshman and sophomore he's grown a little bit as well. He's 5' 11", 165 but he's a very heady quarterback, makes good decision and that's what we need at this point in time," says Wingenbach.
"I'm really excited to watch Jake Olson play quarterback this year. He's really impressed me this summer, and he's just a dude," says Rader.
Wingenbach said they kept it generic during the scrimmage on both sides, by design.
"I think the one thing we wanted to establish is could we come off the ball? Could we play physical and could we tackle somebody in space? And I think we got some questions answered. We know we got some work to do," says Wingenbach.
But the real test will be Friday at Grand Forks Red River.
"I don't care how far we have to go. Just getting out on the field, it's going to be a real good time. I can't wait," says Wingenbach.
After the trip to grand Forks, the Patriots play West Fargo at home next week.