BISMARCK, N.D. - This may sound a little strange but Century was hit hard by graduation, but the Patriots return a ton of talent.
"I think you hit it right on the hear. Last year we played a lot of kids with opportunities for kids to play that we knew would be some of our starters this year and that's certainly the case," said Century Head Coach Ron Wingenbach.
Wingenbach says you should expect to see a lot from guys like Tanner Thorsness, Jacob Schweigert, Trayton Mattern, Nathan Kraft and Mason Trahan.
"Some of those guys are the guys that have seen the most playing time here the last year and in our secondary,” said Wingenbach. “We have Carter Bailey and Kaden Brennan coming back they played an awful lot of football, as well."
What those players all have in common is they're seniors. Century will rely on a junior to run the offense. Cade Feeney has been waiting in the wings.
"Last year we nursed him along because he was such a good defensive player for us and we have Jacob Olson at the helm, but this year he's going to be counted on heavily not only for his leadership but just his skill running and passing the ball," said Wingenbach.
"Feeney is a great athlete. he's got a great arm obviously, a three-sport athlete so he can pretty much do it all, run it and throw it and he's a really smart kid so he'll be good for us,” said Century Senior Treyton Mattern.
Feeney and Austin Underhill are expected to take care of the punting and kicking duties as well.
When the Patriots hand it off, the coach says they have 4-or-5 good options.
"Nathan and Mason they are probably fullback and tailback and then you have kind of a scat back with Grant so I feel we can kind of mix it up a little bit. We can power between the tackles and we should be able to get outside so it's kind of a nice combination to have,” said Wingenbach.
Up front, Century has some talent but like all team's Wingenbach wishes there was a little more depth.
"I got to say Tanner Thorsness. He's a commit to UND. He really pushes us, all of us and he pushes the younger kids. We have four senior lineman, one of our senior lineman Jayden Keller went down," said Patriots senior Mason Leingang.
Unfortunately for him, he'll miss one of the main reasons why football is so fun.
"I just love the physicality. The aggression on game nights there's nothing like it. The atmosphere at the Bowl. It's the best feeling I believe in any sport there is," said Leingang.
The Patriots will play West Fargo Sheyenne on Friday, Aug. 25.