BISMARCK, N.D. - The St. Mary's Saints fell short in last season's Class-AA title game at the Fargodome. The Saints appear to have the talent to be back in the Dakota Bowl again this fall.
Things are changing for the St. Mary's Saints. New School. New Field. But one thing remains the same.
"We got a new school, new field and same old coach. But we hope to be the same Saints team, being very physical, being fast and being a very good team on both sides of the football," said Dan Smrekar, St. Mary's head coach.
The Saints offense will return their all-state back field of quarterback Drew Dosch and running back Joey Heinert.
"We got a young line, but I think we are fitting well together and we can pound the rock and we can also air it out with our all state returning QB, so it should be fun," said Conor Puetz.
"Honestly, we have been playing together for a long time we have good chemistry and we can trust each other," said Hienert.
While the offense will be exciting to watch in 2019 for the Saints, the defensive side of the football for St. Mary's will have some strength in the back eight.
"You know, we started off with a scrimmage, not as hot as we wanted to, but we can definitely pick up the energy, you know, we are going to have the hardest game right off the bat and we can't make any mistakes. We just need to flow to the ball," said Joseph Preszler.
"Well, defensively we are kind of just the same thing where we are a mix of older kids and young, and we have to get better up front. We have three out of the four starting linebackers back and we have three kids back who played a lot in the secondary, and have a lot of experience. So we have a lot of good players and a lot of experience in the second and third level, but we need to be and make sure we are good up front in the first level," said Smrekar.
And with so many returners from last season, the expectations are sky high for Saint Mary's.
"We have just great expectations they look and they want to be a good football team. And they have been working hard and I anticipate that they will work hard to continue to get better. And I think they release that it doesn't matter what they did last year that this is a new year, they are a new team, and they have to go prove and show things," said Smrekar.
The Saints will open up their season Friday night against rival Fargo Shanley. The new twist to the Shanley game is the Deacons are now a Class-AAA team.