SPIRIT LAKE - The Spirit Lake football team is coming off its most successful year in school history after a 13-1 season with a runner-up finish in Class 2A to Iowa City Regina.
Coach Josh Bolluyt is ready to see what his team can do in 2012.
Bolluyt said the team returns five starters on offense and six on defense.
"I fee we have a strong team and great leadership and athletes," he said. "The kids have bought into the program. We have good numbers out and we're excited about the season."
Spirit Lake opens the 2012 campaign against in-county rival Okoboji. The Pioneers canceled their season a few months before it started due to a lack of participants in the upper grades. They kept a junior varsity schedule and are prepared to return to the varsity gridiron this season.
Okoboji went 0-9 in the 2010 season.
Bolluyt said the Indians enter the game not knowing a lot about Okoboji as the Pioneers also have a new coach.
"I see that as a positive as we're more focused on what we're running ourselves," said Bolluyt. "It helps our guys get better."
As more of a defensive coach, that bothers Bolluyt a little in not knowing what to expect.
"We're just excited to play a game," he said.
Offensively, the Indians won't change with their up-temp, no-huddle game.
"We'll continue to do some of the same things," he said. "It's fund for the team and gets a lot of kids involved in the offense."
Senior Paul Borwn returns at quarterback. Last season he rushd 88 times for 369 yards and 10 touchdowns. He completed 120 of 203 passes for 1,866 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions. Three of the top four receivers return for their senior season. Rick Maris caught 23 passes for 402 yards and six touchdowns. Bryson McCabe caught 27 passes for 357 yards and two touchdowns. Cody Poock caught 16 passes for 246 yards and six touchdowns.
The Indians did lose their top running back to graduation including Luke Kabele's 1,405 yards on 189 carries.
But others are always waiting in the wings to have their turn.