The Bertha-Hewitt Bears' 2015 football season began on Friday, August 7, when 31 football players picked up equipment and met the coaching staff comprised of head coach Rick Harig, defensive coordinator Mark Frethem and special teams coach Steve Pauly.
The Bears return seniors Jordan Frethem, Zachary Mousseau, Charlie Nienaber, Alex Copa, CJ Baumgartner, Bruce Gerads and Cory Bertram.
Joining them will be seven juniors including Cody Brown, Ethan Kimber, Jerry Lamb, Austin Mattson, Raphael Ortiz, Cameron Powell and Zack Waln.
The Bears are also counting on 17 sophomores and freshmen to fight for playing time.
"We just graduated 14 seniors, so we have to replace a lot of varsity experience," stated Harig. "We are going to lean heavily on a JV group that has gone 9-1 the last two years."
Bertha-Hewitt hosts Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley this Saturday (August 22) to open the season. The rest of the Bears' schedule is made up of home games with Hancock, Verndale and Hillcrest Lutheran Academy; along with road trips to Rothsay, Park Christian of Moorhead, Laporte and Underwood.
Harig believes that the top spot in Section 4 will be a dogfight between Underwood, Wheaton and Brandon-Evansville, but that Verndale and CGB will also be competitive.
The Bears' outlook for 2015 is to improve throughout the year and build toward late season success.
"The guys have set a goal to continue their success at the varsity level," Harig said. "They understand playing in our new district and Section 4 is going to be tough, but they have welcomed the challenge."