Expectations are high at Winona State for the 2018 season. The Warriors are coming off just their 6th 10-win season in school history, and were ranked as high as Number 10 in the nation. However, Head Coach Tom Sawyer says none of that matters now.
"I told the guys we got to flush what happened," Sawyer said. "That was last year’s team and we feel like we should even be better this year."
Sawyer has coached the Warriors for 22 seasons, and says this group is among the best he’s ever been around.
"This set of guys is a motivated group in everything that we do," he said. "This group is like ‘ok, we need to work to achieve.’ So it’s probably as good as I’ve seen for a long time.
The Warriors return three dynamic offensive weapons, including top receiver Isaiah Frandsen, and the backfield duo of Javian Roebuck and Eric Berth. With a team that hardworking and talented, expectations are sky high this year for the Warriors. They were picked to finish 2nd in the NSIC Preseason Coaches Poll, and they are not shying away from those expectations.
" [The] expectation is to get back to the playoffs again and fight for that championship," said Eric Birth, a native of Winona and Winona Senior High School alum. "We all want that same thing. We all want to get that national championship. There’s nobody that thinks they’re better than a different person, we’re all out here working together as a team."
Their road back to playoffs starts on August 30th at Wayne State College, and Sawyer knows the road to a championship all starts there.
"The expectation is to win [the game against Wayne State]," he said. "I don’t care what it looks like. It’s all we talk about now. And the rest doesn’t matter if you don’t win the first one, so it’s very important to us."