Lakeview coach Kurt Frenzen has a message for Viking fans and observers of the program. He and his team travel to Geneva on Friday to open 2019 the same way they opened 2018, in a contest with Fillmore Central.
But if expectations are along the lines of last year's 55-0 Lakeview win, Frenzen is borrowing a line from Lee Corso: "Not so fast my friend."
"They've got nine starters back on offense and defense, both, and they return four starters on the offensive line and pretty much their whole backfield. They're experienced. I feel like they're going to be a much improved team," Frenzen said. "If you watch our film from last year, they turned the ball over inside the 20 four times."
That may initially sound like coach speak, but entering his 19th year leading the program, Frenzen understands just how volatile results can be from one year to another. Granted, if the nine Fillmore guys who return are the same nine guys who went 1-8 last year, there seems to be little cause for concern.
But Frenzen points to the actual play in the game.
Lakeview amassed just 282 yards of offense with 55 points. Four fumbles meant four short fields and had the Vikings up 21-0 through the first 12 minutes.
Additionally, take a look at the scoring chart. It's littered with the names Jacob Frenzen, Cadge Janssen and Jaden Johnson, none of whom are on the roster any longer.
"If you watch that film from last year, the score looks pretty lopsided," coach Frenzen said. "But I don't know if that tells the whole story."
You have free articles remaining.
There are also many questions to answer for a Lakeview team that returns four of its five starting offensive lineman and has a similar situation on the defensive front. Skill positions will mostly be filled with up-and-comers looking to make a name for themselves.
If there's one thing that looks dependable, it's at the line of scrimmage. Experience there should allow new backs and receivers to emerge over time.
"For us, we're going to lean on them. Whether it's running the ball or passing the ball, we're going to call plays that allow our offensive line to excel," Frenzen said. "That's where our experience is, that's where our best players are coming back, so to speak. We're going to lean on those guys, at least earlier in the year.
"We feel like we have some talented younger guys, but they might need some time to settle in and find some chemistry."
That being the case, the goal for Week 1 is execution, limiting mistakes and winning the turnover battle.
"If we could get to plus three in the turnover ration, I think that would be huge for us," Frenzen said. "First time out, I think that would be a huge goal for us to achieve. And not make huge mistakes. Make them earn everything that they get."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.