Posted at: 10/15/2012 8:17 PM
Updated at: 08/26/2013 7:25 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
The Duluth East Greyhounds are glad to finally settle into a conference, but the Mississippi 8 is full of bigger, 5A schools. Seniors Chuck Schmidt and Nate Atkinson say each game is a grind.
"It's a completely different game," said Schmidt, an offensive and defensive lineman. "It's a big, physical conference. It's smash mouth football, but that's our strong suit too."
"I think it's great how it gives you experience for the playoffs, but it also beats up on you a little bit during the season," said Atkinson, also a lineman.
Head coach Joe Hietala believes his team has what it takes, they just need to execute.
"I think we're a spark here, a play there from getting our feet underneath us and being able to compete a little better with these guys," Hietala said.
This is Duluth East's first season playing in the brand new Ordean Stadium. While they enjoyed competing at PSS, the Hounds say there's nothing like having your own field to call home.
"It's amazing. As a senior I couldn't ask for anything more," Schmidt said.
"It's an awesome feeling playing in front of 3,000 people," Atkinson said.
"Absolutely incredible atmosphere on Friday nights when we play here," said Alex Toscano, East senior quarterback. "I still like Denfeld, but this is starting to feel like home, so that's nice."
But East hasn't claimed a victory in their new arena, a milestone they'd like to reach this week against Moorhead.
"We need to control the game. It's all about the clock in this game," Schmidt said. "They're big, strong, have some really good skilled position players. We're gonna win in the box."
As for the section tournament, their focus is on one aspect of their game.
"Defense. just get that defense tight," Atkinson said. "If they can't score they can't win."