Posted at: 09/02/2013 8:40 PM
Updated at: 09/03/2013 10:59 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
Roster turnover is a regular part of football. But for Cook County, travel is an equal challenge. To play Duluth Marshall on Friday, the Vikings had to put in a two hour bus ride.
"The shortest trip is two hours," said Thomas Anderson, senior running back. "I mean you gotta find a way to stay focused, just not get too antsy."
In the Vikings' case, head coach Mitch Dorr thinks that time can be helpful.
"Our bus rides, a lot of people wonder how we do it," Dorr said. "But our kids don't really know anything else. Sometimes our teams have a better bond than other teams because we do spend that much time together."
On the road, nerves mix with excitement for senior Joseph Borud, who says the game night experience is indescribable.
"It's intense. You get done with school, you're headed to the bus, it's the greatest feeling," Borud said. "It's Friday night lights. It's everything you can dream it to be."
Senior running back Thomas Anderson has a shoulder injury and had to watch from the sidelines, but still takes his captaincy seriously.
"You gotta cheer them on without being able to be out there with them," Anderson said. "It's still the same, on and off the field leadership. You just gotta get them through it, get yourself through it."
Dorr says that Viking spirit stretches far beyond the sidelines.
"Where we come from in Grand Marais, football is the talk of the town," Dorr said. "We had a lady come forward with a donation of $5,000 for new football helmets. In a community our size, to have something like that is just a blessing."
And while success on the field is a priority, eventually the stadium lights will dim. The Cook County coaches want their players to leave the gridiron with some life lessons too.
"We just preach about positive relationships," Dorr said. "We talk to them about being men built for others, and the relationships they have amongst each other."