The Missoula Loyola Rams are coming off their most successful football season ever. Last year they were Class 'B' state champions for the first time in program history. Entering this season the guys say they haven't lost any of that hunger to win another one.
"I don't think so because we want to repeat, so I think the drive is still there,” explains senior Jake McElroy. “Last year we were that top dog. We always talk about climbing that mountain and we were at the top of the mountain last year. We want to get there again and we know what it takes and we need to work harder this year."
"After winning state... you know that feeling, we want it again just as bad,” adds senior quarterback Matt McHugh. “And I think it is harder to repeat."
"We got right back in the weight room the week after the state championship and we've been working hard,” says senior running back and safety Tony Madsen. “We feel like we've got the team to do it again."
The Rams know it won't be easy to win another one this year. They'll have to replace shoes of talented players such as Josh Janssen and Bo Hughes who went on to take scholarships at the Division One football level.
"Those guys taught us to work hard, they were great mentors in the weight room,” said Madsen. “They always pushed me.'
"There are big shoes to fill but I feel like we have the guys to fill them,” said McHugh. “We have great athletes out here and we're all working hard to fill those shoes."
"The senior leadership is great,” said McElroy. “We all love each other and we all support the younger freshman and sophomores because we know what it's like to be great and we want them to be great so it all starts with us."
"It's been real good with these kids, I'm real pleased with the leadership we've had from our senior boys out here so far this year," said Rams head coach Dan Weber.
And whether they talk about it or not, these guys aren't happy with just winning one state title. They want to get back there again this year and win another one.
"It feels really good. I mean we ordered team rings and every time you put on that ring you just think that we were the first team to ever win state and it would be cool to get another one or write back to back state champs on that ring,” explained McElroy. “So we want to continue that pride you know for the younger classmen who can continue that pride of always being that state champ."