Wauwatosa East second-year head football coach Mike Richards is trying to look on the positive side of things.
For example, last year the Red Raiders beat Delavan-Darien, 27-21, in the non-conference season opener. And then in their second Greater Metro Conference game and third game of the season on Sept. 7, they beat West Allis Central, 17-6, at Hart Park and snapped a 24-game losing streak.
They finished with a 2-6 overall record and were 1-6 in the rugged Greater Metro Conference.
"I want to build on the success from last year," Richards said. "I know we won only two games, but that's the most we've won in five years (3-6 in 2008).
"We won our first conference game in five years. I don't mean we don't want to relive the past, but build on it."
Richards is pleased with the early practices.
"I'm happy with the attitude," he said. "I pulled the seniors aside the other day at practice and said 'This is your team. This is your last shot to play football here at Tosa East, so I'm looking for you guys to be my leaders on the field.' "
Once again, Richards will have 15 seniors for the second straight year.
But numbers have been a problem for the Red Raiders and this season will be no exception. The Red Raiders program has about 50 sophomores through seniors on the team and 23 freshmen have come out.
While most teams play two-platoon football for the most part, Richards thinks he will have to play eight to nine players two ways.
"Unfortunately on our team, a lot of kids have to go both ways," he said.
As a result, the athletes are usually worn down in the second half, especially as the season gets longer. The Red Raiders have to avoid injuries, but that's easier said than done with any team.
Junior Nick Pridgeon was an honorable mention all-conference selection at outside linebacker and he will also play wide receiver this year.
Junior Jackson Telderer will be the Red Raiders quarterback, a position he took over in the second half of last year.
Richards had high praise for his field general.
"He's one of those kids where I'll make a play call sometimes and I will have the wrong formation," Richards said. "He'll say 'Coach we can't run it out of this, we have to run it out of that.' I'll go, you're right.
"He has a very high football IQ."
He will be joined on offense by Pridgeon, running backs Sully Schermerhorn and Mackenzie (Mac) James and lineman Chris Adams.
You will see the same names on defense — Schermerhorn at defensive back, Adams on the defensive line and Pridgeon at outside linebacker.
Player to watch: Quarterback Jackson Telderer, a smart signal-caller, running backs Sully Schermerhorn and Mackenzie James and wide receiver Nick Pridgeon, who also is a stud linebacker, are players to watch. Junior Christian Adams (6-3, 295) will anchor both lines, as several players will play both ways.
Date to circle: The Red Raiders play their big game in the opener Friday when they travel to Wauwatosa West. The Trojans look to avenge a 21-13 loss to the Red Raiders when they last played in 2011 at Hart Park.
We say: It could be a long year for the Red Raiders, but second-year head coach Mike Richards is hoping his 15 seniors will supply some key leadership. "I told them this is their team," Richards said. "We are a young team and the seniors are the type who will lead by example."
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