KIEL — The Kiel Raiders football team will be playing on WACY tv32's first Sports Showdown game next Thursday night against Kewaunee.
The Raiders finished in the middle of the Eastern Wisconsin Conference in 2021 with a 5-5 overall record. This year, the young team is coming together as a family and doesn't fear anyone.
“We got a young team, but we’re excited for what the future holds for this season,” said Raiders senior wide receiver and linebacker Colin Gosse.
Despite only having a handful of seniors on this year's team and a lot of underclassmen, according to the team, this squad is closer than ever.
“To have a successful season we need to be able to stay together more (than last year),” said Raiders senior quarterback and linebacker Connor Faust. “I think we have a pretty close family right now. As close as I’ve been to the younger guys, a lot of guys leave them out, but I think we’re pretty close to each other and these few days, we’ve been keeping up the energy a lot.”
If you go to a Raiders practice you’ll notice that every player has a six on their back, which is a big reason the team is so close.
“We’re a true family out here,” Raiders head coach David Esswein said. “Everybody out here has got a six on their back. The reason they got a six on their back is because they have each other’s back. We protect our six and we can do that off the field, on the field, when the lights are on Friday night, we’re going to be in a good place.”
Faust admits at times the team got caught looking at opponents records last year which might have led to some losses. Third-year Head coach David Esswein just wants his team to focus on the little things.
“We got to focus on the details. It’s all about the small details,” he said. “Every single opportunity that these guys are out here, they need to take advantage of every rep. We don’t get a lot of time out here, so that’s got to be maximized at getting better at the little details that mean so much when the lights are on on Friday.”
And the motto for the program this year is 'respect all, fear none.'
“We don’t fear anybody, even superior opponents. Even the ones that may seem to be bigger, faster, stronger. As long as we trust our techniques, as long as we have the right mindset, there’s no fear when we get out there and strap up against an opponent,” said Esswein.