GRAETTINGER - A new sharing agreement, new colors, a new mascot and a new coach will provide a fresh start for the Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire Titans.
Todd Hough takes the reins from Karlton Hector this season. The son of long-time Graettinger coach Rod Hough heads this year's squad as the team travels to Marcus to take on Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn for the season opener tonight.
The Eagles posted a 4-6 record in Class A last season and start their first year of eight-man football.
"We've improved a lot since day one," said Hough. "But we need a game to kind of tell where we're at."
Hough said the Eagles return 12 seniors from last year's squad.
"They have a good quarterback and one receiver returning that's about 6-2," he said. "They have some big guys up front, so we'll have our hands full."
Hough said the Titans will return to a quick-huddle offense while keeping some plays from last year and adding some new ones.
"Defensively we'll do some different things, but be pretty much the same," he said.
GT/RA returns quarterback Blaze Alesch, who is now a senior.
Alesch passed 196 times, completing 101 of them for 1,320 yards including 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
That year of experience should prove key in the Titans success this season. Alesch also was the squad's second-leading rusher with 512 yards on 120 carries with six touchdowns.
From Ruthven-Ayrshire, Carter Williamson returns in the backfield. He finished with 110 yards on 40 carries for the Raiders last season.
Also in the backfield is Kyle Dalen, who saw limited varsity time for Graettinger-Terril.