BRITT, Iowa – As Britt and West Hancock, the Eagles have two state titles to their credit which were in 1973 and 1996. Those two titles were 23 years apart. 23 years later, they are hoping history will repeat as they are in line to win another.
“Starting with little kids football all the way through junior high and all the way up, they’ve been very successful,” said Coach Mark Sanger. “It’s the kind of thing when you come in to coach them, you just get out of the way and let them do their thing.”
After Friday’s 49-20 utter domination of Woodbury Central, the Eagles are back in the state title game.
“It’s everything we’ve ever worked for and it’s time to just show up and show everyone that we can do it,” Tanner Hagen said.
The Eagles who have been the No. 1 ranked team in Class A football all season long will take on fifth-ranked Grundy Center on Thursday at 1:30 PM.
The Eagles watched the Spartans’ hard-fought victory over St. Ansgar. So, quarterback Brayden Leerar is taking the Spartans seriously.
“We watched them at the (UNI) Dome. It looks like they like to throw the ball quite a bit, they kind of run it here and there, but they’ve got a good quarterback and some speed on the outside so we’ve got to keep them contained.”
The Eagles have multiple weapons on the field they can utilize, but they are also very dependent on their 12th man in the stands.
“We had a great support system down there last Friday and I’m sure we’ll have another one this Thursday,” Sanger said. “The community loves their football and hopefully we can give them one more to cheer about.”
While the Eagles enter Thursday with a perfect record, things have not been a cakewalk on the sidelines. Head Coach Bob Sanger has had to sit this season out battling leukemia. His son Mark, says his dad has played a role in the team’s success this year and plans to be at Thursday’s game.
“I know it’s hard on him not being on the sideline but he’s still with us in spirit and he’s there supporting us every step of the way. So, to say that he’s not been a part of it in some of his advice and pointers and things like that, I’d be a liar if I told you that.”
The goal this week is simple. Put another trophy in the case for Coach Sanger.
“It’s mean the world to me,” Leerar added. “I know it’d mean the world to everybody else on the team, too. Just repeat history. 23, 23, 23 so that’s the goal knowing hat he’s battling right now, we wanted to battle for him so we know he’s behind us and we’re using that as some motivation.”
“We just have to go play like we’ve been playing all year,” Hagen added. “Show up and we should be good.”