Last season was a down year for South Western football.
The Mustangs finished 4-6 after winning 10 games in 2009. It was South Western's sixth losing season in 25 years since Don Seidenstricker took over in 1986.
The Mustangs enter this season with chips on their shoulders, looking to prove that 4-6 was an anomaly.
Also lost to graduation was big man Aaron Bosley, a two-way player who helped blow open holes for the Mustang ground game and got after opposing ball carriers on defense.
Jake Shaffer's graduation means the Mustangs have to find another inside linebacker to take his spot, something they hadn't had to do in the three years Shaffer started.
Varsity letters: The Mustangs are still loaded with talent, especially at the skill positions.
Mike Felton, Carnie Fryfogle and Jesse Good return for their senior years and should provide Seidenstricker with plenty of weapons on offense. Ryan Dotson and Jeremy Loughlin are both huge offensive and defensive tackles at 252 and 287 pounds, respectively.
Felton, who carried the ball 106 times for an average of 6.9 yards per carry and who also led South Western in receiving categories, will be the Mustangs' key weapon, however.
"He's played two different offensive positions and three different defensive positions," Seidenstricker said of Felton, "as well as being a kicker at times, our full-time punter, return person. There's a reason why he's grabbed some (NCAA) Division I attention."
New faces in the crowd: Senior Keith Pappas isn't necessarily a new face, but he'll have a newfound, increased workload this season.
"Keith had a great summer playing baseball, but he is a very, very, talented kid," Seidenstricker said. "We want to get the ball in his hands a little bit from the tight end spot."
The Mustangs also have a set of twins that will be used both ways, Seidenstricker said. Dillon and Jaelen Langenfeld, entering their senior year, also will see plenty of time on both sides of the ball. Both are defensive backs and speedy ballcarriers that Seidenstricker said "possess high-level quickness and outright speed."
Dillon Thomas, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound sophomore, could make an impact this season, as Seidenstricker said "he's ready to play varsity football." He'll have a chance to crack the lineup at either inside linebacker or fullback.
Mark your calendar: The Mustangs start out playing at Gettysburg, then get a home game against Cedar Cliff.
Both games will serve as early opportunities to make good on last season's record.
"We are always looking forward to playing Gettysburg," Seidenstricker said. "It's where you establish your season."
The Cedar Cliff game takes on a bit of a personal angle for Seidenstricker, who is close friends with Colts head coach Jim Cantafio.
"I felt last year, offensively, we played well enough to give Cedar Cliff a closer game than we did, but we self-destructed inside the 15-yard line on four occasions," Seidenstricker said.
Who's the one player on your team you wouldn't want to face? Carnie Fryfogle. He's tough as nails, and he'll hit anybody. It doesn't matter how big you are.
What practice drill do you hate running the most? Stations. There are four stations, and they're maybe seven or eight minutes long, and you do drills like blocking drills. You hit the five-man sled. You run through the blaster, cone drills.
Which NFL player would you compare yourself to? On defense, I'd say Taylor Mays because he's kind of like one of the bigger safeties and the way he comes downhill and how he can read and react really fast.
What pregame music gets you pumped up to play? I listen to Biggie Smalls and Tupac.
Do you have a nickname? They just call me Felton.
What is your favorite move on the field? Cut back and run people over.
What's the best thing about playing football? Just the culture of the game. There's nothing like playing under the lights Friday night.
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