That is not a description of the Mayville High School football players who are on the 2012 roster. On the contrary, a commitment from the school and community to improve the weight room at the school has the players thicker and faster this season.
But the roster itself is thin on players, only 34 total and just eight seniors.
The returning Cardinals will do the best they can to improve on the 2-7 record of a season ago. They athletes started in the offseason as $60,000 of improvement and refurbishment went into the weight room, according to coach Mark Pankow.
“We’ve seen a great increase in the weight room and not just in football,” said Mayville senior quarterback Brandon Mueller. “In the whole school, all sports teams are getting in there. It’s a nice facility and we’re still looking to improve it.”
Sam Retzlaff, a senior returning all-conference lineman, said the results are noticeable.
“Personally, I feel a lot stronger this year because of (the weight room), and I think a lot of kids are stronger as well.”
Pankow, in his second season said he hopes the players can build on last year and prove to the community and the league that Mayville football is back in business. The sentiment of the players is the same.
“I do think we have something to prove this year,” Retzlaff said. “to prove that even though we’re kind of thin (in numbers) that we can come back and stick it to some of the teams that beat us last year.”
The Mayville offense is going to have to carry the team.
“We’re going to have a very young team,” Pankow said. “But yet we’re going to be strong on the offensive side with a lot of seniors coming back.”
In addition to Retzlaff on the offensive line, seniors Cody Legas and P.J. Wegmann return with experience.
Tony Giese is a junior tight end who Pankow said will be a playmaker, and both Muller and Retzlaff said Casey McDermott, a junior, will be the main receiving threat.
“Mike Trevarthen didn’t catch a lot of passes (last year), but he and Casey McDermott went to a lot of camps and put in a lot of time in the weight room,” Pankow said.
Mueller returns as the trigger man after being named honorable mention as a quarterback last year.
The defense will be young as only linebacker Liam Takahashi, defensive tackle Alex Churchill and defensive back Trevarthen return as full-time players.
Retzlaff will play defense for the first time in his varsity career as he moves into a linebacker spot.
Giese and junior Corbin Schroeder at linebacker, and Wegmann on the line are poised to have breakout seasons, according to Pankow.
“On defense this year it’s going to be a challenge, but I think we’re up to it,” Retzlaff said about his foray into defense. “It’s been a challenge to learn it all, but after more practices and games I think we can jell and make a solid unit.”
The Cardinals will also feature a good special teamer as Trevarthen was an honorable-mention punter a season ago, averaging about 38 yards per boot.
Pankow said Mayville is probably not going to jump into the top two in the league as Springs and Omro will be outstanding, but he hopes they can make it into the middle.
“We’re ready to take the step to be on the verge of a playoff team, if not more,” Pankow said.
Retzlaff said if the Cardinals can be mentally tough enough and continue to work hard they can achieve the playoffs. He said a perfect record at home is something that he’d like as a lasting memory of his senior season.
Mueller says he expects a jump in success.
“We’ll definitely be in the top four in the conference with what we have,” Mueller said. “If we get better as a team, believe and have the right attitude we can.”