The 2016 Bertha-Hewitt Bears football season began on Friday, August 12, when 33 football players picked up equipment and met the coaching staff comprised of head coach Rick Harig, defensive coordinator Mark Frethem and special teams coach Steve Pauly.
The Bears return seniors Cody Brown, Ethan Kimber, Jerry Lamb, Austin Laust, Raphael Ortiz and Zack Waln.
Joining them will be 10 juniors, including: Zac Araca, Charles Bakken, Adam Bauch, Andrew Becker, Bryce Bogle, Brett Jansen, Tyler Ortiz, Avery Pavek, Matt Powers and Holt Truax.
The Bears are also counting on 17 sophomores and freshmen to fight for playing time.
"We just graduated six seniors with a lot of varsity experience," stated Coach Harig. "Although we have a lot of varsity experience returning in our upperclassmen."
Bertha-Hewitt will travel Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley to open the season. The rest of the Bears' schedule is made up of trips to Hancock, Verndale and Hillcrest Lutheran Academy; along with home games against Rothsay, Park Christian of Moorhead, Laporte and Underwood.
Harig believes that the top spot in Section 4 will be a dogfight between Underwood, Verndale and CGB, but that everyone will be more competitive than in the last few years.
The Bears' outlook for the 2016 is to build on last year’s successes and become a factor in playoff time.
"The guys have set a goal to continue their success at the varsity level. They understand playing in Section 4 is going to be tough, but they have welcomed the challenge," Harig said.