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Hazen ready to defend

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Bismarck, ND -

The Hazen Bison football team comes into 2013 looking to defend last year's state Class A title.
But they've lost a handful of players from key positions.
Jon Schaeffer shows you how a large class of seniors is looking to show Class A that last year was no fluke.

Losing seniors to graduation is part of the grind year in and out for high school coaches-- but trying to replace a 3 year starter and all-state quarterback in Stetson Carr as well as a key offensive lineman is going to be a team effort for Hazen this season.

COACH RICK PHILION "We replace guys like that with a team. Everybody else has to come together to make themselves just a little bit better and you do it as a team."

In all--the Bison lost 6 seniors from their state title team.
Hazen Head coach Rick Philion says fans can expect to see a couple of different players under center-- a situation he's not used to having.

PHILION "This is probably the first time in maybe all my years of coaching I'm not sure where we're going with that quarterback spot and so it's a new experience for me. I'm a little, I'm excited for it but at the same time I'm a little hesitant about what's going to happen but like I said hopefully somebody steps up and takes care of it."

The Bison success will likely rest on the shoulders of their defense.
Last year in Hazen's 12 games they held their opponent under 20 points 8 times-- including 3 shutouts.
That shut down defense wins games.

AUSTIN CIESLAK "We gotta go hard every single play. We gotta fly around, make sure we do our assignments right and just make sure we do everything good."

Hazen has 12 seniors this year who are putting last year's success behind them.
They're working hard preparing themselves for the challenges the road in front of them presents.

"The state championship doesn't mean anything. That was last year. This is a whole new year. We don't even think about that. We just come out there thinking that if we give our hardest. Do everything we can, we can make it there again this year hopefully."

Claiming back to back state titles would just be part of the winning tradition Hazen hopes to carry on for years to come.

"It's tradition. I don't think it's going to be trying to prove last year's class that it wasn't just them because we understand that it's a family. We do everything together. We do it as a family and even though they've graduated they're still a part of our family. We've introduced new kids into it and we just hope to keep that tradition going."

Hazen opens their season Friday against Beulah for the Coal bowl.
Last year Beulah handed Hazen one of their 2 regular season losses.

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