Napoleon-Gakcle-Streeter’s football team is having more success in 2021 than they’ve had since 2018. The Imperials aren’t shy about what their goals are for the season, hoping it will end with a trip to Fargo, but first they have to get over a big hurdle Friday night against the New Salem-Almont Holsteins.
“I know they’re number two in the state, but that’s just a number,” defensive lineman Trenton Erbele said. “That doesn’t tell you how good they are or anything. The thing we have to work on is just being the best we can be.”
A win Friday night would give the Imperials their fifth on the season, tying the amount of wins they’ve earned in the previous two years combined.
“Our mentality has changed,” quarterback Tucker Schneider said. “We’ve just got to get the, ‘it’s okay to lose’ mentality out of our brain and just get the mentality that no one can beat us in the state.”
The Imperials look like kings on offense averaging over 48 points per game, but it’s the opposite side of the ball where they feel like things have changed.
“We made a big effort into our defense this year,” head coach Kelly McCleary said. “Our defense was — I mean it was horrible last year. We gave up 40 points per game. So we put a big focus into our defense at camps and other offseason workouts and you can just see a lot of improvement technique wise, and just their aggressiveness on defense on film”
McCleary says the biggest difference is the defense’s ability to read plays, and the return of their nose guard Trenton Erbele, who will be a big factor this Friday night.
“I ain’t worried about offense,” Erbele said. “That’s been clicking recently, but if we can keep stopping that run – they like to run the ball – so if we can stop that it’ll be a big difference maker.”
It’ll be a battle for the region five crown Friday night, and the Imperials believe they can get it done on their way to becoming North Dakota football royalty once again.
The Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter vs New Salem-Almont game will be featured on Friday Night Frenzy on KX News.