LE SUEUR — Le Sueur-Henderson senior Tommy Gupton has done his offseason work. He lifted weights regularly, went to summer camps and played with the team in the 7-on-7 league at Gustavus Adolphus College.
Now its time to see if that preparation paid off.
“We won a playoff game last year, and we want to do that again,” Gupton said. “We graduated a lot of seniors, but the rest of us want to continue their success.”
Gupton has been playing football since fourth grade. He also squeezes in a summer of legion baseball ball between football workouts.
Gupton, a wide receiver/defensive back, caught 13 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown last season. He was also in on 51 tackles.
“He’s tenacious, he doesn’t know the word quit,” Le Sueur-Henderson coach Mike May said. “He’s very competitive, very determined.”
Gupton said the Giants won’t be a team that overpowers people.
“We’re not a real big team so we have to try to win with speed. Most of the teams we play will be bigger than us.”
LSH returns just three starters from its 5-5 team — Gupton, junior quarterback/defensive back Zach Berndt and senior offensive/defensive lineman Will Becker.
Berndt threw for 1,735 yards a year ago, tossing 16 touchdowns.
“We will be a young team,” May said. “We graduated a lot of seniors from last season.”
Among the non-returning starters who received significant playing time last season are senior Justin Rabaey (OL/DL), sophomore Gage Bishop (OL/DL) and senior Matt Skelly (RB/LB). Skelly rushed for 298 yards and two touchdowns.
Also returning with experience are junior Devin Pruehs (OL/LB), senior Nolan Mackowicz (WR/DB) and junior Lukas Graff (OLB/RB/WR).
Two players who came into preseason camp looking much improved are junior wide receiver and junior lineman Isaias Sanchez.
“Those are both up-and-coming players for us,” May said.
Gupton expects Maple River to be the team to beat in the section. Perennial power Waterville-Elysian-Morristown has moved down to Class A.
“Our biggest challenge is going to be getting everybody up to speed for the beginning of the season,” May said. “Some of these guys will be brand new to varsity and they need to be ready to play at that level.:
The Giants ended the 2018 regular season with a 56-14 loss to Maple River. Less than a week later, they downed the same Maple River team 19-14 in the first round of the playoffs.
“I’m eager to see how far we come from Game 1 to the end of the season,” May said.