North Bend, Ore. -- Coming around the final turn here on KEZI 9 Sports' Two-A-Days series as we are only a few days away from week 1 of the high school football season.
Chomping at the bit for week 1 is North Bend who, like their cross town rivals Marshfield are itching for that rivalry week opener and so much more.
"We all had a bitter taste in our mouth," says Garrison Mateski. "That's not how we want it to go, we want to go for that blue trophy and ask any of these guys out here, they'd probably be the same thing."
It's been awhile since the 2016 state title team in North Bend, but the 2020 class of seniors have fond memories of what that Bulldog
"Quite a few kids that came out and practiced with us as freshmen during that whole run and didn't get much other than, 'hey great job at practice', North Bend head coach Gary Prince says. "So we had a lot of kids that were there, that are seniors and hopefully they remember but hopefully they're working hard to make their own stories."
"It was definitely a great experience," Mateski continues. "Those guys had such a great attitude, their sportsmanship was amazing, they were great athletes, just amazing to be around."
Building around players like Mateski, Ian Spaulding and Divenson Willis, the Bulldogs will have some areas that may take time to develop.
"There's a lot of growth in our receiving corp," mentions Prince. "And we'd like to be more balanced and not rely so heavily on the run."
"There's probably gonna be some growing pains, we got guys stepping up from JV so there's gonna be a lot of growing pains but they're stepping it up," adds Mateski.
And for some younger players it'll be a trial by fire in Week 1, where the Bulldogs get a marquee matchup: a rivalry game against Marshfield.
"Kids are excited about that and as coaches we're excited," Prince says of one of the states' oldest rivalries. "It's always a good football game and you get to play your crosstown rival for the fans for the kids for the coaches."
"We all get butterflies just thinking about it," Mateski says with a smile."It's just great and especially having them week 1, you just can't wait."
And the wait is over in just a few days.