MURRAY - Conestoga High School is located in rural areas of Cass County (two miles west of Murray) and getting underclassman to training was again an obstacle this summer for second-year head football coach Trenton Clausen.

He relied heavily on his senior class to lead the program and bring freshmen and sophomores to workouts each morning to help continue setting a foundation of success.

"Our leaders are stepping up. We're throwing that ball around a little bit more, so we did a lot of passing stuff in the offseason - seven-on-seven and things like that. Our offensive line and defensive line, that's where it's all going to start this year. It showed last year that it didn't start for us as well as we wanted it to. We're trying to just set the tempo - being able to run the ball when we want to and being able to pass the ball when we want to."

The Cougars, who finished 0-9 last season, hired Chad Schmeckpeper to coach the offensive line and Jeff Harkness to control the defensive line.

The offense will feature multiple formations, including spread.

Clausen, a 2011 University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate, was a strength and conditioning intern under former Husker football coach Bo Pelini. He says each member of his new coaching staff have the same expectations in terms of dedication to not only football, but all athletics at the high school.

"We want our kids to go out for multiple sports. The ones that aren't, they need to understand that they need to be out in the 'Cougar Den' (weight room) with our strength-and-conditioning program. They need to be working on their skills on their own. Just to be able to get that culture established. We understand that our behavior is going to be what our culture is. If our kids aren't behaving in the manner that we want, then our culture isn't where we want it."

Conestoga will compete in Class C2 this fall and have 21 players on the roster. They'll be led by senior wide receiver and linebacker Dillon Leffler and senior lineman Owen Snipes.

They open the season on Aug. 30 at home vs. Louisville.

Aug. 30 Louisville

Sept. 6 at Yutan

Sept. 13 at David City

Sept. 20 Tekamah-Herman

Sept. 27 Johnson County

Oct. 4 at Syracuse

Oct. 11 Malcolm

Oct. 18 at Wilber-Clatonia

Oct. 25 Freeman

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