CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa. (KCRG) - Each of the past two seasons has ended the same way for the Prairie Hawks, a loss in the quarterfinal round.
“Were still looking for that one senior class just to get us over that quarterfinal and hopefully get to the dome.” said head coach Mark Bliss.
The Hawks are tasked with replacing star running back Keegan Simmons, who was one of eight runningbacks in the state to rush for over 2000 yards last season.
“Its hard to fill the shoes of a Keegan Simmons." Bliss said. "The thing about it is we’ve got some kids who are eager to give it a shot.”
One option for the Hawks is senior Tariq Amir, who behind Simmons last season still managed to rush for 804 yards, adding 5 touchdowns.
“With Keegan, with the way he performed last year it was obvious that he was going to get the ball a little more but Tariq had a great summer and so well see what happens." Bliss said. "I know he’s excited about proving himself."
“I’ve been really working on my strength, more than anything else. My speed, just being more of a team player too.” Amir said.
The Hawks have plenty of other roles to fill as well like their starting quarterback, but unlike some programs Prairie certainly has plenty of options with a record amount of players participating in camp.
“We're about 160 kids 9 through 12 so our numbers are the highest we've ever had at Prairie." Bliss said. "Anticipation is high and the excitements in the air.”