HS Football: Palisade looks to repeat championship history

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) This season the Palisade Bulldogs were back under the tutelage of Joe Ramunno, one of Palisade's toughest and greatest football coaches.

The team finished with a 9-1 overall record, took the 3A WSL title, and earned a 2-seed in the post-season. This Saturday marks the first round, and the Bulldogs are ready to repeat history.

"The toughness of these kids has been built in," said head coach Joe Ramunno. "You can go way back in the 50s, I can remember Palisade winning state titles back then."

Joe Ramunno is quite familiar with Palisade football. He served as the head football coach from 1988-1998. In the mid 90's his squad was unstoppable - taking four straight state championship titles. Palisade added another title in 2003, and this season is another opportunity in the waiting.

"We've really got to execute this week," said senior Jack Millard. "We've really got to get our assignments done, really work on the little things and come out and bring it on Saturday."

"You really never know with the playoffs," said senior Levi Hoaglund. "We just have to play our game and work hard at practice this week and be ready to go."

The Bulldogs went into the season using an offensive plan similar to that of the glory days, and the success rate has been solid once again.

"These are my mighty mites here," said Coach Ramunno. "These guys, they go. and that's kind of to their advantage. you've got to play with great fundamentals.

Palisade has been big into their run game, averaging over 330 rushing yards per game , led by seniors Levi Hoaglund and Dalton Hannigan, but it hasn't been a one-man-band mindset.

'This year we're really together as a unit," said Millard. "We're really functioning well together and we're all wanting to win."

In order to do so they're looking to Coach Ramunno's championship experience as a guide.

"We all know when he came here that he had the four state championships in a row, and we feel like that was going to be a big part of Coach Ramunno as a whole," said Hoaglund. "I feel like we get success from just knowing we can trust him and his schemes and what he has to do."

"We really work on the details that we actually need to work on and he's bringing a lot of spark to the field," said Millard.

And this season the Bulldogs are all in.

"If you don't show up and play you're done, you're packing it in for the next year," said Coach Ramunno.

Their first game will be this Saturday at Stocker Stadium at 1:00 PM. Tickets for the hospitality suite will be sold for $30 each and include a catered lunch. To reserve a seat, contact the Palisade athletic office.

Read the original version of this article at www.nbc11news.com.

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