HS Football: Palisade readies for difficult preseason

PALISADE, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) The hot August sun and an unconditioned team made the first day back a tough one but with only three weeks until the first week of the season, there is no time to waste. If Palisade wants to be one of the best in 3A, they better get to work.

"It's always great to get out here and get going,” said head coach Joe Ramunno. “Everyone is really excited to go. With the early start to school, when you start this thing right off the bat and the new rule changes, you have got to be very efficient with what you do. Everybody is glad to be back out."

"Honestly, I was nervous for this, like the rodeos and I wasn't looking forward to it,” senior kicker Ben Sargent said. “Now that it's over, I'm so happy that we did it and I'm really ready for the start of the season. We all just bonded instantly for those rodeos. Even the freshmen that came in, I didn't know who they were but we were cheering them on."

The Bulldogs are coming off an 11-2 season and a finish in the semifinals. If this team has hopes to go farther this season, head coach Joe Ramunno has to get these Bulldogs in the right mentality.

"We're not going to be necessarily more talented than the other teams but we have got to be tough,” Ramunno said. “We have to have some toughness and that's always what Palisade has always had. It's going to take a team effort to do some things. We're hoping to advance even further if we can."

Palisade will have to fill the void of departed running back Jason Bruce and wide out Sebastian Campbell, but the bulldogs breed leaders.

"Ramunno just seems to find guys and he is always looking to put guys in positions that are going to maximize their potential and help the team the best," said Sargent.

"We have some guys we have to get to fill in,” Ramunno said. “A lot of that is the leadership that Jason [Bruce] and Sebo [Campbell] and guys like that provided. They gave a lot of insight. These young guys following them kind of grew in their footsteps a bit. Hopefully they will carry that over and we can get them to mature a little bit and step in."

Their non-conference schedule is no joke. With their first game against Durango in three weeks, the team must work quickly as they will face a big challenge early.

"Our five first opponents were all playoff teams so we know we have an excellent preseason schedule and we are really going to be tested,” said Ramunno. “We know we have some work cut out for us."

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