COLD SPRING -- The Rocori Spartans made their third straight trip to the state tournament in 2016 before their season came to an end with a 34-30 loss to Winona at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Spartans finished with an overall record of 9-4.

Head coach Mike Rowe says the Spartans will return nine starters on offense, minus last season’s quarterback Connor Schoborg and wide receiver Derek Thompson.

“We bring back nine offensive players this year, including our leading rusher and a bunch of receivers with experience. Most importantly our offensive line is almost all intact.”

 

Senior Matt Waletzko says that the Spartans should have a good defense as well.

“I think our biggest strength overall will be the defense. We all know the overall goal of the season, and as long as we play together as a team we can achieve that goal.”

Although the Spartans have lost quarterback Connor Schoborg to graduation, they do return Mason Primus, who played a handful of games last season as a junior. Waletzko says he is very familiar with how Primus plays.

“As long as I can remember we have been playing together, so it’s nice to have him back.”

Primus says last year’s experience will be invaluable this season.

“Last year helped me a lot, stepping in for Connor. He taught me a lot of things last year, and I hope to continue the foundation that he laid down.”

The Rocori Spartans will head to Detroit Lakes Friday for their season opener.