SARTELL -- The Sartell Sabres shook off an 0-3 start to their 2016 season to finish with a 6-4 record. The Sabres won their final five regular-season games and topped Brainerd 35-0 in the opening round of the section playoffs before falling 40-32 to Moorhead in a nail-biter at SJU.

The Sabres will face a huge roster overhaul in 2017, which means coach Scott Hentges will not be exactly sure what he is working with until the first game of the season.

“It’s tough to tell a lot at this point. There’s been lots of competition for lots of open spots and there are a lot of things we don’t know. I think we will definitely develop as the season goes on.”

Coach Hentges says that he has a lot of confidence in the coaches of the younger kids having his team ready for this season.

“I feel really confident that we have a great ninth and tenth grade staff. They do a great job of teaching and coaches those kids as they come up. Now it’s just a matter of executing."

Senior fullback/Linebacker Gavin Reitz says that he has confidence in the new guys.

“We lost a lot of people from last year, but I feel like our line that we have is pretty strong, pretty big and pretty physical. Everyone is gone from last year’s defense, but that doesn’t matter… we have to move forward."

Senior Riley Hartwig says that the running game should be a strength for the Sabres in 2017.

“I think the team’s strength should be our running game, if we know our assignments. I just think our offense will be a strength this year.”

Senior Jordan Och will take over for two-year starter Chris Belling at quarterback this season.  Och says he has an idea of how he’d like to be a leader this year.

“I think just motivating everyone to get in the weight room and keep working. Work hard to make each other better every day.”

The Sabres will face Cambridge Friday and you can hear that game on AM 1390 Granite City Sports starting at 6:45 p.m.

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