A sizable group of upperclassmen will bring both size and experience to the gridiron for Lanesboro this season. There are 17 returning letter winners from a team that tied for first in the SEC last fall, including seven returning starters.

“We've got a big group of kids out this year, we're a relatively big team, we're older, and we've got a lot of kids who have played a lot,” head coach James Semmen said last Saturday following a four-team scrimmage in Spring Grove.

Seniors who started in 2013 include Liam Dorn, Tylar Miller, Will Semmen, Matt Luck, Jerael Eddy and Jeremy Hanson.

Other senior letter winners who got plenty of playing time are Zach Voeltz, Mason Huerkamp, Alex Reed and Eric Holst.

Quarterback/safety Semmen (6-0, 175) won All-Conference honors last year, getting in on 76 tackles as a defensive back. He's a team captain and the only returning All-SEC player from a group of four who were named last season.

Dorn is listed at running back/linebacker. The 6-0, 210 pound senior captain was in on 72 tackles last year. Miller (5-9, 175) also checks in at RB/LB. He had 420 yards rushing in 2013.

Both Luck (5-10, 200) and Eddy (6-2, 177) are team captains this year as well. Luck will play tight end/linebacker, while Eddy checks in at center/defensive end. Hanson will play nose tackle/fullback.

Voeltz (5-10, 155) is listed at running back/defensive back. Huerkamp (5-7, 140) will play the same positions, as will Alex Reed (6-0, 140). Holst will play offensive/defensive line. He's 6-2, 225 pounds.

Corey Mensink is the sole member of the junior class who started as a sophomore. At 6-0, 245 pounds, he returns as an offensive/defensive lineman. Classmates Zach Wead (5-10, 245) and Bailey Eide Hungerholt (6-3, 255) will also anchor the line. Junior Chris Freese (6-2, 185) will line up at tight end/defensive end. Steven Rein and Markus Mulvihill are also junior class members who will play tight end on offense. Rein (5-10, 167) will also be a linebacker, while Mulvihill (6-2, 160) will play safety.

Finally, returning letter winner Cole Schwichtenberg (5-11, 150) will help out at quarterback/defensive back. He's now a sophomore.

Semmen (85-51) begins his 14th year this season. He's now led the program to 10 straight winning campaigns. Assistants include Cody Hungerholt, Ethan Simonson, Kelly McMillen and Brett Clarke.

The Burros should be able to place in the “upper half” of the SEC once again, Semmen said.

“With good experience and good size, if you can get a little bit better every week you might be able to do some good things during the playoffs,” he noted.

Other favorites in the SEC are defending state champs Grand Meadow and perennial powerhouse Spring Grove.