The Norsemen are ‘All In’ as they look to find ways to win in 2017. The very young Westby team will be playing with a chip on their shoulders trying to show the competition that regardless of losing so many seniors in 2016 they have a strong desire to put up points, but even more than that they have a love for the game.

The Norsemen finished the 2016 football season with an 3-7 overall record and lost in the first round of playoff action to Lancaster. Westby head Coach Andy Hulst said it was a tough year, but many of the games were closer than the score revealed.

Westby lost many key positions to graduating seniors including Kyle Anderson (QB) Honorable Mention All Coulee Conference; Erik Luebke (WR) Honorable Mention All-Coulee Conference; and Matt Armbruster (WR) Honorable Mention All-Coulee Conference; Reid Dosch (OL) Honorable Mention All-Coulee Conference; Trey Stendalen (OL) 1st Team All-Coulee Conference; Hunter Groom (OL) 2nd Team All-Coulee Conference; Hunter Groom (DL) 1st Team All-Conference; Konner Olson (RB) 2nd Team All-Coulee Conference; and Owen Hellwig (OLB) 2nd Team All-Conference.

Hulst is passionate about coaching and is proud to be a part of the Westby football traditon. He has been teaching high school social studies at Westby for the past 11 years, coaching for 10 years and is the high school athletic director.

Assisting Hulst on the football field this season are assistant coaches: Ken Halvorson, Defensive Coordinator; Jared Hegge; John Hamilton; Jared Anderson; Mark Anderson; Brad Raasch; and Owen Hellwig.

Despite the loss of many talented seniors key returning players include: Ryan Daines (HB and OLB) 550-plus yards last year and six trips into the end zone; Grant Dayton (ILB and OL); and Alex Gluch (DB).

Westby will be lacking size and experience in 2017, but Hulst believes this year’s team has the skill set to surprise a few teams offensively with big plays, but will have a tough time on the front line.

The 2017 Coulee Conference consists of six teams, Arcadia, Black River Falls, Viroqua, G-E-T, Onalaska Luther and Westby. Hulst expects tough games against GET and Arcadia in the Coulee Conference.

“We are only returning a few starters on offense and defense and we simply need our younger kids to get a ton of reps in their new starting positions,” Hulst said.

Westby kicked off its season at Darlington on Aug. 18. The Norsemen host Sparta, Friday, Aug. 25 in non-conference action. Game time is 4 p.m.