APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – For the joys of a program-defining season for Appleton North, all the bright spots saw a bleak ending on a cold November night in Oshkosh.

The Lightning lost a 19-3 fourth quarter lead to Franklin, bookending an otherwise wildly successful season with two gut-wrenching losses to the Sabers.

Despite the what ifs, however, Appleton North had a program-defining season in 2021.

The Lightning snapped an 11-game losing streak to Kimberly, competed at the top of the FVA and in the Division 1 playoffs, and set a standard for the program moving forward – as well as dangling the carrot of being 11 minutes away from Camp Randall.

Even with the extra motivation, the Lightning is focused on the 2022 season.

With seven starters back on defense, one of the best units in the state carries the swagger of upperclassmen leadership into the season. The faces of the offense look a little different, but defensive teammates say their counterparts are coming along well in preseason camp.

North opens with Green Bay Southwest and Green Bay Preble in nonconference play, hoping to get a good start and momentum heading into a loaded FVA conference schedule.

Click the video to hear from head coach Rob Salm and seniors Trent Mullen and Owen Ornstein.