DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – When it comes to the West De Pere football program, the expectations have always been high.

From long tenured head coach Bill Turnquist and Jack Batten, the Phantoms have had many winning seasons throughout the years. In 2010 and 2011, West De Pere never lost a game – winning back-to-back state championships.

Last year was West De Pere’s first season with a losing record since 2003, going 4-6. Former NFL quarterback and Phantom’s head coach Chris Greisen is optimistic about this year’s team and excited for the season as he heads into year three in the program.

“We have a great senior class. We have a lot of guys coming back. The kids are stronger, they’re faster, they’re flying around”, said Greisen.

The large senior class that is returning is excited for the opportunity that they have ahead and the chance to leave a legacy behind that could be remembered forever.

“Compared to last year, we didn’t have a lot of seniors playing. We have a lot this year, plus we are way closer than the seniors were last year. We just want to play for each other because we’ve been playing for so long that I feel like that’ll make us better than what we were last year”, said senior running back Najeh Mitchell.

“The COVID year really pushed us back a lot, so having last year full – but this year I’m super excited. Everyone’s back, everyone has super high energy, and we all have the same goal to win”, said senior cornerback Nolan Mathews.

Greisen has been at the highest of highs in the sport of football and knows what it takes to win. That’s something he’s teaching the kids each and every day.

“To me, football is just a tool to build up young men. Just like a carpenter uses a hammer to build a house – we get to use a football”, Greisen explained. “The kids are responding. They’re doing a good job working. We just keep on pushing them. Sometimes they don’t like hearing the things, but we are always going to tell them the truth. We love them and that’s why we tell them the truth.”

Getting back to Camp Randall is the goal for the Phantoms – just like it is every season.

“That’s the ultimate goal. It’s game-by-game. We have to win this conference”, said Greisen.

“We have nothing left after this so we just have to give it our all and it would be nice getting another one up there so it’s definitely a big, big goal”, said Mitchel.

West De Pere kicks off their 2022 season on the road Friday, August 19 in Hortonville at 7:00 p.m.