The Tecumseh Braves will have a lot of new faces this football season and a new stadium to boot.
The new sports complex, located on the school grounds, cost the Warrick County school corporation $4.5 million and will also include a baseball field and track.
"As the shop teacher, my classroom was located to where I could see the stadium evolve when it was just a soy field," Tecumseh coach Jeff Daming said.
The Braves will play their first game at the new facility in the season's second week when they face their rival Pike Central on Aug. 24.
Since the Braves will be playing one of their rivals on a night the stadium debuts, Daming predicts it should be a "really fun night."
The Braves finished last season with a 4-7 record and would eventually lose in the semifinals of the 1A sectional to the North Central Thunderbirds.
Gone from last season are some of Tecumseh's most potent offensive weapons. The Braves are losing quarterback Tanner Brammeier. Also gone are running backs Deacon Parker and Ian Seim. Parker and Seim also helped out on defense for the Braves.
"We won't replace either one of them with just one kid," Daming said.
Replacing Brammeier at quarterback will be Griffin Tuley. This will be Tuley's first year starting at quarterback. Last season, he started all year at defensive back. Tuley will also be given some experienced protection on the offensive line in the likes of juniors Baron Jones, Blaine Asher, and John Jackson.
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With a new QB, Daming is expecting to run the ball more compared to last year. For this, senior Weston Stamps is expected to get a lot of carries this year. Stamps broke his foot last year during the second week and missed the remainder of the season.
"It was hard to sit out but my foot healed up nicely," Stamps said.
The Braves also had to make a sudden change to their schedule after Wood Memorial cancelled their season due to not enough players trying out. West Washington will replace Wood Memorial on the Braves schedule which is to be played on Sept. 21.
Daming, who coaches a small school as well, says lack of participation is also a grave concern to him.
"I lose sleep over it," Daming said. "Football is being put under a microscope and there are so many more things for kids to do in the fall such as travel baseball. We try to make it fun so kids want to be here. Three years ago we had 57 kids on our team to only 35 now."
Daming also said he hopes the new stadium will help with recruiting and entice kids to continue to play football once they reach the high school level.