The high school football season kicks off this week in Southern Colorado.
After suffering a heartbreaking, double-overtime loss in the playoffs last season, the Pueblo West Cyclones feel like they have some unfinished business going into this season. For seniors like Sage Workman, that feeling of defeat is fresh and he's using it to fuel him.
“It was heartbreaking honestly and it’s fueled everyone I know for sure, we couldn’t stop talking about it after," Workman said. "We just have to get back to it and finish what we didn’t do last year.”
Coach Clint Buderus says the Cyclones will return five starters on both sides of the ball this fall.
“We’re always dependent on our seniors," Buderus said. "But we have some good younger kids that are going to have to step into some important roles.”
Gavin Lockett is just a sophomore but he's earning the starting quarterback role.
“I’m excited," Lockett said, "it’s my first start so it’ll be fun.”
Taking your first Varsity snaps can be a little nerve wracking, but the Cyclones coaching staff is confident that Lockett can get the job done.
“He’s really a dual threat kid and one of the hardest workers I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach," Buderus said. "He’s nervous you can tell, but he’s confident, he doesn’t lack confidence at all.”
Lockett's leadership is noticeable to his teammates, and it's pushing them to be their best.
“He makes the offense work harder, and as a leader on the defense I have to make sure that our defense is working up to what they’re doing," Workman explained, "so it’s really competitive everyday.”
The Cyclones motto is brotherhood, and Coach Buderus has built a staff that embodies that word.
“My brother actually coached with me in La Junta for 5 or 6 years and he's been here 3 years now," Buderus said. "My dad also is on the staff and helps, my stepson is on the staff and helps, so it’s good to have family around and people you can trust.”
The Cyclones goal is to win a state title. The road to state starts this Friday as they play host to Dakota Ridge.
“They’ve done a good job so far, but you really don’t know until the lights come on on Friday night what we’re made of and what we’ll look like," Buderus said.