Football: Frazee to play eight road games while new facility construction continues
The Frazee football team will hit the road eight times during the 2022 season as they wait for construction on the new athletic facility to wrap up.
FRAZEE – Playing under the bright lights in front of the home crowd is something every high school football player can look forward to during the three weeks of fall camp. However, the Frazee football team will experience all of that on the road.
The Hornets will play eight road games in the regular season this fall as they wait for the construction of their new athletic facility to wrap up. While the hope is it will be ready for the track and field season, the football team will adjust to life on the road over the next eight weeks.
“We’re excited to have a new field eventually,” head coach Russ Hackel said. “Right now, it’s tough for the kids to know they won’t get to play at home this year. The new field won’t be ready for us until next year.”
The Hornets are coming off a 2-7 season last fall with wins over Parkers Prairie and Roseau. Opposing teams have been gracious to Frazee, allowing them to do the little things to make road games feel a little more familiar.
“Some of the teams have been really good about letting us wear our home jerseys on their field and letting us make it as close as we can to a home game,” Hackel said. “Not having home games brings up a lot of things you don’t typically think of. What are we going to do for parent’s night? What are we going to do for homecoming? All of those factors we take for granted, and we have to prepare a little harder for now.”
For senior Jake Nagel, this isn’t how he pictured his final season on the football field going.
“They’re fun, to a certain extent,” Nagel said of the road trips. “But you have games where you have to make long trips. Like this year, we’re heading up to Roseau and Thief River Falls. Those ones are going to be lengthy trips. It’ll be fun to be on the bus with the boys, but you also want to play at home in front of the fans. It’ll be different, for sure. We have a really good support system behind us at this school.”
Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Hackel has been in this situation. The former North Dakota State University football player played his entire senior season on the road in high school.
“When I was in high school, the exact same thing happened in my senior year,” Hackel said. “We ended up building a new middle school where the football field was, so I understand the experience. We had a good experience with it because we had a successful senior year. Hopefully, these kids can have the same thing. Being on the road could get us to rally a lot more and be more successful. We’ll see how it goes.”
Frazee opens the season at Parkers Prairie before heading to play one of its biggest rivals on the schedule. After Pelican Rapids delivered a 44-14 drubbing last year, Nagel is excited for a shot at redemption.
“We want to beat Pelican,” Nagel said. “We lost on a referee call our freshman year, and that was to make it to the (Fargodome). We were one play short. It was a touchdown, and it would’ve tied the game, but we didn’t get the call. Last year, we got whooped by them. We scored 14 points, and it wasn’t even us that scored them. It was the JV guys. We’ve got a chip on our shoulder for that game. Hackel has a plan, and we’re going to stick to it.”
The Hornets are looking for their first winning season since 2014, which would be the first under Hackel in his five years as head coach. He believes the program has turned a corner after a series of frustrating runs.
“I’ve taught in Detroit Lakes for many years and got to be part of that program. I’ve seen the success they’ve had, and I believe this program has those same capabilities,” Hackel said. “We have hard-nosed kids. We don’t always have the bigger kids, but they’re smaller and tougher because they’re usually wrestlers. Having all of that is good, and I feel like we’re finally at the point where I don’t have to deal with some of the extracurriculars that I’ve had to deal with as a coach. The kids are buying into the program and what we’re doing.”
Above all else, Hackel wants his players to buy into the idea of resiliency.
“We need to do a better job of competing consistently,” Hackel said. “We want to put ourselves in a position with a chance to win every game–Not giving up and building the mentality that we’re never going to quit. We’re going to keep fighting no matter what the score is. Keep clawing away and get better.”