The Madison Mavericks enjoyed their return to the playoffs last season, and they most certainly want to return this year.
“Just getting the program back how it used to be,” said Dante Heaggans, the Mavs’ quarterback, who is about to start his senior season. “It started last year, so we are going to keep that going, keep it rolling to this season.”
Heaggans is a duel threat under center. He threw for over 1,700 yards last season for 17 touchdowns and rolled up over 1,200 yards on ground for an additional 23 rushing touchdowns. Now, he is one of 14 starters returning for head coach Blaine Pederson.
“I know we have a chance to be better than we were, because our kids have bought into what we are doing, and they have worked extremely hard to get where they are at,” said Pederson, who is about to start his second season at Madison.
Pederson will have seven starters returning on both his offense and defense this season, including Brandon Bielefeld, a linebacker who led the team in tackles last season with 75.
The Mavericks will kick off their season against the Clemens Buffaloes on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. at Heroes Stadium, followed by Austin Bowie and then Smithson Valley before even beginning play in district 27-6A.
“We have a very tough pre-district schedule,” Pederson said. “There is no telling what happens there, and then our district is really tough.”
Madison was able to finish 3-3 last year in district, made it into the playoffs and finished up in the bi-district finals. Now they want to improve on their overall record from last year after going 4 and 7.
“We are going to have to show up every week, have a great game plan and have kids that are working hard and continuing to get better,” Pederson said. “If we can do that, we’ll have a chance.”