LIBERTY CENTER, OH (WTOL) - A year ago, Liberty Center Football officially became a threat again in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League. The Tigers finished with a 9-3 record and made it to the second round of the playoffs.
This year, for the first time in 32 seasons, Rex Lingruen will not be on the sidelines.
Following last season, he retired and paved the way for longtime assistant Casey Mohler to take over the program.
While replacing a legend is never easy, Mohler plans on keeping things mostly the same.
"A lot of people talk about building a foundation," Coach Mohler said. "[Lingruen] built the whole house. I'm just doing the landscaping now. I don't want to change a whole lot but there are a few things here and there that we do just a little bit different, but for the most part, I want to continue to do what he did."
Despite this, Mohler's players have noticed a difference. But those differences are not negatives.
"It's a lot different," said junior quarterback Jarrett Krugh. "But I like some of the new things Coach Mohler is doing and I think that we should have a good year."
"It's a little different not having the big guy yelling at you all the time," senior linebacker Christian Kahle added. "He was always a jokester out here, having fun, but he always got serious.
Last year, Liberty Center surprised some of their opponents by winning nine games and advancing past the first round in the playoffs. This year, with higher expectations, they will likely have a virtual target on their back. But that does not concern Mohler.
"Our expectations are going to be the same whether people think we're going to be last in the league or we're going to be first," Coach Mohler said. "We're going to go out and work as hard as we can and be the best we can. Whether people think we're going to be good or not shouldn't approach things. Our job is to push these kids to be the best they can."
Liberty Center opens their season on the road at Tinora.