CRANDON - "Does it feel good? Well heck yeah it feels good," said Crandon's Head Football Coach Jim Moore.
Moore knows it hasn't always felt this good this late in the season.
"Suring beat us last year, NEP (Northern Elite) beat us last year, Wabeno/Laona beat us last year," said Moore.
But this season, all three of those teams are looking up at the Cardinals. And Crandon is just one win away from completing an undefeated conference season and capturing an MONLPC Small Division championship.
"Finally winning it, and it's been five years since we won last, that's something to be proud of in this town," said senior Riley Wagoner.
It's something that didn't happen overnight, as 13 seniors lead the way for Crandon.
"In a small community like this, these guys have been together for a long time, so they're close," said Moore.
Those seniors have shared a roller coaster ride that's seen moderate success before peaking this year.
"To finally get there senior year, especially because everyone says stick together senior year and you'll go your senior year, and it's just been really fun to get it done," said senior Luke Conway.
That starts up front. Four seniors and one junior make up an impressive Cardinals offensive line.
"This is in the top three or four lines I've had balance-wise," said Moore.
That's high praise from Moore, who has coached for more than three decades and won a state championship with Wittenberg-Birnamwood. In 2012, he coached Rhinelander to its first playoff appearance since 1998. And his players credit their success to his coaching style.
"My junior year, last year, it started flowing and then this year it finally clicked and we're doing good," said Wagoner.
As the Cardinals try to complete the undefeated season, they know they're creating memories that will last far beyond high school.
"It's really exciting," said Conway. "And it's nice to just kind of have that underneath your belt as you're going on through life."
The 6-0 Cardinals will try to complete their undefeated MONLPC season this Friday at home against Elcho/White Lake.
Story By: Mark Spillane