Freedom aiming to be first repeat NEC champion

Freedom won the NEC last season with an 8-0 record

FREEDOM (WLUK) -- Since the North Eastern Conference was created in 2015 no team has repeated as conference champ, which means this season Freedom is the team looking to break the trend.

The Irish went 8-0 in conference last season and looking ahead to this season the Irish has the goal of repeat on its mind.

"It'll be super-important to repeat," senior Conor Dickrell said. "Like coach (Frank Mattia) said, if we go undefeated, he's going to treat that like a state, if we don't have it this year."

Freedom happy to be practicing

"I think we have a lot of good rivalries in this conference; it's always very competitive," senior Jackson Higgins said. "It always seems like there is a new champion every year. It's very important to us, so whether we get a state title or not, we want to win every game we can."

There won't be a traditional state championship game this season due to COVID-19, but there likely will be some sort of playoff. Whatever the path it is for Freedom, Mattia said trying to match last year's accomplishment isn't on his mind.

"Last year's team, we've been trying to avoid talking about that too much," Mattia said. "This team does have a lot of returning talent; we did lose key pieces in certain places, but that's true of every high school year. Who knows how every team comes together?

"There are all kinds of teams based on what they did a year before they were automatically going to get something and we are not letting that be our thought process. We have to start from the bottom and work through everything that's in front of us; the next game, the next game, the next game."

The first game is a non-conference game at Winneconne on Sept. 25.

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay