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Grand Island Northwest football hopes for "breakout year"
At Grand Island Northwest high school, the Rouzee name has meant excellence for many years. Now the youngest member of that family is about to take over as the Vikings starting quarterback hoping to lead the squad to a winning season, something that's been a long time coming.
When the Grand Island Northwest Vikings begin the season a week from Friday here at Viking Field against the Sidney Red Raiders, coach Kevin Stein will hand the keys to the kingdom to a new quarterback, Zach Rouzee. If that name sounds familiar, it should.
Zach's mother is legendary Viking volleyball coach Diane Rouzee. Zach's sister former Hastigns College volleyball player and coach Lyndee Rouzee is assisting her mother with this year's Viking squad, another older sister Jenna is an outstanding player at UNK. Excelling in sports is a way of life in the Rouzee family.
When you hear about Northwest you head about Rouzees a lot because my mom has been coaching and teaching her forever and my sisters both made their mark so its my turn to make mine so I'm going to use that to my advantage.
"He had to compete right out of the womb. He had to compete with Lyndee and Jenna so he's had to battle his whole life so, I suppose, facing a Sidney and a McCook and a Hastings, that's not going to frazzle him worse than Lyndee and Jenna," said Stein.
While Diane Rouzee prepares her team for another outstanding season, she'll be thinking about that first year starting quarterback just outside practicing on the football field.
"I'm excited for Zach, I think he's going to have a great year. I think he just looks really good at Quarterback and I hope that he does well and yeah, being a mom and a coach, it's got me kind of divided a little bit, but I'll make sure we get things getting taken care of in the gym and out on the field," said Rouzee.
On the field the Vikings won just two games last season. The Hastings Tigers came to Viking Field and came from behind to defeat Norhwest in the last game for both teams.
The Vikings have 8 starters returning on each side of the ball but do they have any difference makers? This program hasn't been to the state playoffs since 2004 and has been looking up at other similar programs that compete for state championships.
"Like you said, the Auroras, the McCooks, Cretes, they are there every single year, what they have is the belief between their ears. They believe that they're going to win. They don't think, they know they can play and win and when the chips get down, they're going to get after it, so we have to change that or right that ship very fast," said Stein.
In his 3rd season Coach Stein has already called it a "breakout year" for his Vikings. His team will try to start proving him right a week from Friday when the squad hosts the Sidney Red Raiders.
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