HOULTON, Me. (WAGM) - The Houlton Shiretowners made it to the Class C state championship last season, but came up short against a very strong Winthrop team. The reward for their efforts? Getting bumped up to Class B.
"Well I mean obviously moving up to Class B being the smallest school is going to be a challenge for us," Head Coach Tim Brewer said. "I think the kids are excited about the jump to see what we can do."
The players are ready for the challenge and they know what's ahead of them
"A lot of the teams we're playing are going to have bigger guys and like bigger and stronger," Senior Keegan Gentle said. "We're just going to try to match their size. A lot of the bigger schools play with a lot more intensity so we're going to have to match their intensity too."
The Shires aren't unfamiliar with Class B. They battled with Presque Isle and Caribou twice each last year.
"The Caribou game at home last year definitely built a whole bunch of confidence for us and I think we can stick with any team in Class B," Senior Cam Callnan said.
For Coach Brewer, the battling last year was great, but battling isn't enough this year.
"I think we played at a high level last year, the expectation is to play at a high level this year," Brewer said. "We competed with those teams last year, we're going to have win those games this year."
They have a solid core going into the season, a core that still has last year's state championship loss fresh on their mind.
"I mean really from the whole experience, we learned how to play under pressure, I mean the cross center is certainly a different atmosphere so I think we'll be ready this year if we make it that far," Gentle said.
Houlton gets their first taste of Class B against MDI at home on Saturday.