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story.lead_photo.caption FileThe Russellville Indians football team is set to begin its first season with a varsity schedule at 7 p.m. Aug. 28 in a matchup versus Missouri Military Academy.

Football players in Russellville are set to step up their level of competition this season.

The players on the Russellville Indians football team are excited about playing their first year with a varsity schedule, head coach Roger VanDeZande said.

As the season goes on, VanDeZande said he would like to see the team make daily and weekly improvements in its fundamentals, such as blocking, tackling, pass coverage skills and football knowledge.

On offense, the team has been working on the basics.

"We are learning how to do some basic skills, securing the football, team pursuit, tackling, cadence and timing, and how to play together as a team, how to run the ball consistently, and how to pass most effectively," VanDeZande said.

On defense, the Indians are learning about how to match up with an opponent's offense.

"We need to learn a lot about offense, and how to get aligned correctly versus the opponent's offense," VanDeZande said. "Alignment, assignment and effort are the three parts of our evaluation each week."

VanDeZande said the team is very coachable.

"Our guys have a good sense of humor, patience with me and are coachable," VanDeZande said. "We simply need to learn how to perform under pressure."

Improving as a team and growing the team are some of the goals for this year, VanDeZande said.

"Each year, we want to improve on the previous season," VanDeZande said. "But a particularly big challenge for us, as with any school new to the sport of football, is adding players to the roster, and improving our athletic abilities in the weight room."

Russellville football schedule

Aug. 28 - 7 p.m., vs. Missouri Military Academy

Sept. 4 - 7 p.m., at Tipton

Sept. 11 - 7 p.m., at Sweet Springs with Malta Bend

Sept. 19 - 2 p.m., vs. Grandview (Hillsboro)

Sept. 26 - 1 p.m. , at Hogan Prep

Oct. 2 - 7 p.m., vs. Harrisburg

Oct. 9 - 7 p.m., at Paris with Faith Walk

Oct. 16 - 7 p.m., vs. Sherwood

Oct. 23 - 7 p.m., vs. Slater

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