HEPPNER - Heppner 15-year head coach Greg Grant knows how to build a football program.
He begins by scheduling strong preseason opponents every season to test his players.
This year is no different as Grant penciled in the Amity Warriors long ago, knowing his team would need a battle to open the 2004 campaign.
Amity has won five of the past six Class 2A football titles and has played in six straight championship games. The Warriors have won six Class 2A titles overall.
Heppner returns several players from last year's squad that earned a fifth-consecutive Columbia Basin Conference title before losing to Myrtle Point in the Class 2A quarterfinals.
Heppner turns to junior quarterback Matt Van Cleave, who replaces the vacancy left behind by graduated Chuy Elguezabal. The Mustangs will also lean on the leadership of senior running back Tyler Boyer.
The Mustangs outscored their CBC opponents 355-32 and extended their CBC win streak to 35 games last year.
Grant's idea of a tough preseason schedule has paid dividends as the Mustangs have gone 56-10 since 1998.