MELROSE, WI -

Melrose-Mindoro would like to take the next step in 2013.

Last season the Mustangs finished third in the Dairyland Conference behind champion Whitehall and runner-up C-FC.

Can Mel-Min now break into that top tier?

"We have to utilize our strength, and our strength is our speed and quickness in our backfield," said Melrose-Mindoro head coach Tom Wisniewski who enters his 16th season.

"We're really going to need to open some lanes for our backs and hopefully give them a chance to show that speed."

To go along with speed is plenty of experience that returns in the backfield.

"We have a lot of returning pieces that were really strong last year," said senior quarterback Ross Anderson. "So it's going to be nice to bring them back and have some experience."

Senior Alex Hatlevig will hope to carry a successful spring on the track onto the football field. The running back was the WIAA Division 3 state champion in the 100 and 200 meter dashes.

"I'm just being aggressive," said Hatlevig. "You know there are guys actually going after you, you're not just running away from everybody."

"It's a good thing and sometimes its frustrating," said Wisniewski when talking about Hatlevig's speed. "Because you want to be able to use it to the best of your ability. It's not always as easy on the football field as it is on the track."