The Dakota Bulldogs are back.
The Mitchell-based amateur football team will kick off another season of playing in the Southern Plains Football League next week.
The Bulldogs are in their third season of action and co-owner Shaun Davis said building a bond has allowed them to continue coming back to the gridiron.
"It's just about building relationships with the players-past and current-and having those relationships evolve into true friendships, where everybody is a family," Davis said. "That's what keeps everybody coming back and wanting to play, and plus we are just guys who love to play the game of football."
The eight-game season was scheduled to start this Saturday, but the opener against the Tri-State Buffalos at Cadwell Sports Complex was rescheduled due to the weather. The Bulldogs will now open the season on April 27 at 3 p.m. against the Watertown Rebels at Cadwell Sports Complex. The Buffalos and Bulldogs will now play on May 5 in Mitchell.
The SPFL features teams from Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa. The regular season continues into late June, with the playoffs running through July.
"We should have a little better team this year," Davis said. "We are hoping to win more than three games this year and actually be a playoff contender."
The Bulldogs will play their home games at the Cadwell Sports Complex and Davis said the goal is for "a couple hundred," fans at each game.
The Bulldogs have 26 players on the roster this season. Wide receiver Jhay Roland returns after leading the team with 15 touchdowns last season. Former Dakota Wesleyan University basketball and football player Brandon Boggs will be the starting quarterback.
Levi Geiman and Rodrick Hawkins both return to anchor the defensive side of the ball. Hawkins also contributes on offense.
"We have got a lot of younger guys on the team that are athletic and ready to play," Davis said. "These guys are a little bit better talent-wise than we have had in the past."