Time To Kick Things Off
Pre-Season Favorite Peshtigo
To Host Kiel In 2013 Opener;
Coleman, Crivitz On The Road
The 2013 high school football season will kick things off Friday night at 7pm as all 7 of the M-O Conference will be hitting the gridiron.
Pre-season conference favorite, Peshtigo, will open the season with a home clash against Kiel, Coleman takes the hike to Northern Elite (Niagara), Crivitz travels to Bonduel, Wausaukee hosts Crandon, defending league champion Suring entertains Laona-Wabeno, Lena-STAA welcomes Mosinee and Gillett takes the hike to White Lake-Elcho.
Following a second week of non-conference action August 29-30, M-O play begins on September 6 and concludes October 18. The first round of the WIAA playoffs are slated for October 25-26 with the state finals in Madison November 21-22.
Bulldogs Return 7
Starters, Look For
With 7 starters returning on each side of the ball, the Peshtigo Bulldogs will be looking to claim their first M-O Conference title since 2009. The 2013 version of the Bulldogs has everything a football program could want...size, quickness, depth, athleticism,football intangibles and a veteran coaching staff.
Leading the Bulldogs will be Sam Komp, who is entering his 12th year (nonconsecutive) as the head coach. Joining Komp on the sidelines will be longtime defensive coordinator Pat Robbins along with Joe Schmidt, Rick Raygo, Ty Schoenebeck, John Berth, Bob Kuchta, Jake Roberts, Matt Johnston and Rick Neumann.
Komp and company had plenty of smiles when practice began on August 6 as 61 players reported for duty. Thirty-four of those players will make up the varsity roster, while Peshtigo will also field a separate jayvee squad.
We return a good senior class and have a junior class with a lot of potential. Our goal is to get better every day. With our returning experience we hope to be in the conference race, Komp said.
Heading the list of returning starters is the M-O lineman of the year and two-time, two-way first team pick Jordan Berth. The 64, 230 pounder will be a force to be reckoned with during his senior season. Other returning starters on offense are linemen Michael Gable (61, 210), Andy Johnston (64, 295), tight end Zach Neumann (63, 200), second team M-O selection quarterback Dakota Keller (63, 200), fullback Michael Vojcihoski (58, 230) and running back Levi Sanborn (61, 165).
Keller has directed the Bulldog offense for the past three season and completed 45-76 passes for 740 yards and 8 touchdowns last year.
Most of those same players will return to defense in first team all-conference picks Berth, Neumann and Sanborn along with linebackers Gunner Kinney (6, 180), Trevor Igl (junior) and sophomore Jake Romenesko. Senior defensive back Jake Veness returns to the secondary.
Five newcomers caught the eye of the Bulldog coaching staff in seniors DJ Messenger (rb/db) and Darius Dohl (lineman 61, 220), juniors Jake Jagielski (qb/lb), Jordan Klaver (lb) and freshman Cameron Lepkowski (line).
With the influx of new players means the departure of some key seniors from last year in linemen Matt Borkovec and Derek Koronkiewicz, running back Derrik Maye and linebackers Dakota Marino and James Brabant.
Peshtigo will entertain a pair of tough non-conference foes to start the season in Kiel on Friday, August 23 and Bonduel August 29.
Kiel is a Division 4 team....watched tape of them and they look good. Run a no huddle spread type of offense that makes you cover everybody, Komp said. We did some good things in the scrimmage last week, but we still have lots of work to do before the season begins.
Peshtigo will hit the road for the M-O opener on September 6 with a trip to Gillett.
Looking ahead to conference play, Komp said... "Coleman always has good athletes and return good players at QB, RB and TE. I expect they will be in the thick of the race. Crivitz will certainly be a threat with Ben Fischer returning. Lost some very good seniors to graduation but have an excellent sophomore class. They probably will be very good when their young players gain experience. Suring-lost a great deal to graduation but they have tough kids and will be a factor. Wausaukee-outstanding athletes in DeLaet and Schlies....will go as far as their line takes them. Gillett-played a lot of youngsters last year, so they should be much improved. Lena-STAA-has a tradition of tough physical kinds. I expect that will continue.
Fischer To Shoulder
Load For Wolverines
Despite returning 15 lettermen, the Crivitz Wolverines will only go as senior halfback/linebacker Ben Fischer goes. The 61 190 pounder had his way with most of the M-O teams last year until some muscle cramps and bruises took a toll late in the season. Fischer led the conference in rushing with 912 yards in 113 carries for an 8.1 yard average as well as scoring 14 touchdowns.
Last year Crivitz finished 5-3 overall and 4-3 in the M-O. Things are looking up this year, especially with the return of those 15 letterwinners. Back for their senior campaign along with Fischer are Adam Slaby, Tim Sotka, Spencer Schwartz, Sam Banaszak (510, 190), Dan Tomaszewski (59, 180), Kolt Collier (60, 205), Cody Bates and Zach Timblin (62, 260).
Juniors expected to play key roles are Colton Lange (64, 175), David Poh and Jake Sawinski along with sophomores Austin Ducaine (6, 215) and receiver Micah Sessler (180).
Our strengths include the return of our backfield, front 8 on defense and players from a jayvee team that went 8-1 last year. There is good talent coming up, Crivitz coach Jeff Ott said. Depth is our biggest weakness.
The Wolverines saw six key players graduate from last years playoff team...first team lineman George Beattie, linebacker/kicker Joe Rodriquez, second team tight end Trevor Gezella and receiver Parker DeLosSantos, honorable mention defensive back Cody Wolf and the schools all-time passing leader in AJ Garcia.
Looking ahead to the M-O, Ott has Peshtigo finishing first followed by his Wolverines, Coleman and Suring.
Crivitz travels to Bonduel for the season opener August 23 and then hits the road for an August 29 date at White Lake. The M-O opener will find longtime rival Wausaukee taking the short trek to Crivitz on Saturday, September 7 at 1pm as part of the 100 year village anniversary celebration.
Experience Will Be Key
For Coleman Football
Last season, the Coleman Cougars relied on a powerful running game and an opportunistic passing attack that came through when needed to lead the way on a 6-3 overall record (4-3 M-O).
Fullback Dexter Karban, as a junior, racked up 1099 rushing yards for an average of 122.1 yards-per game and nine touchdowns while quarterback Trevor Seewald, also a junior in '12, wrapped up the last Cougar campaign with a 107.3 quarterback rating after throwing for 255 yards and five touchdowns. Seewald was also a critical part of the team's running game as he went for 434 yards on 84 attempts, scoring 14 touchdowns along the way on the ground.
The Cougars will need to harness all of that returning game experience if they hope to find success in 2013.
Departed from the roster via graduation are Isaac Nowak, Mason Mergener and Mike Carroll. All three contributed to success in 2012. Carroll and Nowak were both defensive specialists with 6.5 sacks between them on the year while Mergener picked up nearly 590 yards for the team on the ground, scoring seven touchdowns.
And while it might be true that losing only three key guys to graduation should leave the Cougars in pretty good shape heading into this year, concerns about an overall lack of size to the team that could see them worn down by bigger squads, coupled with a lack of depth across the board, has Coleman head coach Jeff Bronson cautiously optimistic about 2013.
Here are some potential starters for this year's Cougars: Seewald at QB, along with a rushing core of Jackson Margis, Zach Zeitler, Marc Lansin and Karban; Collin Kempka, Austin Malecki and the extremely talented CJ Pillath, only a junior this season, will take turns at the tight end spot; Tyler Rosner, Jon Salewski and Joe Styczynski are the top prospects to play on the line.
Rangers Rely On
Skilled Players, 3
Starters Are Back
A trio of talented returning starters is the good news for the Wausaukee Rangers, which boasts a roster of 28 players. Unfortunately for second year head coach Jared Deschane only 9 of those players are upper classmen...3 seniors and 6 juniors. The remainder of the roster consists of 10 sophomores and 9 freshmen.
Leading the Rangers this season will be athletic senior quarterback, Beau DeLaet. The 510, 165 pound signal caller is back directing the offense for the second straight year. Joining DeLaet as a returner is senior lineman Wyatt Tilkens (511, 175) and glue-fingered end Aaron Schlies (61, 165).
Beau will be returning for his second year as a starting quarterback...leadership and ability to both run and pass will be key in helping the Rangers get back on the winning track. Schlies will also be returning and could prove to play a key role in the offense. Our sophomore class continues to have kids with great work ethics who will push for starting spot on the varsity, Deschane said. Question areas will once again be size and inexperience....team will also lack depth at several positions.
Coach Deschane is also relying on a trio of sophomores in running back/linebacker Russell Smith, receiver/linebacker Eric Arndt and lineman Nick Whitman (59, 210).
Probable offensive starters for the Rangers are DeLaet, Schlies, Smith, tight end Nick Adlebush, flanker Conner Kempinski and linemen Ryley Carnot, Teron Piontek, Tilkens, Joe McTrusty and Nick Whitman.
Defensively the Rangers will feature Tilkens, Jamie OMary and Whitman upfront, linebackers Smith, Adlebush, Joey Matchett and Arndt, secondary will be Schlies, Hunter Durian and DeLaet.
Five talented Rangers left the football program via the cap and gown route....Cole Lewandowski, Ryan Nystrom, Dillon Meyers, Mike Wojnicki and Peter Krause.
The Rangers will host Crandon in the season opener Friday before traveling to Laona-Wabeno on August 29. The M-O opener will find Wausaukee heading to Crivitz on a rare Saturday clash starting at 1pm.
The M-O Conference will produce many exciting games for the 2013 season. Peshtigo, Suring and Coleman will have excellent teams with many returning starters...look for Crivitz to be very competitive in the hunt, Deschane added.
Titans Look To
Improve In 2013
Coming off a 3-5 campaign, the Lena-STAA Titans will face a huge challenge to be better this year. Co-head coaches Dale Lange and Ed Huberty welcomed 25 players into camp, including six seniors, 7 juniors, 9 sophomores and 3 freshmen.
Our juniors and seniors will be playing both ways, and with low numbers we will have to fill big gaps with sophomores and possibly some bigger freshmen. Our strong point is that we will play as a team, Lange explained. Most of our starters are new and lost several key players to graduation. Among them were linemen Sam Beschta, and Mikey Kallies receiver Joey Jagiello. In the backfield we need to replace Dominique Ramirez .
Heading the list of seniors back are Kiefer Powers, Blaik Fisher, Bernie Beyer, John Chilcote, Ben Keller along with juniors Stuart Anderson, Garrett Nikolai, Ryan Pullen, Rob Paul (63, 235), Randy Schroeder, Roy OHarrow and Alex Votava.
This season we have nice size in our line but very limited experience and numbers. Most of our starters will see action on both sides of the ball and will have to work hard to fill those voids. Filling the key spots in the line will be John Chilcote, Bernie Beyer and Garrett Nikolai. Receivers will include Roy O'Harrow and Matt Marquardt. Our backfield should be sound with returning starters Kiefer Powers and Blaik Fisher, and newcomer Nick Louis, Lange commented.
Defensively we have some of our linebackers returning and we will have to build off of that. Other players who will need to step up and have improved steadily are Ryan Pullen, Rob Paul, and Dylan Garrigan. Other notable contributors this season should be Keegan Imig, Jacob Nikolai, Travis Nadler and Ben Keller.
The Titans will open the season hosting Mosinee on August 23 before traveling to Menasha St. Mary on Friday, August 30. Suring will be the opponent in the M-O opener on September 6.
The M&O Conference will be very competitive this year with every week being a must win game for everyone. Our goal is to be in the top portion when the season shakes out, and make the playoffs. Several of the tough teams to watch are Peshtigo and Coleman, with Crivitz, Suring and Wausaukee being very balanced, and you can never look past the Gillett team, Lange concluded.
Gillett Looks To
Rebound From 1-7
After going 1-7 last season, there is nowhere to go but up for Gillett. With 15 returning starters, the Tigers are looking to turn some heads in the M-O circuit.
Coach Rick Kamps, who showcased his football talents for Crivitz in the 80s, will direct the Gillett football fortunes. Last year freshman and sophomores were a big part of the Gillett roster, but another year of development in the weightroom has given those players a chance to improve.
We will be young again this year with 25 underclassmen on our team of 40. Several of those young players gained valuable varsity experience last year as freshman, including Alex Zietler (QB/DB), Garrett Kohls (DB) and Brett Milhans (RB/LB). Juniors returning this year are Kody Pawlak who has moved from the FB position to G on offense and then will be at MLB, Matt Peterson (RB/LB), Monte Noffke(RB/LB), Daniel Torres (OL/DE), Evan Bubolz(QB/DB), Cody May(DL/OL) and Tanner Gueller (DT/T). Returning seniors include Dylan Roberts(WR/LB) who led the league last year in per catch average, Korey Badeau(TE/DE), Jake Kasten (TE/DE/P), Eric Fischer (DT) and Bryce Simpson (TE/LB), Kamps said.
Newcomers who have shown signs of being able to help us compete are junior Casey Hertwig (RB/LB), senior Jeremy Rhode (DT) and sophomores Broden Bennin (FB/DE), Dylan Boucher (WR/DB), TC Hamilton (G/DT), Leeland Kahler (WR/DB), Wyatt Schaal (C/DT), Ben Taylor (G/DE), Jacob Timm (C/T), Mitch Umentum (RB/LB), Zach Wiese (T/DE) and Brian Zahn (C/DT).
Also in the mix are freshman Jon Hoeft (G/DT) and sophomores Tanner Rehn (G/DT) and Justin Osgood (T/DT)
As a coaching staff, we are hoping to be able to compete at a higher level this season due to all the experience our young players gained last year. It will be tough, and we will have to stay healthy in order to compete at the level we expect. I anticipate Peshtigo and Coleman once again battling it out for the league championship with Crivitz as the dark horse. Our goal is to be in the next tier of teams where we hope to push those above us in each game, Kamps said.
Looking to run first, Gillett will rely on the legs of junior halfback Monte Noffke, who gained 416 yards on 77 rushes and scored 5 touchdowns in league play last year.
Gillett hosts White Lake-Elcho on August 23 before traveling to Tigerton August 29. The M-O Conference opener will find the Tigers entertaining pre-season favorite Peshtigo on September 6 at 7pm.
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