Area Gridders Eager For ActionIssue Date: August 16, 2018
Bayerl's Bulldogs Bring
New Look to the Gridiron
A year ago, Two Rivers and Peshtigo met in the first week of the season, but the team the Pirates see on Friday when the teams open 2018 will be very different than the one they beat 25-14.
Jeff Bayerl has replaced Eric Seyler as head football coach, and he's bringing the single wing offense with him.
"That'll be a totally different animal for them, too, because we ran a very limited single wing in that first game against them last year," Bayerl said of Two Rivers. "This year, we're going to have the full package, so they'll have their hands full."
He said last season, he was under offensive constraints, but those won't hold back the offense he wants to run this season.
"Last year, we were kind of handcuffed as to what we had put in, and I had to stay in those parameters rather than put in stuff that I could have had in," Bayerl said. "This year, it's a full year of our stuff, so that will help."
He returns all-conference first team running back Jerod Jandt, who will look to lead the Bulldogs in their second full season in the Packerland Conference.
In last season's playoff matchup with the Wrightstown Tigers, the top seed in the bracket, on Oct. 20, Jandt ran for 265 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown. The Bulldogs had a chance to upset the Tigers, but came up just short.
Last year, the Bulldogs struggled to adapt to the Packerland after the move from the M&O, going 3-3 in conference play. That'll be their focus this season.
Southern Door beat the Bulldogs 21-19, and it's been a few years since they've lost a Packerland game.
"Until somebody beats them, they're the king of the conference," Bayerl said. "They haven't lost a conference game in five years and I think it's time for that to change. We'd like to be the ones that'll do it."
Southern Door isn't the only good ballclub in the conference, however. Kewaunee and Oconto each beat Peshtigo last season, and Sturgeon Bay figures to be good again as well.
Things are looking up for the Bulldogs, who are up to 34 players on the team from 24 at the end of last season. Bayerl estimated that nine or ten of those returning were starters last season.
Nick Nielson returns to the wing back and linebacker position. Mitchell VanVooren will play tight end and Joe Sodini will return as a linebacker and in the offensive backfield, though Bayerl's team doesn't figure to pass as much as past Peshtigo teams.
They'll likely want to take advantage of VanVooren, who showed what he can do in a 159-yard, two-touchdown performance against Coleman last season.
The offense is settled in with the single wing, but the defense can fluctuate on a week-to-week basis.
"We're going to play defense dictated based on what we see on film. When we get against Two Rivers next week, it's going to be a different animal," Bayerl said. "Our defense is going to change predicated on the team we're going to play."
Heading into his first full season, Bayerl is living a dream, and ready to go along for the ride that is the high school football season.
"The community seems like they're getting on board, it sounds like a lot of fun and I'm just going to be along for the ride," he said.
Other returning players for the Bulldogs include seniors Aiden Bohaczek, Max Rauch, Nick Parrett, Travis Plym, Jared Potkay, Reilly Winters, Reese Demarce, Zach Lemahieu and Tyler Salzman, juniors Mitchell Peters, Gunner Sommers and Jordan Riebe, sophomores, Preston Rehwinkel, John Schaut, and Dylan Sommers.
Bayerl's coaching staff consists of assistants Pat Robbins, Rick Raygo, Lucas Pedersen, and volunteer assistants John Berth, Blake VanVooren and Alex Harper.
Marines Begin 2018
Season With Experience
Some might say that the Marinette Marines football team has the potential to be a good team heading into the 2018 season, but head coach Andy Walters doesn't want to talk about potential.
"I hate the word potential, but I don't know what other word to use," Walters said. "I do think the potential is there, but as far as I'm concerned, potential is just a bunch of talk, and potential doesn't win you ball games. We want to see it on the field."
The Marines went 3-6 last season, with wins over Oconto Falls, Clintonville and Denmark, but they return a lot of experience, hoping players will have grown in the past year.
Jake Poetzl returns as a first-team Tight End in the North Eastern Conference and second-team defensive player. Sam Drees returns to the backfield following an honorable mention in the NEC. He'll run behind standout offensive lineman Sean Holk.
With no huge personnel changes, Marinette won't make any "wholesale changes," Walters said. He does have some personnel that will allow him to spread the field some more, but the Marines won't change their identity overnight.
"Different skillsets allow you to do different things and so each year is going to be unique," Walters said. "As far as that goes, we feel we have some skill guys that can do some different things and spread people out a little bit, but our bread and butter is definitely going to be running the football."
They'll pass the ball, but they don't want to be forced into slinging the ball on late downs.
"We want to be able to throw it when we want to throw it, not when we have to throw it," Walters said.
The Marines' numbers are up, with about 60 kids out for football. In the past, Marinette has had numbers in the 40s. That could have a big impact this upcoming season.
"That's going to help us in all facets of the game: special teams, offense and defense, and not having as many two-way players," Walters said. "That was one of our biggest issues last year. We were able to play teams tough, but at the end of games we ended up wearing down and falling apart a little bit and I think that some of that had to do with fatigue."
What's going to get the wins, according to Walters, is discipline, attitude, work and effort, not talent or numbers.
"Being better at the detail things and discipline this year and having the better attitude, that's what's going to win us football games," Walters said. "If we think we're entitled because we have a couple of talented guys, that we're going to win football games, we're going to be in for a rude awakening. There's no entitlement, there's no potential, we just have to do what we're coached, and we have to out-effort and out-work people."
The Marines could be in for a rude awakening regardless of preparation, however, as they're in possibly one of the toughest Division-II conferences in the state.
Wrightstown is consistently good, while Little Chute, Freedom and Luxemburg-Casco are strong teams as well.
"I can argue up and down with anybody that we are the best non-DI conference in the state," Walters said. "We have four or five teams every year that are toward the top of the conference and make deep playoff runs and the programs have strong traditions, so they're not just here today, gone tomorrow teams that have make the playoffs. It's a tough conference."
The Marines will get their first shot at that top tier of teams on Friday, when they head to Wrightstown to take on the Tigers at 7 p.m.
Begins to Prep
The Coleman Cougar Football team is preparing for another season on the area gridiron and Head Coach Jeff Bronson is looking forward to seeing what his guys can do this season.
"Basically we are returning our entire team from last year," said Bronson. "Every offensive lineman is back so the hope is that they have all improved from last year. Jacob Zeitler has been a varsity member since his freshman year and Blake Forner since his sophomore year so we have two backs with plenty of experience. Defensively, our front should be better than last year. Defensive line should be markedly better as they are all back from last year" Brock Martinson, Justin Pleshek, Mason Risner, Torry Deastell."
Before the season gets going in earnest the Cougars are hoping to make a few improvements. that will help compensate for lower overall numbers this year.
"Overall our depth is lacking," said Bronson. "We Have a total of 33 out for football. Any injuries at quarterback or runningback will set us back considerably as there is basically no depth at those two spots. Defensive back field is a huge question mark heading into the season. That group, like the offensive line needs to improve by leaps and bounds."
Sizewis, what is Coleman big to us, is not big to other schools that we play. We are still a relatively young team as this year's team only has six seniors on the roster. The underclassmen's development has to increase for us to compete for a playoff spot again."
Returning letterman are sophomores, Tyler Blanchard,, Cayden Bintz, Spencer Karban, while Juniors include Trevor Risner, Sam Kuchta, Payton Nelson, John Bieber, Joel Styczynski, Justin Pleshek,. This years seniors are Blake Forner, Jacob Zeitler, Mason Risner, Sr Brock Martinson and Torry Deastell.
Joining Bronosn on the sidelines will be assistant coaches Keith Long, Andy Kaufmann and Jeremy Brady. While Adrianna Heartache will be the teams manager.
Freshman players include Noah Nosgovitz, Cole Klimek , John Zirbel Jesse Borcherdt Joe King and Kyle Vandenack. Sophomores on the roster this season are Gabby Schulte, Easton Sailer, Spencer Karban, Coby DenRuyter, Jordan Hockers, Cahl Szabo and Bryan Soule.
Juniors taking the field this season include Tyler Olsen, Chaz Sleeter, Hunter Woulf, Jayden Scott, Justin Pleshek, Austin Payette, Austin Heinze and Zack Cops.
The Lena St. Thomas Aquinas Titan Co-Op football team has laced up their cleats and taken to the practice field as the school year approaches and according to Head Coachs Dale Lange and Ed Huberty, things look good.
"Titans Football has been a CO-OP for the last 15 seasons and we are in our fifth season as 8-man," said Lange. "Last year the Titans were 4-5 in the Great 8 North Division. Losses to graduation are definitely going to make some holes in the offense and defense. The loss of Tyler Stuart and Christian Hornick, who played in the State All-Stars game, along with All Conference receiver and defensive back Jack Farley, will be our main concern. Other key players lost to graduation Joey Faucett at nose guard Derek Younger and Josh Bostwick our big linemen. These seniors were our anchors on both offense and defense.
Lange went on to mention the players he thinks will be taking the roles of those who have departed due to graduation. "Filling some big shoes again this year will be receiver Colby Borchert, quarterback Simon Gard, running back Trenton Telford, our power back Bryce Hosking, receiver John Jagiello, linemen Colt Carrols, and senior linebacker and center Tyson Marquardt," said Lange. "They will be our building blocks for the offense and defense and will see action on both sides of the ball along with newcomer Hayden Knox. To be successful we will need several of our younger to step up and fill starting positions like Brennan Cyr-Smith, Richard Fieck, Frank Desjarlais, Brian Ermis, Logan Shallow and Mason Simonson just to mention a few."
Though experience may be lacking from the roster Lange doesn't see this as a problem. "We are very young but we are hoping to have a good showing in the conference this year which has expanded to pick up Florence. Strong teams include Wausaukee, Sevastopol, NEW Lutheran and Gibraltar. Gillett, Menominee Indian and Oneida will be much improved and could easily be the dark horse in the race. This will be the first season that there will be an 8-man State Playoff, with an 8 team field though out the state."
Freshman on this years roster include Logan Shallow, James DesJarlais, Mason Simonson, Blake DeDamos, Kaden Frewerd. Sophomores are Brance Bethke, Miles Meloney, Griffin Knox, Frank DesJarlais, Richard Fieck and Brennan Cyr-Smith.
Juniors include Colby Borchert, Brian Ermis, Simon Gard, Bryce Hosking and Trenton Telford while seniors are Hayden Knox, John Jagiello, Tyson Marquardt and Colt Carrols.
Fritz Weiden will also be joining the coaching staff as an assistant.
Wausaukee Looks to
Take Control of
The Wausaukee Ramgers jumped into a new conference last season and a new game as they switched to 8-man football. This season they will be looking to take what they learned from last year an turn it into wins for the Ranger machine.
At head coach will be Grant Russ, he will be joined by assistant coaches Dave Lindbeck, Joe Thompson, Kurt Stumbris, Justin Forst and Steve Renikow.
"Our biggest strength this year will be our speed and athleticism on both sides of the ball," said Russ. "We feel that having a year of 8-man football under our belt is helping us get off to a quicker start this year. We return quite a few players on each side of the ball. We have been able to install a little more offense and defense so far compared to last year when we were figuring the 8-man game out."
Russ's main concern going into the season is numbers and what that could mean if an injury coccured.
"This year we will once again be a smaller team that will be outsized at many positions," said Russ. "We will need to distribute the workload and be more diverse on offense compared to last season. Defensively our biggest question mark will be our ability to defend the passing game of the better throwing teams in our conference."
Russ took time to discuss the competition amongst the conference as well saying, "There will be several teams with the potential to win the conference this year. All of the top teams from last year return many starters and will have good senior classes. Sevastopol, NEW Lutheran, Gibraltar, and Gillett should be near the top. Lena is losing quite a few players from last year's team but they are well coached and will be a tough out. Menominee Indian and Oneida Nation are losing some good skill players, but both have good size and good offenses and will be competitive."
Returning starters include Kyle Struve, Quentin Unferth, Joey Rozivka, Andy Schaal, Tyler Gruszynski, Hayden Renikow and Tristin Pollard while other key players include Justin Parr, Brandon Shigouri, Ethan Stumbris, Cooper Rollo, Devin Verstrate, and Corey Boesen
Also join gin the roster are Dagen Bales, Kamden Stumbris, Dyllan Thoreson, Devin Brunette, Dillan Newburry, Dominick Brunette, Alex Wojcik, Carlton Deschane, Coltin Ristow, Peter Durian, Will Koester and Brendan Versaskas.
Managers for this year's team are Christian Deschane, Emma Forst, Isaac Forst, Ryan Wojcik and Connor Schroeder.
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