Bulldogs Look To Retain Top Spot In Loop; Coleman, Crivitz, Wausaukee Hope To Be In The Mix
This weekend marks the start of the 2014 high school football season as TimesLand teams kick things off with a full slate of games.
Peshtigo will host Kewaunee, The Cougars take on the Northern Elite squad in Coleman, Wausaukee will be on the road to take on Crandon, Gillett takes on Elcho/White Lake in Elcho, Suring is on the road versus Wabeno/Laona.
Local squads will get a taste of M-O Conference action starting on September 5th as Peshtigo will host the Northern Elite Predators, Crivitz heads to Keshena to take on Menominee Indian, Wausaukee heads to Elcho to take on Elcho/White Lake and Gillett hosts Laona/Wabeno, all crossover games.
In Bay Conference action, the Marinette Marines start within the loop as they will be traveling to Denmark this week for a Thursday game while the Lena-STAA Titans have made the switch to eight-man football and will be headed to Madison for a Saturday matchup with Abundant Life Christian, set to kickoff at 1pm.
Putting Things Together
Last season, the Peshtigo High football team won its first M-O Conference championship since 2009. The team posted a 6-0 conference record (8-2 overall) and was dominant throughout the regular season under now-retired head coach Sam Komp.
Taking over for Komp will be new head coach Eric Seyler. From the Two Rivers area, coach Seyler draws experience from time spent coaching for programs like West DePere and Little Chute and will be assisted by Pat Robbins, Rick Raygo, Jake Roberts, Matt Johnston, Tye Schoenebeck, John Berth, Rick Neumann and Keith LeMahieu.
The Bulldogs will take to the field this Friday at home against Kewaunee with a distinctively new look, both in personnel and as far as the game plan goes. Peshtigo is working overtime during its practice sessions to get new linemen up to speed as it lost all of its starting frontmen to graduation last spring, including M-O lineman of the year Jordan Berth. Also gone from last years squad are starting quarterback Dakota Keller, tight end/linebacker Zach Neuman, linebacker Gunner Kinney, lineman Andy Johnston and defensive back Jacob Vaness, all of whom were first-team selections to the all-conference roster in 2013.
I think its a matter of gaining some experience on the offensive and defensive lines, said Bulldogs assistant coach Pat Robbins. Thats what we really need at this point and it can be a process. It takes time.
Success in 2014 will hinge on the Bulldogs ability to overcome inexperience, particularly in the trenches. But the Bulldogs have some talent on their roster this year to be sure. Returning are running backs Trevor Igl (60, 190), Steve Strojny (510, 165), both seniors, as well as junior Kyle Gokey (511, 170). As for the teams passing attack, likely starting quarterback, senior Jake Jagielski (59, 200) will have some tall targets to throw to in juniors Jake Romanesko (65, 200) and Matt Miller (61, 185) as well as senior Marcus Sharkey (62, 180). The majority of these skill position players on offense are also going to play a big role on the defensive side of the ball.
This seasons Peshtigo team will be shifting from a double-wing style offense to a more straightforward, shotgun approach to getting the ball down the field.
Its the pace of the offense thats changing, Robbins commented. We plan on using some no-huddle but the main thing is just getting the players familiar with new formations and understanding where they need to be.
Other returning players for this years team include seniors Jacob Bloch, Lance Crevier, Wade Crevier, Mike Houska, Jordan Klaver, Tim Lange and Brian Shevy. Sophomore Cameron Lepkowski, as well as juniors Drake Koenigs, and Tyler Schaetz are also likely to see playing time.
Cougars Look To
Be Strong In 14
The Coleman varsity squad enjoyed a 7-2 overall record for last years campaign and made it to Level 2 in the postseason by virtue of a 28-12 win over Crivitz in Level 1 action. This year, the Cougars are looking to remain as competitive as ever despite the loss of some key contributors to graduation. Head coach Jeff Bronson will be looking to replace the production of Trevor Seewald as well as running back Dexter Karban, both of whom had tremendous 2013 campaigns as seniors, This will require increased roles for some players in the Cougars healthy stable of runners including senior back Brandon Pagel and sophomore Austin Tachick.
We will look to again divide carries to keep teams honest, said coach Bronson. Pagel and Tachick are more than capable of creating big plays. The goal this year is to attempt to be a little more balanced. We have seen teams play us with eight or nine in the box and we do have the potential to throw the ball this year a bit more.
Coach Bronson identifies a few key things that he believes will determine how his teams season will unfold. Low numbers this year within the program will limit the Cougars depth and therefore its especially important for Coleman to avoid injury. Bronson will also be looking for a lot of sophomores to get up to speed and contribute right away and he knows his young offensive line needs to gel quickly.
That said, the team will feature some strengths to accompany what should be a solid running attack. Colemans starting defensive line from last season remains intact and will continue to be disruptive when allowed to penetrate while Pagel will also look to make big plays on defensive as he develops into a potential shut-down corner.
Other Cougars returning from last year include Blake Margis, who started for the Cougars at quarterback last season as a sophomore, CJ Pillath, Joe Styczynski, Marc Lansin, Kevin Lansin, Jody Styczynski, Alex Stodola and Collin Kempka. Joining the varsity ranks from JV this season are Gunnar Patz, Josh PIllath, Donovan Salewski, Austin Tachick and Hunter Stodola, as well as a pair of first-year players in Blaine Ermis and Nick Sailer.
Rangers Look To Make
Mark In Competitive M-O
Third-year head coach Jared Deschane is looking forward to some improved play from his Wausaukee squad this season as the team hopes to go from a two-win program in 2013 to a contender for one of the top spots in the M-O standings when the dust settles on this years upcoming campaign.
Key starters returning from last seasons team are Eric Arndt, who will now take over at the quarterback position following the loss of Beau DeLaet, as well as Aaron Schiles (WR/DB), Russell Smith (RB/LB), Nick Whitman (OL/DL), Ryley Carnot (OL/DL), Teron Piontek (OL), Conner Kempinski (WR/DB) and Joey Matchett (LB).
our program numbers have taken an upward turn and we look forward to the opportunity to have some depth at several positions, said coach Deschane. Were hoping that this depth will allow us to be more competitive in practice and allow some of our players an opportunity to rest during games.
Other probable starters for Wausaukee this season include Austin Dunlap, Joe McTrusty, Hunter Durian and Landen Wallace.
No Let Up For Crivitz
Losing players like Ben Fischer, 1st-team all-conference running back as well as an all-region and honorable mention for the all-state squad, in addition to first-team all conference selections from 2013 Kolt Collier and Zach Timblin will no doubt be a challenge for coach Jeff Otts Wolverines going forward this year.
But the Crivitz gang is deep. They will suit up 25 players for varsity this season, which will be the best participation number the team has enjoyed in more than a decade and all but two of those players are upperclassmen.
In 2013, the Wolverines went 5-2 in the M-O (6-3 overall) and were one of the better performing squads in the loop. Crivitz is geared up for another dogfight within the conference schedule and if its young offensive line can come together quickly, they expect to be right in the thick of things at the end of the season.
Starters for this years Wolverines roster are familiar faces who will likely be solid contributors in Colton Lange (QB), Jake Sawinski ((FB/S), Nicholas Chapman (RB/LB) and Micah Sessler (WR/S) along with Cameron Fischer (TE/DE), Tommy Sawinski (OL/DE), Austin Ducaine (OL/DE), Alex Zenil (OL/LB), Arthur Dama (OL/DL) and Trevor Maye (OL/DE).
Tigers To Draw
The Gillett Tigers finished last season with a 3-4 record in M-O play (4-5 overall) and coach Rick Kamps is looking for his experienced group of players to make the jump to the top of the conference pile in 2014. The Tigers will be without a favorite target on offense this season with the loss of 1st-team wideout Dylan Roberts to graduation but the teams depth should pay dividends as the year moves along.
Alex Zeitler s a lock to start at quarterback but aside from that position, the Tigers will be tuning their starting depth chart right up to the last minute. There are a lot of juniors and seniors vying for time this year and there is some serious size to the 2014 squad. GIllett currently has eight players weighing in at 200 pounds or more, which will no doubt help up front. For the returning lettermen who will be seniors this season, Gillett will have Monte Noffke (RB/OLB), Matt Peterson (RB/OLB), Daniel Torres (OL/DE), Tanner Gueller (DT), Kody Pawlak (G/LB), Cody May (DT), Evan Bubolz (WR/DB) and Cody Moffat (OL/DT). Returning lettermen from this years junior class are Zeitler, Brett Milhans (FB/LB),Brian Zahn (C/DT) Jacob Timm (T/DT), Mitch Umentum (RB/LB), Broden Bennin (FB/DE), Leeland Kahler (WR/DB), Ben Taylor (TE/DT) and TC Hamilton (OL/DL), along with sophomore Jon Hoeft (DL/ILB).
Assisting coach Kamps this year are Dave Havlovitz and Tim Christensen.
Lena-STAA To Compete
In Eight-Man Ball
Its a whole new world of football for the Lena-STAA Titans this year. With school enrollment below 200, the Titans have opted to take part in an emerging eight-man format that is helping to level the playing field for smaller schools across the state.
The Titans have already played a scrimmage under the new format and got a look at future opponents Three Lakes as well as Oakfield and the competition, according to co-head coach Dale Lange, who will be piloting the squad along with Ed Huberty, was fast paced and exciting.
This is our first season Playing eight-man football so we will have to adjust to the fast pace of this game and convince people that this is real football, commented Lange. Its blocking, tackling, running, passing and catching the football. We have a full schedule and know very little about our opponents so this will be a challenge for the coaching staff on game preparations
Most of the teams starters are new as the Titans lost several key players to graduation. Among them were Linemen Bernie Beyer, and John Chilcote in addition to Kiefer Powers in the backfield. Filling the key spots in the line will be Rob Paul, Ryan Pullen, Dylan Garrigan, Stuart Anderson & Garrett Nikolai. Receivers will include Austin Lange, Levi Carlson and Matt Marquardt. In the backfield, the Titans will have Nash Haney, Travis Nadler and Keegan Imig. Defensively, the team will have some of its linebackers returning and will have to build off of that. This season Lena-STAA has have nice size in its line but very limited experience in its numbers. Most of the starters will see action on both sides of the ball and will have to work hard to fill voids. Other players who will need to step up and have improved steadily are Dylan Marquardt, Jacob Staidl, and Dalton Anderson and Steve Rover. Other notable contributor this season Randy Schroeder, Riley LaFave and Matt Meyer.
Recent stories, opinions and photos