young boys into men.
The summer after losing his father ....he joined the
Warriors coaching staff.
Brent 48/41 That's what the great thing about football
Is, that you can take a situation like that, and you
can do one of two things.
You can shell up, and turn the road, and find alternatives
to ease the pain, or you can channel that to something
positive like Tanner's done, and turn himself into
a great Warrior football player, and that's what we're
very excited about with him.
Tanner and Brent .
Warriors at heart.
Tanner 33/06 It makes me feel good.
Honoring my dad feels kind of good too, I guess.
Letting him know that I miss him,.
Brent 49/44 That's probably what drives me, every
friday night, looking up at the lights, there's something
bigger out there than what we're doing here.
It's always just a game and it's all about having
For the 2-nd straight season .
Caledonia will dedicate one of its games to raise
money to tackle cancer .
as part of an initiative by the Minnesota Football
Definitely an example of the good that comes from
We're looking forward to all the good this season.
Thanks to our hard-working crew behind the scenes
working on this special .
and every night to bring you the most highlights.
Enjoy the season .
and we'll see you after the games on the News 8 Highlight
Don't dream about it, go out and get it.
Music, nat sound
I guess what I'd say to the team first night of the
first game is....well guys it's been a lot of hard
work to get here...guys this is why we've all been
practicing the last two and a half weeks for...all
the work is done, you've put the time in the weight
room...and now let's go beat somebody...boys you will
only get a few more of these in your life...let's
go out and have as much fun as we can...opening night
there is nothing like it...one of the things that
makes football so special is that there are so few
games...don't miss a moment...live in the moment...create
those memories...never look back...believe in your
teammates...go out...let it all loose...play every
play....like it's your last play...play between the
whistles...leave it all on the field...and do your
best...it's a new season...everybody is 0-0....seniors
this is your last first game you'll ever play in...this
is your football team...you are there for yourself
but you are there for that person next to you...let's
dominate in everything that we do...we're going to
have some fun tonight...there are guys sitting up
in the stands that will probably chop off a couple
digits to come play in this game...Friday nights,
it's here...are you ready...it's high school football
season and it is time...let's go.
Welcome to the News 8 Highlight Zone High School Football
Another season of high school football in the Coulee
Region is here!
Thanks for joining us .
I'm Gregg Wavrunek.
And I'm Kyle Deckelbaum.
We're gonna help you get geared up .
by breaking down five Wisconsin conferences and schools
Plenty of expert analysis on the way as well.
Let's get right to it ...
Starting with the team that just continues to make
runs deep into the postseason .
The Rangers return one of the most electrifying players
in the state .
Last year as a junior ...he was an A-P first-team
all-state selection as an all-purpose player.
Much of his big plays came off kick and punt returns.
But he's just as dangerous on offense .
whether he's lined up as a receiver or out of the
He's our leader, we revolve our offense by him.
We use him as a decoy.
And when he gets the ball you never know what's going
to happen, he can cut across the field or he can go
down the middle.
Those guys like him that have that unbelievable speed,
but then they can change direction and it's not like
they lose anything - those guys are amazing.
They're just game changers you know.
When things aren't blocked correctly they can still
score a touchdown and you got to love guys like that.
?? So just how fast is Elmore??
We put a GoPro camera on him at practice .
take a look at this!
Hi I'm Aric Elmore and I go to Logan High School and
I'm a receiver and free safety for the Logan football
Punt returning and kick returning, it's mainly about
seeing the hole and going right through.
Doing your part and let them do their part.
First off I like to follow my blocker like the guy
next to me Kyle Backalars is usually with me, I like
to follow him.
Then we go up there and I see the hole and then right
when I see that hole I hit it.
The defenders, they are going to be quick too, some
will be quick.
So you got to know what you're doing before they do
it that's why you've got to be quicker then them.
We work really hard on you having to beat one defender.
If you have one defender left you have to have a move
So I just put that through my head if I have one defender
I do a juke or stiff arm him, or something.
I've got to score.
It's just awesome being on those special teams with
these people, my friends, and my team out there.
I love it.
Elmore had a handful of returns brought back due to
Head coach Casey Knoble says clean blocking is a major
point of emphasis at camp.
On the south side of town .
Central has its own do-it-all player.
His name is Jarred Ambrose.
He plays running back .
defensive back .
he kicks .
he punts .
he even gets a few reps under center.
You'd think he's spent years perfecting everything.
But not the case!
The Red Raiders senior started playing high school
football for the first time last season.
AMBROSE: Some of the seniors last year that I was
good friends with like Mitchell, he like influenced
me to come out.
Might as well do it, get you tougher...stuff like
that so I came out.
SERVAIS: He's very, very talented kid,you know, nice
I'd classify him more as an athlete than just one
ALVARADO: I was really excited when he said he was
going to join because I knew he was a great athlete
and he was going to be a great key piece to our offense
and now running it and realizing he's going to be
there every Friday night.
It's going to be great.
Get some on three, 1-2-3, get some wooo!
Do not count out the defending champs .
The Vikings' first loss of the season came in level
three of the playoffs.
But they've got holes to fill.
Eight starters return, five on offense and three on
But despite graduating nine all-conference players
they like their chances.
KING: We've been preaching hey you've got to make
your own memories this year and if we get better every
day, like we've been preaching we get better every
day, we'll be okay.
DIENGER: We gotta work hard you know we're not as
big, don't have as big as like the big time players
like we did last year time, so everyone else has got
to step up, have each others backs.
ANDERSON: We got the talent, we got the speed, we
got the strength you know everyone just needs to step
up and do their job.
Coming up .
there's a new member of the M-V-C.
See reaction from around the league.
Arcadia has pretty much everyone coming back that
I know of so they'll be the favorites for sure.
The Raiders stand out in the Coulee.
We'll show you why .
as we make stops at 30 schools .
on both sides of the Mississippi River.
Honoring my dad feels kind of good too, I guess.
Letting him know that I miss him.
How football is more than a sport for these Caledonia
it's a coping mechanism.
And we tell you why De Soto will play with a little
extra motivation this year.
All that and more .
on the News 8 Highlight Zone High School Football
KRALL: My reaction is we're very, very disappointed.
GUNDERSON: We've talked about, what are your alternatives?
That was last October .
after the W-I-A-A board of control votes to move West
Salem into the M-V-C for football only.
This is a story we've been following for the last
couple of years.
Administrators could A" .
accept the conference move .
take a four-year postseason ban .
or "C" .
become an independent.
They're joining the M-V-C.
That starts this season, Gregg.
And Kyle .
West Salem's attitude about its new conference has
The team now says they're excited about what lies
NATS FROM PRACTICE ...
At West Salem .
a new season .
new coach .
and new conference.
Jehn It's an opportunity for us.
That's how we look at it.
We're always going to have a competitor on the field.
Now it's a different school, sometimes some bigger
schools to compete against.
But we really need to prepare the same way.
Players see the positives too.
Kastenschmidt I really wanted to be in the MVC.
I thought it could mean some good things.
Schauf We can't change anything so seeing as they're
better schools in the MVC that we can play and get
more competiton, that helps us
get ready for the postseason.
?? But what about the rest of the league?? ?? How
do other teams feel about their new conference rival??
Yashinsky It's nice now that we don't have to find
a non conference game in the middle of the season.
They're a competitive team.
Plueger I'm excited.
I think they're a great fit for our league I think
they're gonna continue to have success as long as
making our league even better.
Blaha You're bringing a team that's been to the state
title game, what, three times in the last 15 years?
BUTT So they're going to be competitive day one.
King We expect them to be
a very good fit in our conference.
And once they get used to the regimen, week in and
week out in the MVC, I think they're going to be a
very good football program in our conference.
One potential downside .
an 8-team league could hurt teams on the edge of qualifying
for the postseason.
Yashinsky To get in the playoffs, you gotta win four
There's no five hundred record in conference anymore
with the odd number of conference games.
But overall .
Plueger Definitely, looking forward to having them
in our league.
And that feeling is now mutual.
West Salem's first M-V-C game is September 5th at
home against Tomah.
Aquinas is coming off a tough season.
They return three starters on defense .
four on offense .
and have to replace standout running back Robert Wettstein.
Not to mention .
the Blugolds only have 33 out for the team .
down from 46 a year ago.
But it's much easier handling all this your 2-nd time
Year two for head coach Tom Lee .
who of course took over for Dan Coughlin.
LEE: We were talking just as a staff how much further
along we feel than we did 365 days ago.
CURTI: Coach Lee's really energetic and practice is
fun with him because he's always running around.
LEE: For sure we're more efficient out here on the
That kind of helps keep practice moving in tempo and
that kind of stuff.
Pound the Rock
While that's still important .
head coach Tom Yashinsky wants to add a new dimension.
That's why they're *running* a new offense.
It's faster .
and maybe just what the
Hilltoppers need to take conference.
YASHINSKY: We're trying to play faster, we're trying
to go up tempo a little bit and just get the guys
to the line quicker and get them firing off.
SWEENEY: With the new offense and everything, I think
it's just no one is going to expect anything from
us and so we just have to go out and prove them wrong.
MARCON: With our new offense, I think that quick pace
is going to help us contend up there in the conference.
The Tomah Timerbwolves are no strangers to success
in the M-V-C.
They've made the playoffs six of the last seven seasons.
?? The year they missed ??
Now the Timberwolves are hungrier than ever.
And its giving coach Brad Plueger's team motivation
to start a *new* streak.
EWEIN: It would mean everything.
That's kind of what this season is right now, we're
kind of shooting for the playoffs.
WAGENSON: It'd mean a lot to me, the team, also our
PLUEGER: I thought our senior leadership has been
outstanding and they understand that it wasn't very
fun last year not making the playoffs.
Sparta looking for a turn around season.
Look for a bigger role for running back Matt Hampel.
He'll line up in the backfield for the second straight
after leading the Spartans in rushing in 20-13.
HAMPEL: It's definitely different because you have
to have a bigger role.
We had people we looked up to last year, now we're
being those guys.
BLAHA: Having the confidence and the calmness and
not having so many butterflies, we need those leaders.
Here's a look at last year's M-V-C standings.
The Vikings cruised to an undefeated mark .
their 1-st conference title since 2003.
Logan and Central .
right on their heels .
followed by Onalaska .
Sparta and Aquinas.
Once again .
we're excited to welcome one of .
if not *the* authoritative voice when it comes to
high school football in Wisconsin .
Wis sports dot net's Travis Wilson.
He'll join us throughout the show to break down all
five Wisconsin conferences in our area.
Here's *his* take on the M-V-C.
The level of play in the Mississippi Valley Conference
has continued to increase and last year was a true
showcase for the potential and talent of the league's
Holmen, La Crosse Logan, and La Crosse Central combined
for 6 post-season victories and the rest of the state
I spoke to a Madison area coach recently whose teams
have gone up against many of the MVC teams in the
He spoke very highly of the improvement in the league,
especially the physicality.
Holmen was the unbeaten league champ in 2013 and took
Oshkosh North to overtime before falling in level
A large senior group that included a number of two-way
standouts and many of the top offensive performers
has graduated but the cupboard is far from bare for
head coach Steve King.
Charlie Serauskas is one of the top two way players
in the entire state acceling at offensive line and
Runningback/Defensive Back Chris Magnuson returns
as well as a standout on both offense and defense.
The program was outstanding at all levels last season
as the varsity, JV, and freshman teams combined to
La Crosse Logan has taken significant steps forward
in recent season under head coach Casey Knoble culmonating
in a Division 3 state semi-final run last year where
they went down to eventual champ Monona Grove.
All-Conference running back Raekwon Tillman and two
way standout Calvin Wright have graduated, but the
Rangers return one of the most electric and explosive
playmakers in the entire state senior reciever Aric
Elmore was a first team All-Conference selection last
year and also added 300 yards on the ground with five
touchdowns in the kick return game with several more
called back due to penalties.
La Crosse Central has won 16 games over the past 2
seasons but with just 6 letter winners and 3 starters
returning head coach Tony Servais' group will have
their work cut out for them to compete in 2014.
Onalaska head coach Tom Yashinsky is one of a number
of outstanding young coaches in the conference and
has led the Hilltoppers to 3 straight post-season
The backfield will be a strength in 2014 where Alex
Gumz returns missing a number of games due to injury
last year and Ryan Williams is a second year starting
One of the big stories in the off-season centered
around the at time contentious process which moved
West Salem from the Coulee Conference into the Mississippi
Valley for football.
The changes kept coming in the offseason as long time
head coach Wayne Sackett resigned in late July.
Justin Jehn was hired as the team transitions into
Coming up .
there he is .
the state title winner .
former Aquinas head coach Dan Coughlin .
back for another season with us.
We'll sit down with him .
Ground and pound boy so it's going to be an interesting
We got to win this game.
Got to win every game but you got to win this game.
Just like my wife and most things .
they don't listen to me.
I think there's a good chance that these two teams
could see each other in late October, early November
but for right now, this is going to be a huge game.
If I was a betting man I would have to think thats,
if I were West Salem I'd be prepared to enter the
Seems like just yesterday we were shooting the News
8 Highlight Zone High School Football Preview Show.
It goes by in a hurry.
It does go by in a hurry.
KYLE: It does go by in a hurry, welcome back coach.
COUGHLIN: Thank you, thanks for having me back.
KYLE: We could call you a TV veteran now as oppossed
to a coaching veteran, how's that?
COUGHLIN: It's great.
This is great fun.
GREGG: We just went over all the M-V-C teams.
We saw Holmen and Central, both really successful
seasons last year but both losing huge, huge senior
classes, I'm sure you've had a couple cases where
you're kind of in that situation.
COUGHLIN: It's the lot of the high school football
coach, you know.
You can't go out and find guys.
You're going to have to use what you've got.
And you never know what's going to happen.
I've had underclassmen that were really inspired by
what the upper classmen had done.
But then I've also had underclassmen who kind of road
the coat tails of the upperclassmen and when it was
time for them to step up, they didn't do as well as
maybe I'd hoped they were going to do so you just
KYLE: West Salem in the M-V-C this year after all
of the times we talked about it.
Can they compete this year? If not, whos got the M-V-C?
COUGHLIN: Yeah, they can.
There's no doubt.
I mean we played them in the past.
They have a excellent program up there.
They have a excellent coaching staff.
I think the M-V-C is gonna be pretty wide open this
year anyway so I think this is a great year to step
KYLE: One of the weird things about West Salem joining
the M-V-C is now there are eight teams in the M-V-C.
Six teams in the Coulee.
Even teams in both leagues.
Does that hurt you, because you can no longer finish
five hundred in conference as Tom Yashinsky just mentioned
in that piece, it kind of hurts the number of playoff
COUGHLIN: It will for sure limit it.
I mean we used to say if we could win four games we
we're going to be in.
That's not neccessarily going to guarantee anything
But that's what you got to do.
Those are the rules.
You got to win all your games.
You're going to get into the playoffs, it's a piece
GREGG: This offseason,
W-I-A-A implementing new acclimatization
rules, A lot of it dealing with preseason work.
You got to have a thirty minute recovery period after
two hours of practice.
Full equipment now doesn't come out until day six.
There's short days and long days in terms of how many
practices you can have.
What are your thoughts on all those?
COUGHLIN: You know, I'm probably one of the few probably
that's in favor of this.
Because of the limited numbers that I had, I just
couldn't afford to lose kids in practice and so we
a lot of the things actually that they were doing,
that they're doing now, we actually did those things
and I don't think it harmed my program at all.
My youngest son played for the legendary John Gilary
up at Saint John's and they never tackled.
And I think football needs to change.
I mean the N-F-L is changing and I really give credit
to the Wisconsin High School Football Coaches Association
for being pro-active rather than re-active to this.
KYLE: Ahead of the curve coach, thank you very much.
This is just the beginning.
The whole season, Catching Up with Coach Coughlin
airs Thursdays at six o'clock right here on News 8.
GREGG: Excited to have you back this season coach.
COUGHLIN: Thank you very much.
GREGG: Well Coulee coaches say there is one team to
beat in the conference this year.
That's next on the News 8 Highlight Zone High School
Football Preview Show.
nat - cheering
Arcadia's season got off on the right *foot* so to
and it continued all year!
Holmen wasn't the only local team to put up a perfect
mark in the regular season.
As we turn our attention to the Coulee Conference
so too did Arcadia.
The Raiders didn't lose until Level 2 of the playoffs.
And a couple local coaches told us they're the team
to beat again.
With all the experience they return .
like all-conference players Lee Pronchinske .
John Quinn and Rob Hoesley .
it's easy to understand why,
They have a target on their back and they embrace
PRONSCHINSKE: Every team you play is going to go out
there and play their Super Bowl against you and just
want to beat you.
QUINN: You know it's a good feeling but it also puts
some pressure on you to know you got to do your best,
practice your best, play your best.
MISCH: It definitely puts a lot of pressure on our
team but with that pressure comes hopefully .
hopefully we rise to the occassion.
Check out the new field turf for them too!
They're the 1-st Wisconsin team in the Coulee Region
to get one.
Westby finished 2-nd in the Coulee last season .
led by all-conference back Travis Hofslien.
He returns .
?? but who's gonna block for him ??
He ran behind three senior all-conference lineman
Only one offensive lineman returns.
HULST:The challange is for those guys to really work
hard and they've been working hard in the summer and
in the offseason to step up and fill those shoes.
HOFSLIEN: Gotta give a lot of credit to my offensive
line last year, I know the line this year will do
just as good.
HULST: It's a big question mark we have but hopefully
are guys are up for the challange.
HOFSLIEN: They've got experience going against the
guys last year so they know what they're doing.
Replacing a quarterback is one thing .
replacing a three-year starter at quarterback who
had over 30 touchdowns is another!
The Black River Falls Tigers have the daunting task
of having to replace Ethan Young.
They haven't had to worry about grooming a new quarterback
Jack Roou ROO moves under center.
The former Wide Reciever says it's a tall order.
ROOU: They're big shoes to fill, that's definite but
he's worked with me throughout the summer, watched
some film and hopefully I can do as well as he did,
that's going to be a tough accomplishment but we're
working towards it.
BIBLE: Jack brings some nice intangibles to the game,
his leadership, he's very vocal, he likes physicality
and he's a very good athlete.
I'm very excited to see
how Jack develops at our quarterback
position this season.
?? What's the best type of motivation ??
? How about losing 29 - 28 in the playoffs to your
conference rival .
G-E-T opens the new season with that on their minds.
Even though only two starters return from last year's
it's a loss the Red Hawks can't forget.
DAHL: We're really motivated from that.
That was really tough coming out of but I think we're
making a big comeback from that.
SCHEER: It was hard to take that in last season after
the big loss to Black River but it really motivates
us this year.
KOKOTT: When we get to the playoffs this year, it's
going to be .
it's going to be more motivation from what happened
Luther has a whole lot of seniors coming back.
16 to be exact.
But those won't be the only players familiar with
head coach Jason Hagedorn.
His son Nick is on the team.
The junior will start at center this season .
with his dad watching from the sidelines.
HAGEDORN: It should be interesting .
should be interesting .
I try to wear the coach's hat here and the dad hat
at home but sometimes they kind of cross paths.
HAGEDORN: I know I'll have someone to turn to if I
have any questions and I can turn to him not only
as my coach but as my dad.
BABINEC: We always know which one is going to get
Bad snaps, he doesn't look for me handle the ball.
Looking at the center right away.
Put yourself in Viroqua's shoes just a few weeks ago.
No head coach .
Rob Heller stepped down right before camp started.
And maybe some uncertainty .
one player said only 15 showed up for a *summer* camp.
But fast forward .
and the Blackhawks say they're ready to soar once
Long-time assistant Bill Hannah takes the reigns.
HANNAH: We want to be respected by the teams that
we play and I think a lot of people discredit us
and think that maybe we're not going to have that
but these kids believe, I believe in them and coaching
staff believes in them and I think we're going to
surprise some teams.
TRAUTSCH: Everyone else in the conference looks and
Viroqua and they're just like oh .
there's an easy victory but if we can cause a couple
maybe get a couple wins .
make the playoffs, that would be good.
Arcadia won the Coulee last year by two games over
Westby and G-E-T.
West Salem and B-R-F both went five hundred to qualify
for the postseason.
?? How does Wis sports dot net's Travis Wilson see
the Coulee playing out this year??
The Coulee Conference undergoes more changes in 2014
as despite objections from the league's schools, the
WIAA moved West Salem out of the conference and in
to the MVC.
With just 6 teams in the conference this year, the
teams will play mandated non-conference crossover
games agains teams from the Southwest Wisconsin Conference
in weeks 3 and 4.
Arcadia won an outwright Coulee Conference title in
2013 and enter this year as the favorite although
their will be plenty of competition at the top spot
in the standings.
Head coach Derrick Updike has a veteran group that
includes 5 returning starters on offense and 7 on
Leading the way is a talented backfield featuring
junior quarterback Rob Housley and 1,000 yard rusher
Depth could also come from last year's JV and freshmen
teams which went a combined 13-0.
Westby is one of a number of teams in the La Crosse
area to welcome in a new coach in 2014 as Andy Hulst
take over for Dan Nelson.
Hulst can turn to one of the areas top runningbacks
in junior Travis Hofslein who went for more than 1,700
yards and 23 touchdowns last season.
Gale Ettrick Treampealeau has one of longest active
playoff streaks in the state with 12 consecutive postseason
Although the red hawks are searching for their first
playoff victory since 2009.
Last year's 5 losses came by a total of just 28 points
but the team does lose all-conference runningback
Erik Van Fleet and most
of last year's offensive production.
Black River Falls has featured some explosive offenses
over the past few years and should be a talented group
Although they head into 2014 without now graduated
quarterback Ethan Young who threw for 32 touchdowns
Their is still plenty of talent at the skill positions
including 1,000 yard rusher Ryan Millis and senior
wide reciever Matt LaFaunge who hauled 16 touchdown
receptions a year ago.
Viroqua is on it's third head coach in as many seasons
as Rob Heller abrubtly resigned in Late July putting
the new program and new head coach Bill Hannah in
a tough spot heading into 2014.
Still three more Wisconsin conferences *and* schools
in Minnesota coming your way.
a somber start to practice for one area high school.
We'll take you there .
You're watching the News 8 Highlight Zone High School
Footbal Preview Show
crowd noise, music"
That was November 1-st of last season.
coming up *just* short in the section championship.
Their run of three straight state titles coming .
to an end.
the final in overtime of that one.
The loss .
snapping a 36-game winning streak.
It sent the Warriors back to Caledonia hungrier than
Just take a look at the motto on the back of their
shirts this year!
14 returning starters .
all hoping to graduate after leaving their mark .
back on the top.
SCHROEDER: I think any kid that puts pads on, that's
their ultimate goal.
What I'm very proud of our kids and the coaching staff
is the work they put in in the off-season to prepare
themselves to have that opportunity.
BAUER: If you work hard enough, if you do the right
things, you should make it to state, really making
it to state is the goal you want to get and obviously
if you get that far, might as well take the state
More on what's driving the Warriors later in the show.
Most teams are lucky to have a starting quarterback
that has *two* years of action under center.
La Crescent's Levi Massman has *four*.
He saw time as a freshman .
and started his sophmore .
and now senior years.
That kind of experience can definitely rub-off on
the players around him.
DEBOER: It's a lot of confidence.
He has a lot of confidence.
The team has confidence in him to keep him healthy
and he'll definitely help lead this team.
GROTH: He did a nice job last year with his decision
making, he has a very good arm.
He can run the ball a little bit so he's got a little
bit of everything.
MASSMAN: We just got a lot of .
like we're good together.
Like we've been together for the last four years.
It's just fun, you know exciting.
It's what I look forward to all fall.
Winona returns very few starters this season.
Maybe the biggest loss .
talented running back Vincent Pham.
The Winhawks will miss his production .
but Matt Clark .
who shared the backfield with Pham last year .
CLARK: I have something to live up to .
that's for sure.
But it was nice learning from him and watching him
and Eric Birth and Trayveon before him and I've really
had quite the mentors lately so it'll be interesting
to see what we can do.
ZETTEL: In case we miss a block it's nice to know
that he'll be able to cut past it or he'll be able
to use his skills to kind of fix our mistake.
The Houston Hurricanes are going through a 'sea of
change' this offseason.
They saw a senior class of 17 graduate.
And they have a first-year head coach.
The team also hands the torch to a new quarterback
LASCHENSKI: A lot on your shoulders .
you just gotta keep your cool and do what you gotta
MOGA: Hunter Laschenski is very calm, cool, and collective.
He leads by example.
He's never going to get down on a player.
That's very important with the young team we have.
Always staying positive and taking those strides forward.
LASCHENSKI: I waited my whole varsity career.
I've waited for this moment and it's finally here.
Back to Wisconsin .
The Ridge and Valley is home to one of the most consistent
programs in the state .
News 8's Kyle Deckelbaum has more on their season.
The Pirates look to make the playoffs for a 19-th
But there will be one big piece missing.
The long-time assistant coach and former player passed
away in May after battling brain cancer.
Stop by De Soto practice .
and you don't have to look hard to see it.
STEVENSON:He was a great guy .
PAULSRUD: Great guy
STEVENSON: Great friend .
PAULSRUD: Great coach ...
STEVENSON: Great everything .
I don't even know how to describe it.
And the Pirates are literally wearing their emotions
on their sleeves.
PAULSRUD: It's weird without him down here but you
can never replace him.
FOOTBALL NAT Cina was a standout in football .
he played quarterback.
BASEBALL NAT He also helped De Soto make three W-I-A-A
state appearances in baseball.
And he continued to leave his mark in this community
long after his playing days .
as a coach.
WICK: We got to say our good byes and thank yous and
tell stories up until the very end so it was a rough
deal but at the same time we got closure too.
John Cina was 28.
WICK: The kids have been pretty resilient through
the whole thing and I think they'll play a little
extra for him.
Wick had a special relationship with Cina.
He was a senior in Wick's 1-st season as head coach.
Thanks Kyle .
At North Crawford .
Branden Baumeister is back.
In his junior year .
he led the conference in both rushing yards and touchdowns.
His 2-thousand-plus yards was good for 10th in the
But he won't take full credit.
BAUMEISTER: The line .
they clearly knew what they were doing, they got the
job done very well, and I just followed my blockers
and they lead me to the endzone.
FORTNEY: We can feed off him and stuff and it's always
nice to have him back there.
He gives his best, he gives his best effort so it'll
be nice to have him back there again.
A couple notes from the Ridge and Valley.
Numbers are up at Wauzeka-Steuben.
You might remember our story on two girls stepping
in to save the season last year.
Their new head coach tells us they have 22 players
They're not the only Ridge and Valley school that's
having a better year with numbers.
With more here's Travis Wilson.
The Ridge and Valley conference has more returning
talent than most leagues in the state which should
set us up for a very competitive and entertaining
Ithaca will be one of the most experienced teams in
the state and the scary part is the Bulldogs will
still be a relatively young team led by a strong junior
Many teams in Division 7 don't even have 19 players
on the roster but that's how many starting spots head
coach Chad Cleary has returning in 2014.
Many of those players start both ways of course but
the team does still have an impressive 25 letter winners
back in a school of just 104 students.
North Crawford will be one of the least experienced
teams in the conference in 2014 but head coach Brandon
Munson can turn to the league's best player once again.
Branden Baumeister rushed for 2,024 yards and 27 touchdowns
last year averaging 9.5 yards per carry.
Kickapoo/La Farge missed the playoffs last year but
return a solid group of skilled position players.
Back are first team all-conference receiver Carver
Phillips, quarterback Logan Kauffman, and leading
rusher Ben Jacobs although the
team will be less experienced
at the offensive line.
De Soto has been one of the top teams in the conference
for a number of years but returns just 3 starters
on both sides of the ball.
Gone are first team
all-conference selections at quarterback,
runningback, wide receiver, and the league's offensive
linemen of the year.
Head coach Ed Wick enters his 11th season at the school
with a 91-31 career record and you can bet that he
will have his team performing
well as the season progresses.
In some good news Seneca is back for a full varsity
schedule in 2014 after the team was forced to cancel
it's 2013 schedule due to low numbers.
With just 18 players in the program according to head
coach Justin Goodrich their is still a slim margin
The team is the smallest school in the state to sponsor
a football team as they have an enrollment number
for 2014 of just 73 students.
and a couple teams out for revenge.
Those previews up next.
And still to come .
we know football means a lot to our communities.
It means even more for this player and coach.
Welcome back to the News 8 Highlight Zone High School
Football Preview Show.
?? Maybe the toughest part of football??
But Bangor found a silver lining in a big one from
a year ago.
Last year .
corner Seth Zabel tore his labrum.
Out for the year.
They brought up a sophomore from J-V .
Turns out he could really play!
Now they'll play together.
ZABEL: Kellen I mean he was a sophmore last year and
he had to step in because I was injured so he's got
more experience now just coming in as a junior.
KRAVIK: Last year he was like you know what, just
make your plays, I know you can, I know you have the
Then he said nothing deep and then this year he's
like man I can't wait to have you on that other side.
He says we're going to be picking off balls and making
Co-conference champ New Lisbon is coming off a strong
making it all the way to level three in the state
Even though they lost the conference player of the
year at quarterback .
the entire line that protected him is back.
In fact .
this is the 3-rd straight season the Rockets have
the same starting offensive line.
Talk about chemistry.
Giebel: You hardly even have to talk.
You kind of give each other a nudge or say one word
and the guy knows what you're doing so you go here,
block that person, they pick up your guy and it makes
it pretty easy .
Smith: We can tell each other our criticisms and we
We learn real fast, we pick up real fast...
Fleming: Even the guys that are now starting in the
backfield now have a lot of respect and a lot of confidence
in us and that's a lot to take in and it's really
Big turnover at Necedah.
They have to replace their *entire* coaching staff.
With that can come some growing pains .
but they *do* return Matt Brown.
The senior does it all .
he plays quarterback .
he even plays kicker!
BEAVER: He's very talented .
he's going to be leading .
our offense of course .
very good at a lot of the things he does so hopefully
he leads us well.
BROWN: We got a whole new offense, I mean I don't
know how it's going to go yet so we'll see.
BECKER: He's really athletic and he makes plays happen
all the time.
Defending a conference championship is always difficult.
Especially when you lose a bunch of key players.
That's the role Brookwood holds this season.
the Falcons were so good last season .
they blew teams out.
Younger players got time on the field.
They hope that experience helps them repeat.
BRIESKE: You get that experience for the next year.
You know you're going to lose those seniors so you're
trying to get those guys in for experience for the
following year so that's what we got to do last year.
HANSEN: They guys who got to come in from those big
leads, the second team, they're back this year so
that's always good to know that they have the experience
that they had last year.
Only four seniors return for Hillsboro .
one of them is in a battle for the job under center.
Senior Matt Stekel is battling junior Joe Helgerson.
They've both had their eyes set on this since they
first stepped onto the football field.
in a new offense geared towards passing .
they can help one another succeed.
STEKEL: He's pushing me to the limit .
he's a really good challenge .
we're both good at the position and pushing ourselves
to make the reads, make the plays.
I'm actually fairly comfortable with both of them
at this point.
It's been pretty exciting to watch because they both
really come a long way in the last year.
HELGERSON: It's a little challenge because I'm going
up against a senior.
He's always pushing me really hard so we'll see how
it turns out.
New Lisbon and Brookwood sharing the Scenic Bluffs
conference title in 2013 with identical 6-and-1 records.
?? Who's the team to beat in 2014??
Here's Travis Wilson.
It was a bit of an odd year in the Scenic Bluff Conference
in 2013 for a number of reasons.
Brookwood and New Lisbon shared the conference title
which for many years had been dominated by Bangor
Only 3 of the 8 teams in the conference finished with
winning league records but both Hillsboro and Bangor
qualified for the postseason after finishing 3-4 in
Bangor wasn't a factor in the conference race for
the first time in quite awhile but don't expect the
team to be down too long.
Veteran head coach Rick Muellenberg welcomes back
17 letter winners including 5 starters on both sides
of the ball.
First team all-conference runningback Andrew Piske
rushed for more than 900 yards in just 8 games last
New Lisbon is in a position you don't to often see
at the high school level as head coach Brad Bever
returns all 5 starters on the offensive line which
is usually a good sign.
However virtually all of the skilled position players
are graduated including quarterback Cullen Pedersen
who went over 1,000 yards in both rushing and passing
last year and accounted for 35 touchdowns.
Returning linebackers Nick Fleming and Justin Giebel
accounted for more than 280 tackles between them and
will once again lead the defense.
Brookwood hadn't made the playoffs since 2007 but
last year not only ended that streak they won a share
of the conference title.
Now the challenge is to continue the momentum as the
team loses 9 of the 10 first or second team all-conference
selections from last season.
They do get Bangor, New Lisbon, and Necedah at home
this season however.
Speaking of Necedah they kept their playoff streak
alive last year qualifying for 11th straight postseason
Head coach Erich Mach stepped down in the offseason
however as the school hired Jim Beaver as his replacement.
Versatile senior Matt Brown may be the best player
in the conferene after leading the team in rushing
and receiving last year as well as receiving first
team all-conference recognition as a defensive back,
kicker, and punter.
Hillsboro has the longest postseason streak in the
conference at 12 consecutive years but the Tigers
could find it a challenge to continue that streak
as they lose most of their offensive production from
Wonewoc Center is one of the few teams in the state
to never qualify for the WIAA playoffs but they'll
give it a shot this season behind the return of 9
starters on both sides of the ball.
Cochrane-Fountain City can tell you regular season
success doesn't necessarily guarantee postseason success.
The Pirates won their first Dairyland title since
2000 last year .
then were the victims of a rare 8-seed-over-1-seed
upset in level one of the playoffs.
Now it's time for a new season.
10 starters return.
Those players remember what it was like to win conference.
They also remember who knocked them out of the playoffs.
HALVERSON: This year we know that Independence is
the favorite in our conference and now it's our turn
to be the underdog and hopefully upset them and we're
just going to work harder and harder everyday to see
if we can pull that off.
POZANC: We really want to beat them this year .
and that's our main goal is just beat them and then
call it good and then move on to the next game.
As for Independence-Gilmanton....
They have multiple skill positions returning.
But there's one thing that stands out on this offense.
Two of their key players .
Austen and Ace Whitwam will be sharing the field for
the Indees this season.
?Brotherly love .
Or Sibling rivarly?
ACE: We, I guess compete over everything whether it
be in school or sports, at home, anything really.
AUSTEN: He's beat me sometimes .
that's not very often .
I always normally win but he wins half the time, I
win half the time, it just keeps us fighting.
ACE: It's a lot of fun, I mean when he makes good
plays then I cheer him on and when I make good plays,
he cheers me on so we have a lot of fun out on the
Good news for Whitehall.
They've got an all conference quarterback making a
Payton Slaby takes the field for the Norse.
It's his second season under center.
Last year .
he helped them to a 6 and 1 record in conference.
SLABY: It feels great.
It gives you a lot of confidence to get back on the
field and hopefully have a good season.
KLEINHANS: Last year, Payton did a great job for us
as a sophmore so this year we got him back as a junior
and he's looking very sharp, very crisp, picking up
where he left off.
SLABY: With more experience, it just helps I believe
and hopefully it just makes our team better this year.
Not only do they lose a few all conference players
but they only return three starters on offense.
?The biggest change?
Head coach Bob Schulz is implementing a new defense.
He says it'll make his Wildcats more fierce.
SCHULZ: You can attack .
Instead of sitting there and waiting and waiting and
reading, we're going to be in attack mode, we're going
to attack people.
SEXE: We're really doing good adapting with it so
it's coming a lot easier for us.
PERRY: It's kind of confusing when we were first started
it but now, now everybody's getting into it a little
bit and I think it will turn out all right.
?? How about this strategy for Melrose-Mindoro??
Make their opponents see double.
Sam and Matt Boone .
They're sophomores .
both looking to play vital roles on this young Mustangs
They both start on offense .
and they both start as defensive backs on the other
side of the ball.
So while they work to throw *other* teams off .
it's taking some time for their *own* team to figure
out who's who.
BOONE: It's pretty exciting, you get that connection.
He doesn't play a whole lot of offense though but
it's kind of nice having someone right alongside to
VANIGAN: I still mess up their names and I've been
going to school with them since I was .
WISNIEWSKI: Yeah it's fun...actually taking me awhile
to get them .
tell the difference between them .
I think I finally got it down.
C-F-C led a group of five teams that qualified for
the playoffs out of the Dairyland last season.
Travis Wilson gives us his favorite to win the conference
this season .
*and* which of the three non-playoff teams can make
a jump in the standings.
5 of the 8 Dairyland Conference teams made the postseason
in 2013 but an upset by Independance/Gilmanton over
league champ Cochrane Fountain City in level 1 was
the only postseason victory by the league's teams.
Independance/Gilmanton is looking to parlay that postseason
success into a league championship in 2014 as head
coach John Zilla welcomes back one of the most experienced
rosters in the conference.
15 letterwinners are back, including 6 starters on
offense and 5 starters on defense.
Ace and Austen Whitwam are 2 of the best players in
the entire conference as both accel on offense and
Whitehall has become one of the most consistent programs
in the Dairyland Conference as head coach John Kleinhan
has led the team to 6 straight postseason appearances.
The return of versatile quarterback Payton Slaby is
certaintly a good way to start the season as he led
the team in not only in passing last year but also
Cochrane Fountain City had an impressive 3 year run
that included 2 trips to the level 3 playoffs and
a conference championship.
Head coach Steve Lyga has 6 starters back on offense
and 5 on defense but will miss 3 time all-conference
selections Cale Lisowski at quarterback and Jordan
Eikamp at runningback.
Eleva-Strum could be a dark horse canidate in 2014.
They enter year 3 under head coach Chad Hanson with
8 starters back on offense and 8 on defense as the
program has 50 players out for football at a school
with just 175 total students.
Augusta is another team to watch in 2014 as they return
9 starters on both sides of the ball.
It's one of the greatest sports ever invented and
there's so much the kids learn out of it.
The story .
coming up next.
You're watching the News 8 Highlight Zone High School
Football Preview Show.
Football kind of brings everyone together, it seems
Everyone's out there on Fridays watching us run around,
usually winning, hopefully winning.
At the beginning of the show .
we showed you what coaches say to their teams right
before the 1-st game of the season.
But there's so much more on their mind, Kyle.
Especially for a player in Caledonia and his coach.
They've faced similar tragedies in life.
So for Tanner Gran and Brent Schroeder .
football is more than a game.
It's an outlet.
In Caledonia .
everyone is a Warrior.
COACHING NAT - 8956 FRUECHTE
This season .
SLEDS NAT 8960 there is one player that embodies that
idea maybe more than any other .
Brent 46/58 Doesn't matter where you play him.
He can literally play from O-Line to D-Line to defensive
He can play any position on the field.
I think that truly says what kind of kid he is, what
kind of football player he is.
On the field .
Brent 47/32 What he's been through is very hard for
any person to go through, yet alone a 14 year-old
Just 15 months ago .
Tanner's dad passed away, after a six-year battle
with lung cancer.
Tanner 29/38 It was hard watching him.
A game of catch used to bring Tanner and his dad together.
nat and now he suits up in black and gold .
his dad's alma mater.
Tanner 31/17 Knowing he's with me all the time.
he'll be proud no matter what happens.
Brent 47/49 I think football's a great release for
him, as it is for many young kids.
But Shroeder isn't just speaking as a coach...
He knows from experience.
Brent 49/08 There's not a Friday night that goes on.
I think that's part of the reason that drives me in
coaching the way it does.
Schroeder's dad passed away after battling cancer
49/15 He always said that football's a sport that
can turn young boys into men.
That's kind of what we're here for is to try to make
better members of society.
I think football is such a precious sport and that's
exactly what we're here to do, is try to make those