Bluejay gridmen keep rolling with ?culture of winning?
Coaches- Tom Tourtillott (6th head, 20th overall), John Paul (30th), Dave Arneson (23rd), Greg Schofield (35th), Mark Weix (25th), Rob Klug (6th) Greg Thorson (10th), Kurt VandenHeuval (2nd).
Last season’s accomplishments- 6-0 GNC, 11-2 overall, lost to Kimberly in Level 4 playoffs, one short of state.
Major losses- Pascal Paul (GNC OPOY, 1st All-Dist., HM A-S, QB/CB), Tyler Oestreich (1st GNC, 1st A-D, HM A-S), Michael Detert (1st GNC, 1st A-D, HM A-S, OL/DL), Jimmy Sladek (1st GNC, 1st A-D, LB), Ross Van Der Geest (1st GNC, TB), Zach Wendorf (1st/2nd GNC, K/OL), Ted Porath (1st GNC, OL/DL), Jordan Wendorf (1st GNC, DL), Brad Anderson (2nd GNC, SE/S), Jake Schlueter (HM GNC, FB), Jordan Annis (SE).
Key returnees- Sam Arneson (DPOY/1st GNC, 1st A-D, HM A-S, LB/TE), Kyle Kubichek (1st GNC, SE/CB), Zach Ament (1st GNC, LB), Matt Haffemann (HM GNC, OL), Matt Thistle (HM GNC, DL), Brandon Folta (HM GNC, DL), Jordan Burton (HM GNC, S), Matt Woller (SE), Nick Leskey (OL), Andy Block (OL).
Promising newcomers- Mitch Grabko (DL), Grant Collins (OL), Alex Ruge (OL), Ray Paul (DB), Luke Zuelsdorff (OLB), Dylan Koss (DB), Michael Koppelman (DL), Michael Ball (FB), Kyle Rajek (FB).
Tourtillott quotable- “We expect to continue to work hard, and improve during the week to give our school and community something to be proud of on Friday night.
“(Returning the to Valley) means we’ll be playing in front of bigger crowds, but the game of football is still 11 men on 11 men. The team that has 11 men executing their job every time is the team that wins. Wisconsin Rapids does return the most starters and is probably the favorite to win the conference, but every Friday night will be a grind and you’ll have to play for a full 48 minutes.
“Our key returnees are our entire senior class. We have great leadership with our 24 seniors.
“Hopefully our program is developing a culture of winning and hard work, and after our two weeks of two-a-days, I’m very pleased that this culture is continuing to fester.
“The kids have a great attitude and a strong belief in each other.
“We return six guys on defense, we have very good speed, we’re very physical. Defense is the key to winning championships. Another strength is our offensive line. Having three seniors back and two big boys stepping up, I really think we’ll be able to move people. (Grant) Collins is 295 (pounds), (Alex) Ruge is 265, (Matt) Haffe(mann) is 302, (Andy) Block is 260 and (Nick) Leskey is 234. That’s some beef and they can move.
“They are quality young men and they make attending practice enjoyable. They have really bought into the idea that when you work hard for a purpose and you work together, good things will happen.”