MONLPC-8 football conference stacked from top to bottom

Gillett, Suring, Lena/STAA all trying to contend
Gillett’s Bo Krueger, left, runs with the football in a game against Menominee Indian in 2018. Krueger will be a focal point of the Tigers’ offense again this fall.

File | NEW Media
By: 
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

GILLETT — The MONLPC-8 has all the looks of a great high school football conference race.

Gillett, Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy co-op and Suring will all be in the hunt for the eight-player conference crown.

The nine-team conference also includes Sevastopol, the reigning champion, and Gibraltar and Wausaukee, which are each coming off 7-3 seasons. Laona/Wabeno, Florence and the newly formed Green Bay N.E.W. Lutheran/Oneida Nation co-op round out the conference.

Gillett

Gillett is coming off a 5-4 season and fourth-place finish in the conference, but coach Jesse Witcraft believes the team is in great shape to take a big step forward this fall.

The Tigers return several starters, including running back Bo Krueger, who was one of four offensive players of the year in the conference.

The senior will again be the focal point for the offense, but Krueger doesn’t think knowing that will allow opposing defenses to shut down Gillett.

“My mindset this season is if people wanna come after me, they’re in for a rude awakening,” said Krueger, who was also a honorable mention all-conference pick as a linebacker last year. “My team has good players that can do the same things that I do. The team has had get-togethers and worked hard over the summer break, and we should all be more than prepared for the season.”

Also back for the Tigers are seniors Logan Block (offensive line, linebacker), Anthony Carroll (running back, linebacker) and Wyatt Herzog (quarterback, defensive back) and junior Jacob Burt (offensive line, defensive line).

Block made the all-conference first team as an offensive lineman and second team as a linebacker last fall. Burt was an honorable mention as a offensive lineman.

Witcraft is also looking for senior Wyatt Herzog and juniors Andy Lemens and Colton Wolf to make impacts on both sides of the ball.

“Being a senior myself, it’s just that fact that we have one year left. We have one last season to win a game or make a tackle,” Block said. “This is what we have been working for our whole lives since we started (playing football) in fourth grade.”

Gillett will open the season hosting Lena/STAA on Friday. Six of the team’s nine games will be played in Gillett.

Suring

After a three-win season and playoff appearance in its final season as an 11-man team, Suring is adjusting to the eight-man game.

The return of several starters should make the transition a little smoother for the Eagles and coach Mitch Taylor.

Last year, Logan Stuart made the all-conference team at four positions — linebacker, running back, punter and kicker. He will be a big part of the team’s plans again this fall.

“I am grateful for all the opportunities the coaches give me to play so many different positions,” said Stuart, a senior. “My plan is to continue to give 100% wherever they need me.”

Other returning starters are seniors Chad McVeigh (offensive line, defensive line), Duncan Breed (tight end, linebacker) and Mike VandenElzen (tight end, defensive back), juniors Leo Taylor (offensive line, defensive line) and Kegyn Lambrecht (running back, linebacker), and sophomore Brayden Taylor (offensive line, defensive line).

Taylor, Lambrecht and McVeigh were all all-conference second-team selections last fall.

Taylor is also looking for seniors Jayden Geniesse, Dalton Stewart and Dequez Sepulveda and sophomores Jeremy Hensel, Gavin Fredenburgh, Taron Haak, Terry Helminger and Rowan Goodwin to step into bigger roles on the team.

Suring opens the season Friday hosting Sevastopol.

Lena/STAA

The Lena/STAA co-op lost a handful of impact players to graduation but also return several all-conference players.

Senior Trenton Telford was a second-team all-conference pick as a running back last year. Senior Colby Borchert was an honorable mention as pass-catcher.

Logan Shallow is looking for another big season after landing on the honorable mention list as a freshman defensive back. Junior Richard Fieck (lineman) and seniors Brian Ermis (linebacker) and Bryce Hosking (lineman) were also honorable mentions as defensive players.

Other players expected to fill key roles include Simon Gard, Drew Roy, Lane Whiting, Frank DesJarlais, Ralph Comins, Miles Maloney and Brance Bethke.

The co-op will host its first game on Aug. 29 against Suring.

Dale Lange and Eddy Huberty will co-coach the team.

“There are a lot on new teams and everything is up for grabs. The conference is very well-balanced and should be very competitive,” coach Lange said. “This will be the second season that there will be an eight-man state playoff, with a 16-team field throughout the state. I am hoping to be one of them.”

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