The Elk Mound football team looks to delve further into the playoff season in 2017, after falling 39-0 to Stanley-Boyd in level two of the WIAA playoffs last year.
Head coach Dave Lew aims to make that happen by competing in every game until the clock hits zero.
“We want to make this season, like all seasons, memorable for the players, our school and our community,” Lew said. “We would very much like to get to the playoffs for the third straight year in a row.”
Though eight letterwinners were lost to graduation this past spring, 15 players return to the field with a great deal of experience and a thirst for competition.
With head quarterback Dane Lew among the seniors lost, now-senior Dylan Black returns to take on the role of quarterback one last time. Black shared the duty with Lew last year, throwing 30 completions for 262 yards and a 50 percent completion rate in eight games. Lew had thrown in nine games for 21 completions and 291 yards. Both quarterbacks had three touchdowns apiece.
Junior Brady Redwine returns as a running back who had 49 attempts for 231 yards and two touchdowns in 2016. Alongside Redwine will be senior Will Muszynski who rushed for 110 yards in nine attempts in just four games. Other running backs on the field can be found in senior Christopher Lee and junior Mason Close.
Fronting the offensive line will be seniors Andrew Benson, Brandon Gilbertson, Aric Jensen, Bryce Kasper and Conner Mavis, all of whom received first team all-conference honors in 2016. Other offensive linemen include juniors Brett Lew, Max Marquardt, Ryan Zurbuchen and Marquis Kasakaitas.
Juniors Colton Ward and Rian Flynn will return as defensive backs while Isiah Wald will take on the role as a linebacker.
Coach Lew said he was pleased with how the off-season went, with players focused on improving their agility and time spent in the weight room. He is expecting both the entirety of the junior and senior classes to step up into leadership roles this season.
With experience and confidence behind the ball in quarterback Black, coach Lew noted the Mounders will always be working to improve both the offensive and defensive lines.
Lew enters his fifth year as head coach and, with his experience competing in the Dunn-St. Croix conference, he sees Durand and Glenwood City as the teams to beat this year. Elk Mound lost to Glenwood City last year 30-18 and Durand 39-14 and finished the 2016 season with a 6-5 record overall, landing right in the middle of the DSC with a 3-3 record.
“They [Glenwood City and Durand] both return a lot, but I’m confident we will fit in the top half of the conference,” Lew said.
The Mounders begin the 2017 season with an away game against Chetek-Weyerhaeuser this upcoming Friday.
Freshmen: Aidan Balts, Ryan Bohl, Reese Brunner, Blake Burlingame, Colten Cassellius, Zane Clemmens, Major Gunderson-Morris, Luke Hanson, Mason Hay, Ben Heath, Aaron Heuer, Michael Jenson, Alex Johnson, Lane Lee, Ethan Levra, Nate Lew, Sam Lor, Kody Mavis, Antonio Meyer, Zack Miller, Gabe Moschkau, Javon Pinley, Brett Rosenthal, Logan Schultz, Oscar Wald, Jayden Wyrwicki
Sophomores: Carter Brantner, Griffin Erdman, Derek Falkner, Will Gilbertson, Dominic Hall, Jacob Miller, Weston Moschkau, Chase Rhude, Nate Sweeney, Blaze Todd, Gaelen Young
Juniors: Tyler Bauer, Mason Close, Jack Emberson, Rian Flynn, Mitchell Fox, Ethan Kaanta, Marquis Kasakaitas, Marcus Kinblom, Hunter Lemler, Brett Lew, Andy Lor, Max Marquardt, Jake Mentzel, Brady Redwine, Isiah Wald, Colton Ward, Ryan Zurbuchen
Seniors: Andrew Benson, Dylan Black, Tyler Brantner, Jaylen Emberson, Brandon Gilbertson, Aric Jensen, Bryce Kasper, Ben Lambele, Chris Lee, Conner Mavis, Will Muszynski, Blake Rosenthal
Managers: Landon Kasakaitas, Kamron Diermeir, Caleb Knutson.
Assistant coaches: Kevin Garnett, Brandon Powell, Eric Young, Jon Chisholm, Jake Lerum, Dan Hay.
Student assistants: Lexi Schindler, Crista Sweeney, Emily Winchester, Anna Wolgemuth, Kourtney Zurbuchen.
Head coach: Dave Lew.
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