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Prep Football Preview: Bloomer has many new faces, but aims to contend in Heart O'North Conference once again
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Prep Football Preview | Bloomer Blackhawks

Prep Football Preview: Bloomer has many new faces, but aims to contend in Heart O'North Conference once again

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Saint Croix Falls at Bloomer football 8-23-19

Bloomer's Ethan Rothbauer breaks a tackle during a game against Saint Croix Falls last season in Bloomer.

Roster turnover is a yearly occurrence in high school football.

Inevitably each year a program will have a different roster, even if it returns a large group of letterwinners.

This year Bloomer is tasked with the responsibility in finding new players to replace a large 18-player senior class and without a normal offseason many of those more inexperienced players come into the fall playing catch up.

The Blackhawks went 7-3 last season, taking third place in the league behind champion Northwestern and Cumberland. Overall the Blackhawks have 19 letterwinners back for 17th-year coach John Post and the program’s longtime leader says many more players are eager for an opportunity to contribute.

John Post mug

Post

“I think a lot of kids are ready to step up,” Post said.

A 14-player senior class will lead the way for the Blackhawks with running back/defensive backs Kaiden Prince, Ethan Rothbauer, Jay Ryder, Vaughn Zwiefelhofer, Landon Rego, Jason Pake and Dalton Cook, tight end/linebacker Charlie Herrick, tight end/defensive end Gavin Meinen, fullback/linebacker Brock Haseltine and offensive/defensive linemen Logan Stolt, Logan Nelson, Carson Schick and Zach Steinmetz.

“They’ll be a younger group for a couple years,” Post said of his team. “We’ve got a nice group of seniors and two smaller groups behind them.”

The Blackhawks were more conservative with their offseason workout schedule amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Bloomer has a number of protocols in place to help with safety and sanitation.

“Our school, and I believe they were cautious like we should’ve been, we couldn’t even run passes against each other. So we really couldn’t do anything and I think it was better to be safe,” Post said. “Now we’re just trying to adjust to a whole new practice regime.”

With last Monday marking the start of the prep football season, teams have the same amount of time from the first day to the opening game.

“I think there’ll be rookie mistakes early that we didn’t have enough time…we’re going to have the same equivalent in days but it isn’t the same equivalent in hours,” Post said.

The Heart O’North Conference will have the same teams everybody saw a season ago as the entries of Saint Croix Falls and Cameron came one year before the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association’s statewide realignment plan came into place this fall. The Blackhawks will waste no time seeing some of the best teams the league has to offer, opening up with road games at Saint Croix Falls (Sept. 25) and Northwestern (Oct. 2) before returning home to host Cumberland (Oct. 9) and then play at Spooner (Oct. 16). All four of those opening foes made the playoffs a season ago.

“The goals are the same,” Post said. “We just hope to be in the top half (of the conference). I don’t have any illusions that there’s not good teams but we are one of the teams I feel usually to beat.”

The Bloomer program’s track record in Heart O’North Conference history is second to none. The Blackhawks have won a league-high 26 conference championships and finished in the top half of the league standings in 68 of the program’s 78 years playing in the Heart O’North. Six of those league championships have come under John Post, as has a streak of 16 consecutive trips to the playoffs.

Nothing has been announced by the WIAA as of yet in regards to if there will be any sort of postseason or ‘culminating event’ playoffs for football. But Bloomer will have another opportunity to show it is one of the best teams the Heart O’North has to offer. They’ll be tested out of the gate and have a younger squad, but the program’s track record is as good as any when it comes to consistent contention.

“Until a guy gets to a game you don’t even know if you’ll have players that can play,” Post said. “So it’s going to be a week-by-week (thing), each day get through it, get to the scrimmage (and) try to get kids healthy.”

2020 Bloomer Football Team

Members of the Bloomer football team are (front row, from left): Ben Miller, Isaac Seibel, Gabriel Prince, Ethan Seibel, Sam Meinen, Ethan Cooper, Samy Espinal, Kionte Peterson, Matthew Holstad, Vaughn Zwiefelhofer, Karsten Bergh and Connor Fossum. Second row: Jason Pake, Daniel Bischel, Ethan Rubenzer, Landon Rego, Ian Tranby, Levi Humbert, Jay Ryder, Brock Haseltine, Blake Hodowanic, Jackson Oman, Logan Stolt, Marcus Harelstad and Kaiden Prince. Third row: Josh Reidt, John Mullenberg, Karim Boh, Dalton Cook, Brok McCann, Gavin Meinen, Charles Herrick, Cael Iverson, Jack Strand, Ethan Rothbauer, Logan Nelson. Fourth row: Franklin Brewer, Zach Steinmetz, Carson Schick, Tyler Berlin and Connor Crane.

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