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Prep Football Preview: McDonell returns many key pieces for move into new conference
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Prep Football Preview | McDonell Macks

Prep Football Preview: McDonell returns many key pieces for move into new conference

Chequamegon at McDonell football 10-12-19

McDonell's Tanner Opsal runs for yardage during a game against Chequamegon last season at Dorais Field.

The McDonell football team has been waiting years for the opportunity.

The Macks will finally join a conference this fall when the are paired up with New Auburn and Gilman among others as a part of the Central Wisconsin Conference West that was created through the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association’s statewide realignment plan. The program brings back largely the same roster from last year’s 3-5 team.

Jason Cox Mugshot


“I think it’s really nice that we have a lot of experience coming back, so there’s not a whole lot of teaching everyone all the ins and outs of the offense and defense,” McDonell coach Jason Cox said. “We can kind of just pick up where we left off and plug in a couple of new pieces and just go from there.”

Quarterback Tanner Opsal threw for 1,724 and 16 touchdowns while adding 560 rushing yards and nine scores on the ground as the dual-threat trigger for the Macks at quarterback.

“He played some as a sophomore and we pulled the trigger on giving him a shot last year and he did really well for us,” Cox said of Opsal. “He definitely provides a lot for us from a leadership standpoint as well in the huddle and getting guys where they’re supposed to be.”

Wide receiver Noah Hanson had 585 receiving yards and five touchdowns and is expected to be Opsal’s top target while Dale Tetrault and Ben Biskupski made big plays down the stretch last year and will have more opportunities to do so this year.

“Those guys are definitely threats in the passing game, so we think we have that option to throw it around when we need to,” Cox said of the receivers.

The Macks bring back a veteran offensive line with third-year starters Noah Christopherson and Seth Wildenberg along with second-year starter Malaki Suckerman.

“We’re hoping that we’re not physically outmanned like we have been in the past just with younger, smaller guys,” Cox said of the linemen. “We have a little bit of size and experience up there so we’re hoping to be able to assert our will in the trenches a little more.”

Defensive lineman Clemett Matthews had 70 tackles including 12 for a loss and eight sacks last year while running back/linebacker Landon Moulton was second on the team in tackles. The Macks showed improvement defensively in their second season of eight-man football, but Cox knows the team will need to continue to get better on that side of the ball to compete with teams like Alma Center Lincoln that like to throw and run-based squads such as Phillips, New Auburn, Gilman and Bruce.

“The games that we’ve lost the defense been the Achilles heel at times,” Cox said. “We just need to be more physical on that side of the ball and I think we have some better personnel to put in there. Some sophomores that were just a little too young to play as freshmen are getting some chances as sophomores to be impactful on defense and obviously we have some experience coming back on that side of the ball as well.

“We’re definitely hoping the defense is going to be better because we need it to be better in order to be successful in a tough conference.”

McDonell scrimmages Bruce at Dorais Field on Friday night before opening the regular season on Friday, Sept. 25 at Alma Center Lincoln. The Macks play a pair of Saturday afternoon games at Dorais Field this year, hosting New Auburn on Oct. 3 before hosting Phillips one week later on Oct. 10. The team finishes up league play at Gilman (Oct. 16) and Bruce (Oct. 23) and it is possible the team could add another game after those league games.

The Macks improved from a winless first season in eight-man to three victories last year. Now as the team readies for its third year of eight man, a winning record and perhaps making a run at the top spot in the league standings are the goals.

2020 McDonell Football Team

Members of the McDonell football team are (front row, from left): Brady Rubenzer, Joe Leibrandt, Wesley Eddy, Landon Moulton, Ethan Goulet, Nate Hauser and Kaein Gullo. Second row: Carter Grill, Aidan Misfeldt, Ben Biskupski, Xayvion Matthews, Dale Tetrault, Evan Eckes, Carter Stelter, Andrew Bauer and Griffen Sokup. Third row: coach Nicholas Amsden, coach Jason Cox, Malaki Suckerman, Chase Berg, RonXian Yang, Tanner Opsal, Noah Christopherson, Peter Herron, Noah Hanson, Miles Flanagan, coach Morgan King and coach Christian Hall.


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