Prescott football looks to complete itself in 2013
PRESCOTT - All the elements of a Middle Border Conference football team Prescott seemingly has.
The Cardinals will have a veteran squad returning from last season's 7-4 campaign (4-3 in the Middle Border Conference) which ended at Level 3 of the WIAA Playoffs, PHS's first bid in seven years. They have 24 returning lettermen back and even though they lost talented players like All-MBC lineman Nick Jacobsen - who will carry on Prescott's Division I collegiate tradition handed down from Mike Allen and Nick Schommer and Jake Filkins - All-MBC backs like Sam Smith and Harry Cutler (along with Mike Hovel, Austin Tulip, Zack Sobolewski, Tom Brookshaw, Quetin Dravis, Nick Brekken and Jess Lonetti ), they still have enough talent coming back replace those losses as MBC teams often do.
"We have seniors who have played three seasons of varsity ball," Prescott head coach Matt Smith said. "Sure we have holes to fill and players who won a lot of games for us to replace but we can do so now much easier than in the past."
Prescott certainly has the size of an MBC squad. Big Joe Haas, the 6-6, 315-pound junior will anchor the line along with fellow junior and 300-pounder Cam Christenson and junior Jack Farrell. The Miller brothers, seniors Taylor and Tyler will be on the frontline as well along with junior Garrett Ryan, who was starting as a sophomore a year ago. Unfortunately, Prescott will have to wait until week four for Ryan to return as he is recovering from a leg injury.
"It's something we have to adjust to because Garrett is so talented but it also allows for other kids to play his spot while he's out and continue to build our depth," Smith said.
Experience also extends down to the quarterback position as senior and three-year starter Alex Helmer is back. Replacing Smith and Cutler's yards will be backs and receivers like seniors Tate Nahorniak, Jack Geiger, Nick Opdahl, Alex Stuhl and Danny Cobenais. Junior Charlie Brookshaw will likely see playing time at tight end. One of the school's top athletes, senior Troy Urman, will be out for football this season and only adds to the Cardinals' depth. Smith believes Helmer and Nahorniak are legit Division II-type prospects.
These players will be counted on as linebackers and defensive backs. Helmer was an All-MBC safety last season Smith believes junior Max Rawson will play a key role on defense as well. Another All-MBC athlete in the defensive backfield is senior Owen Schommer, one of the league's top returning kickers.
"Kickers and punters are positions teams often search for right now in the preseason but we've already have one of the best around in Owen," Smith said. "He's certainly a weapon for us on special teams."
Smith said the Cardinals have the power of a Middle Border ballclub, as their strength numbers and measurements from the offseason were some of the best in program history. But what's missing from all these elements is a Middle Border Conference title, which PHS has never won. And to get that, Prescott has to go through the top two teams in the league who once again will be defending league champion Durand and defending state champion Somerset.
"You've got to beat the best to be the best and until we can knock either of them off we'll still be on the outside looking in as far as the league title goes," Smith said. "But we're certainly at the top of the heap of the remaining teams and I think it will be a more balanced league this season. Each team has something they can point to as a strength. I don't know if we'll have the same playoff success as last season, but it's no doubt the games inside the league are going to be just as tough. And to prepare for this, we've taken the mindset to win every practice, everyday we play football and let the Friday night's take care of themselves."
Prescott is on the road to start the season next Friday at Barron. Their first home games is Sept. 30 against St. Croix Falls. The league opener is against Amery, also at Laney Field, Sept. 6. Prescott plays at Somerset on sept. 13. Homecoming is Oct. 4 vs. Baldwin-Woodville.