Prep football season begins FridayCould Plum City's 52-game regular season winning streak come to an end this weekend? It's one of the possibilities facing Pierce County prep football teams as they begin their seasons Friday.
Could Plum City's 52-game regular season winning streak come to an end this weekend? It's one of the possibilities facing Pierce County prep football teams as they begin their seasons Friday.
The Blue Devils face rival Spring Valley in the annual Gridiron Classic held at UW-Stout's Williams Stadium in Menomonie. The game is set for Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.
Last year the Cardinals look as though they would snap the streak at 43, leading late in the fourth quarter. But PC hung around long enough where they found a way to win in overtime 20-14 when Alex Gilles connected with Tyler Churchill for a two-yard TD pass reception.
Winning close games and putting away teams is an emphasis for the Cards' this season, especially given how many returning starters and lettermen are back for another go around against PC. They include players like quarterback Jon Newton and defensive back/running back Kyle Bosshart and lineman Troy Rudesill.
"We should have won that game and we didn't because we didn't know how to make the plays which lead to a win and they did," SV head coach Matt Ducklow said. "Their record is proof of it. It what we have to strive to do better this season."
New Plum City head coach John Pollock knows the possibility of a streak-ending loss is always there in every ballgame and the team will deal with it when it finally does happens. But they're not planning on it Saturday. While not as deep or big across the board as Spring Valley, PC returns a solid core of letter winners like Chase Luebker and new quarterback Chad Fox and lineman Mitchell Erickson.
"Knowing how to win gives a team big advantage," Pollock said. "It's not something you can just teach. It's something they develop in both confidence and knowledge. It's knowing what to do in any game situation and not giving up."
The PC-SV match-up is the last one of the Classic. The first game and the very first game in the state of Wisconsin in high school football comes Friday at noon when Elmwood matches-up against Whitehall. Like their neighbor Plum City, the Raiders have often time pulled wins out of the jaws of defeat against the Norse in the Gridiron Classic. Elmwood has won four straight over Whitehall. But once again Whitehall will have the size advantage led by their big running backs Jake Pientok and Pete Berg.
Clair Austin's tenure as Ellsworth head coach begins Friday evening at Fuller-Symes Field when the Panthers host Elk Mound. The Mounders beat the Panthers last season as EHS couldn't recover from a disasterous start to the game despite playing even with the eventual playoff-bound Mounders in the second half. EM will be breaking in a new quarterback but return the team's top receiver in Marcus Mauer, just as the Purple returns its top wide out in Alex Campbell. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.
Prescott also plays its home opener Friday, hosting Dunn-St. Croix defending champ Mondovi at Laney Field with the kick-off at 7 p.m. The Buffaloes were 10-1 last season, but will be rebuilding having lost nearly all of their skills players while Prescott hopes to bounce back from a 3-6 season. The Cardinals will have one of their biggest teams in some time as running backs Mike Lytle and Aric Sandvig will try to run behind linemen Nick Jacobson and Blake Wuorenma.
Season previews of Pierce County's prep football and all fall high school sports teams will be in next week's Herald, on sale at newsstands Tuesday.