High school football: Local teams looking to regroup

Teams will battle conference foes
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Gillett is hoping to bounce back this week against Gibraltar after suffering its first loss last week to Newman Catholic. (Times Herald file photo)

After suffering its first loss of the year, the Gillett High School football team has another stiff test to overcome this week if it hopes to get back to its winning ways.

The Tigers will travel to take on an undefeated and ranked Gibraltar team coming off a 50-14 win over Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy. Gibraltar has outscored its three opponents 138-20 on the year.

Like Gillett, Gibraltar is also undefeated in MONLPC-8 play, so the Tigers know they will need to learn from their loss in a hurry and then turn in a strong game in order to come out on top.

“This week we will prepare and Friday go play sound, solid football,” said Gillett coach Jesse Witcraft. “Our team will be hungry. They have a good team; we have a good team.”

Last year, Gillett picked up a thrilling double-overtime win over Gibraltar on the strength of a monster game from running back Bo Krueger, who should again be a workhorse for the Tigers this time around.

After a North Eastern Conference loss to Freedom, Oconto Falls will look to nab its first win of the season on the road against NEC foe Denmark this week.

Denmark owns just a 1-3 record, but Oconto Falls coach Nick Bohl said the record is deceiving.

“Denmark is a very physical team on both sides of the ball,” he said. “They will come at you and smack you in the mouth and try to wear you down. They took Luxemburg-Casco to the wire and played Wrightstown very tough. They are a few plays from being 4-0 instead of 1-3. The biggest key for us this week is to match the intensity and physicality they are going to bring. We have to bring the right attitude and the will to fight.”

Bohl mentioned he was also going to take more responsibility for mentally getting his team ready this week.

“As the games go on, we look for continued growth,” Bohl said. “Are we getting better each day? Are we not making the same mental errors? The Freedom game, we did not play to the best of our abilities or have the right mindset,” he said of the 42-7 loss. “That is my fault as head coach. We will do a better job this week in being mentally prepared.”

Suring returns to MONLPC-Small Division play after suffering a lopsided nonconference loss to Hurley. The Eagles will travel to take on Northern Elite, a team that owns a 2-2 record and is coming off a convincing 42-0 win over Crandon.

Last year, Northern Elite took the matchup 51-28, so the Eagles know defense will play a key role in hanging with the Predators this time around.

“We have to focus on the fundamentals of tackling and understanding our defensive positions,” Suring coach Mitch Taylor said. “We played well at times (against Hurley) and moved the ball, but we need to finish our drives.”

The Lena/STAA co-op will have the week off after the Bowler/Gresham co-op had to cancel its season. Lena/STAA will pick up a forfeit win and turn its attention to a week six clash with Wausaukee instead.

Lena/STAA is currently riding a three-game losing streak after winning its season opener.

“We’ve seen a lot of improvement from the last two weeks,” coach Dale Lange said. “We were outsized (last week against Gibraltar) and gave up a lot of height to tall receivers and just couldn’t defend that. We had much better play from our offensive linemen and plan on seeing a steady improvement. We had some nice runs, but we also had some penalties at the wrong time.”