Monday, August 28, 2006

Week 1 High School Football Notes

Week One of the high school football season is in the books. I had a chance to see Fond du Lac beat Oshkosh North 27-21 and St. Mary’s Springs fall to Green Bay Notre Dame 18-9 over the weekend.

Here are some general thoughts I came away with from the weekend,

First from the Fondy-North Game

I think I may have seen two of the better quarterbacks in the FVA Friday night. Fondy’s Ben Anderson showed pinpoint accuracy all night long. He threaded the needled on a long pass down the right sideline to Sean Little in the 2nd half that was simply unbelievable. He also showed good touch on his 25 yard scoring strike to Kyle Senn and threw another deep ball down the left sideline to convert a 3rd down that was perfectly thrown. He’s going to be fun to watch this year. On the other side of the field, North’s Juston Wara had some jaw-dropping moments as well. Wara’s first half TD pass to Josh Murphy is as good as you’re going to see in high school football. He should have been sacked three times after he was flushed to his left, but somehow broke the tackles and threw back to his right, very similar to Brett Favre in that playoff game in Detroit where he hit Sterling Sharpe for the winning score back in the early 1990s. By the way…how may Wara’s are there in the city of Oshkosh. Much like the Dieners of the 1990s in Fond du Lac. There seems to be always another one coming up.

The Fondy defense will need to improve if they want to be conference contenders. They couldn’t get off the field on Friday night. I can’t count how many 3rd and 4th downs were converted by North. Way too many to beat a conference contender.

I was also disappointed to see Paul Biolo get banged up Friday night.. On the sidelines it looked like he was begging the coaching staff to get back in the game. Let’s hope Paul can recover and get back on the field sooner than later. He’s one of the better athletes on the Fondy team and is a playmaker in all three phases of the game. He’ll be missed, but someone will have to step up.

Also on Friday night I was happy to see Coach Koz get a win in his first game. It will be a great confidence boost for the team and the new system that the kids have been working hard to establish over the last few months.

On to Springs, the Ledgers fell to Notre Dame 18-9 in the final meeting between the teams in the long series. The teams won’t play again for various reasons including enrollment disparities, and Notre Dame’s conference expanding, which means less non-conference games. Until this year, the last few games haven’t been all that competitive.

On Saturday the game was played at St. Norbert’s field in DePere, which has a great feel for football. It’s got the old school lights and the sounds of the game really project throughout the stadium.

This one looked like it was going to get ugly early as ND’s Kevin Rotherham has to be one of the better athletes in northeast Wisconsin. He returned a punt for a score, and also caught a TD pass in this one. He missed a big chunk of the 2nd half battling cramps. If he was on the field the entire game and healthy the score may have been a little different.

As for the Ledgers, I give them credit. They fell behind 12-0 early, but didn’t fold up the tent. They stuck to their guns, and Steve Mueller carried the mail between the tackles to get Springs back into it on a long scoring drive that was capped by a Mitch Schneider TD run. The defense was stingy the rest of the way, but the offense couldn’t get over the hump.

After the game I saw ND’s coach Nowak go over and address the Springs players in their post-game huddle. I didn’t hear what he said, but I’m sure it had something to do with the Ledgers playing tough, hard-nosed football.

Springs will be right there when it comes to their conference race this season.

Here are a few other notes from the weekend….

I’d like to thank WLA head coach Mark McCormick for stopping up and visiting us in the broadcast booth at halftime of the Springs game. The coach made the trip up watch the Ledgers on Saturday afternoon. It’s always nice to chat with coaches from around the area, and please, if you are at a game, stop by the broadcast booth and say hi.

Coach McCormick also said his son Josh is adjusting to life as a Division I walk-on at Northern Illinois. Josh will get to suit up for home games this year for the Huskies, but will have to wait his turn to get on the field. I think that with his athletic ability, he’ll be on the field somewhere for Northern Illinois in the future.

Also, it was nice to see North Fondy have a decent showing in their opener at Waterloo. Yes, they lost, but to bring a program back from the dead, that first game could have gotten ugly…ie 55-0. That wasn’t the case, from reading the newspaper article, it sounds like they competed and took a step forward. The Orioles will be at home this Friday night and I hear that their booster club is doing a big pregame party to celebrate the return of football.

Next Friday night, Fondy is back home at Fruth Field against Kimberly. You can hear all the action on News-Talk 1450 KFIZ. The Trepanier’s Backyard Grill Friday Night Kickoff Show will begin a bit later than the normal 6pm start time. The Packers play at 3pm so KFIZ will have that game on and the game broadcast should be done about 6:15pm or so. We’ll have the show right after the Packers wrap up. The Cards and Papermakers kickoff at 7pm.

If you’re heading to Fruth Field on Friday night, please be sure to give yourself some more time because 9th Street is tore up because of a bridge project. You are asked to get their early and park in the North Parking lot, which is the one off of South Street where you enter behind the visitors bleacher. I actually talked with Public Works Director Mark Lentz today about the timing of the project right when the high school football season started. He told me that it was budgeted for earlier in the year, but state funding was denied, and about a month ago the funding was approved by the state, so they had to do it now. So blame the state, and not the city.

Wow…this was long……have a great week, and I’ll see you at the game!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tiger Woods.....

I attended the PGA Championship this past week at Medinah and left in awe of Tiger Woods. I attend a golf major every year as my one vacation that I can take by myself. It's a good way to get away from the grind of every day life with no cell phones or ways to contact or be contacted by civilization on the course.

Anyways. I've watched Tiger Woods play roughly 16 rounds of golf in person at Major Championships. Each time I watch him, I simply am amazed at the things that he can do on the golf course. Earlier this year, people were wondering if Phil Mickelson was now the "King of the Hill." One blown U.S. Open and two Major wins by Tiger and there is no question who is the best.

If you've never gotten to follow Tiger in a golf Major, put it on the list of things you do in life. It's very surreal experience. The man has about 10,000 to 20,000 people following him at any given time and the rest of the course is bare. On Thursday, the group of Woods, Mickelson and Geoff Oglivy went off of #10 and I was shocked at how small the crowd was, but they went off the 10th tee which was about a mile from the first.

Following Tiger is something that needs as much planning as Grant going after the Confederates in the 1800s. You have to map out your plan and sometimes plan ahead. If you simply try to follow the masses and are under 6-foot, you'll see the backs of people's heads rather than the best golfer in the world. If you jockey for position sometimes moving ahead of the pack, you'll be OK...and see things like an 8 iron out of the rough from 180 yards...something no human can do.

It's also intersting to see how other golfers wilt under the pressure of playing with him in the final group or other golfers ahead of Tiger turning in disbelief when they hear the "roar" of the crowd whenver Tiger does something amazing.

Nicklaus has 18 Majors...Tiger could get 30.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

It's High School Football Time!!!

I got a chance to head out to Fondy football practice earlier this week and it got the juices flowing for another prep football season. The first thing I have to say is that I’m glad the team found a way to practice over at the new high school. Since they opened Fond du Lac High, the football team has had to get over to the old Goodrich fields for practice every day. Those days are done as the team began workouts right next to the tennis courts behind the school. I’m told the booster club is working on building some storage out at the high school for the football equipment and other sports as well. So that’s exciting.

New head coach Brad Kozaczuk has his team out there bright and early at 6am this week. Coach Koz said that on Tuesday some of his players were out waiting for him at the school at 4:45am. It will be interesting to see how Fondy adapts to the new Wing-T based offense this season under the new coach. One thing I noticed about Coach Kozaczuk during the short time I was out at practice is that he is a very passionate teacher of the game. He’s all over the field full of enthusiasm as he teaches his philosophies and techniques. I know that the veteran assistants Joe Guyette and John Redding are also very enthusiastic about the upcoming season and working with coach Koz this year. Another new addition to the staff is Tom Biolo, who has plenty of football experience and will be a good teacher to the Cards. Let’s hope this group of young men have some early success with the new staff and can make a push for yet another playoff run.

Here are some other tid-bits I’m looking at for the upcoming season as the KFIZ Sports Staff makes the rounds to check in on various area team’s as they get ready for the opener…

The End of an Era….Fond du Lac Springs opens up their 2006 season on the road at Green Bay Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon, August 26th. The game will be played at St. Norbert High School due to some work being done at Notre Dame’s regular field. This is the last meeting between the Ledgers and Tritons. The two long-time rivals are discontinuing the series after this year’s games. Springs has picked up Campbellsport on their schedule in 2007. There were some classic games between Springs and Notre Dame/Green Bay Premontre over the years, and we’ll most likely be highlighting some of those games leading up to the opener. News-Talk 1450 KFIZ will broadcast the Ledger opener live on August 26th.

I’m also looking forward to seeing WLA this season. It will be interesting to see on the Vikings offense shapes up with the graduation of QB Josh McCormick. I’m also anxious to get a look at the new press box at WLA and maybe the biggest thing you’ll notice at WLA this year is LIGHTS! That’s right! WLA will have lights and get to play night games for the first time at the high school. That mean’s WLA will be able to play true home playoff games and also the regular season finale can be played on campus and not at Fruth or North Fondy or wherever they could get a field for a “home game.” When you talk about WLA, you always have to mention the best concessions in the area. The wide variety of food they have at WLA…all I can say is my stomach is rumbling just thinking about it!

It will also be interesting to see how North Fond du Lac does this year. The Orioles had to forfeit most of their games last season because of numbers. In 2006 there is a new staff and an new-found enthusiasm for the program. I think new coach Nathan Lehman will do a great job leading the Orioles. The former Fondy assistant has brought over a handful of former members of the Cardinal coaching staff, including head coach Mike Dressler as they try and rebuild the North Fondy program. I’ve gotten to know the guys covering the Fondy program over the years, and they are all good people and hard workers, and I’m confident that they will again get North Fondy’s program back on the map.

News-Talk 1450 KFIZ will once again be your place to be for the area’s best high school football coverage this fall on Friday nights. Our high school football coverage will begin at 6pm every Friday night with the Trepanier’s Backyard Grill Friday Night Kickoff Show. KFIZ’s Justin Hull will host the show as we preview not only the Fondy game, but also the Springs, WLA, and North Fondy games by talking to the coaches themselves. We’ll also preview other conference matchups and teams throughout the season. John Casper or Doug Whitley of the Fond du Lac Reporter will be joining, Justin, myself, and Bob Hoffmaster for a round table session where we talk about the big stories of the night around the area. Bill Scott will also be back to preview the night in high school football around the state of Wisconsin.

At 6:40pm, we’ll begin in-depth coverage of the Fond du Lac game with our Fondy Pregame Show. You’ll hear from Coach Brad Kozaczuk every week as Bob Hoffmaster and I take you to kickoff.

After the game, as always, it’s scores and highlights from around the state of Wisconsin from 9:30pm to 11pm as Bill Scott hosts Football Friday Night presented by Kremer Pharmacy.

Of course you’ll always get all the high school game previews and recaps every Monday through Saturday morning on News-Talk 1450 KFIZ’s Breakfast Club during the sports at 6:45am, 7:15am, and 7:45am.

It should be a great prep football season and it’ll be fun covering all the local teams again this year. I’ll be posting my thoughts on the season on this blog all year so check back often and as always please either post any questions you may have about the preps here on my blog or drop me an email to

Be sure to stop up the broadcast booth and say hi if you see us out at a game!