Football: 3 local teams look to bounce back

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Gillett aims for 3-0 start

The Gillett High School football team is off to a fast start in its eight-man season.
The Tigers claimed a thrilling week one win in overtime before trouncing their week two opponent. Along the way, Gillett has outscored its two opponents 106-46.
The team returns home to face the Lena/STAA co-op Thursday. In last year’s clash, the Tigers eased to a 38-6 victory.
Gillett coach Jesse Witcraft is pleased with the team’s strong start on both sides of the ball, but he doesn’t want anyone getting content.
“Our defense is playing solid, tenacious defense,” Witcraft said, “but we are only two games into the season, so we need to continue to get better week in and week out. Then at the end of the day, we’ll see what happens. But right now, focus on one play, one game at a time.”
Brock Herzog, who serves as the team’s quarterback, said the team’s confidence is riding high, so the players are hoping to carry over their strong performances from the first couple weeks of play.
“The key to winning the game against Lena this week is to work as a team, have mental toughness and keep playing with the same intensity that we have the last two games,” he said.
Lena/STAA is coming off a 44-0 loss to Florence in which the co-op struggled to move the ball on offense.
Coach Dale Lange is hoping the team can clean up some of its week two mistakes and put forth a similar effort to week one, in which the co-op routed Menominee Indian.
“We will have to be on the top of our game and play sound, fundamental football,” Lange said. “We can’t have the penalties like we did this week at the wrong time to stop any offensive drives. Defensively, we need to gang tackle and flow to the ball.”
While Suring is coming off a tough triple-overtime loss, coach Mitch Taylor was happy with the way the team competed.
Taylor hopes the team can take that same kind of effort into Thursday’s MONLPC-Small Division opener against Crandon.
“The main thing we are going to talk about is the fact that we didn’t give up and competed to the end,” Taylor said on the message the coaching staff would relay to the team in practice this week. “We have a lot of young players that are contributing to the team, and we just focus on getting better every day.”
Last year, Crandon pulled out a 65-14 win over Suring.
Despite an 0-2 record and another stiff test awaiting in week three, Oconto Falls coach Nick Bohl is still pleased with the way the team has competed so far this year.
The Panthers will prepare for a North Eastern Conference clash with Marinette on Friday, a matchup Bohl thinks the team should be more prepared for because of the Marines’ schemes.
“Marinette runs a similar offense to ours, so I believe that will help us out as we have been practicing it for the past five weeks,” he said. “We have to start finishing plays, making tackles and blocking. As coaches, I think we missed the mark on the fundamentals in practice last week.”