Football: Big matchups loom for area teams in week 4

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All four teams will have home field advantage

Oconto Falls will be seeking its first win of the season when hosting Freedom on Friday. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

After strong showings in week three, the Gillett, Suring and Oconto Falls football teams are hoping to keep up that effort during critical week four matchups.

Gillett will play host to Newman Catholic at the eight-man level. Both teams are ranked and carry undefeated records into the showdown.

Gillett will be led by standout running back Bo Krueger, who has scored at least four rushing touchdowns in each of the first three games. Newman Catholic features a lethal passing attack, led by quarterback Ben Bates.

In such a big matchup, it’s easy for teams to get away from what they do best. Coach Jesse Witcraft and the coaching staff is keeping things the same at practice and hopes the team can build upon its strong start to the year.

“Definitely a big game this week for our program. I feel we match up well in this one,” Witcraft said. “I feel we just need to minimize the errors and just play our game. If we play hard, stay focused, and just play one down at a time we will be fine. They have a good program and so do we. It will be a good game to attend.”

Suring was able to secure its first win of the season with a conference win over Crandon last week.

The team now is hoping to take that same effort into a nonconference clash with Hurley.

“It’s always great to get that first win, especially in conference,” Suring coach Mitch Taylor said. “We are just trying to get better every week. We did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage, but need to finish off drives.”

Despite falling to 0-3, Oconto Falls turned in its most competitive game of the season last week. The Panthers nearly rallied from a large deficit against Marinette in a North Eastern Conference clash.

The Panthers are now preparing for another conference clash with Freedom.

Freedom earned a 46-0 win in last year’s matchup, but Oconto Falls coach Nick Bohl believes his team will rise to the challenge like it has all season.

“Our kids motivate themselves,” Bohl said. “Each week we talk about being a problem for the team we face and our willingness to go toe to toe with them. Our goals for the year were to play for each other, make progress every single day and to leave everything on the field. I feel like we have accomplished those three goals so far and hope to continue to achieve those goals as we continue on into our season.”

The Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy co-op is hoping to bounce back after a couple of disappointing games.

The co-op opened the year with a 44-0 win over Menominee Indian but has dropped games to Florence (44-0) and Gillett (38-0) since.

Coming off the losses, coach Dale Lange wants his team to keep looking at the positives while trying to overcome the adversity.

“Well, we have had some injuries and have had to play some younger players so we have to keep looking at the positive side of things as to not get discouraged,” Lange said. “Offensively, we have got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. We are going back to work on the basics and simplify the offense.”