Oconto Falls struggling for points

Photo by Lisa Walters

Oconto Falls High School senior Cliff Yuma gets tackled during the 46-0 loss to Freedom on Sept. 8.

In the previous two years, the Freedom football team put a hurting on Oconto Falls, outscoring the Panthers 95-6.

Friday night continued that trend as Freedom scored on five straight first-half possessions before cruising to a 46-0 victory in North Eastern Conference play.

The Panthers have been outscored 181-15 in their first four games this season.

“It just comes down to finishing,” Oconto Falls coach Barry Derickson said. “What we’re trying to do is execute. It’s going to be a process; there is no magic wand. I’m not (University of Texas football coach) Tom Herman who’s going to come in and make it happen overnight.

“But at the same time, we’re on the right path to do the right things. We’ve just got to go out and execute. This program, we’re trying to revive it from the dead.”


FVL sweeps Panthers

It could have been a match-changing set for the Oconto Falls volleyball team.

The Panthers had set point twice in the second against Fox Valley Lutheran, but the Foxes used their third set point to pull out a 29-27 victory. That put Fox Valley Lutheran up 2-0, and the visitors cruised in the third set to pull off a sweep (25-11, 29-27, 25-18) in North Eastern Conference play on Thursday.

The second set loss was deflating for Oconto Falls.

“Unfortunately, we made some unforced mistakes,” Oconto Falls coach Rochell Otto said. “Down at that point, you can’t be missing key serves. Not that you want to beat that up, but that’s the facts of life. You’re tied 25-25 or 26, and you’ve got to put the ball in play and play some defense.”


Gillett ends dry spell with dominating 49-8 win

Photo by Josh Thompson Media

Gillett High School junior Adam Anderson finds running space in the Tigers’ 49-8 win at Menominee Indian High School on Friday.

Bo Krueger was hoping to score one touchdown on his birthday.

The Gillett sophomore running back got a better present than he wished for: four touchdowns.

Oh, what a sweet 16 party it was for Krueger.

Gillett tallied seven rushing touchdowns and added a defensive score as the Tigers beat Menominee Indian 49-8 in 8-man play Friday.

“I had a goal just to score a touchdown,” Krueger said.

Just one?

“Just one,” Krueger said. “More is just a bonus.”

Even more important than the individual effort by Krueger was the team win for Gillett. It’s the program’s first victory since the 2015 season.

“After that season last year, this feels great to win one,” Krueger said.

“It’s a big sigh of relief,” Gillett first-year coach Jesse Witcraft said. “Last week, we played hard and we came up short. And this week, to come out and play the way they did, I thought they rebounded pretty well.”


High School Previews


Girls volleyball

Head coach: Keri Hicks

Last season: Overall record, 9-15, M&O conference record, 7-8

Key returning athletes: Willow Pecha, Megan Wolfe, Faith Sorlie, Kalea Britton, Taylor Yonker.

Coach’s comment: “We are a good combination of athleticism and volleyball sense but need the sophomores who will round out the starting line up to gain some experience and confidence. Challenges will include being consistent, and filling some positions that were left open due to athletes who graduated.”


Girls volleyball

Head coach: Heidi Place

Key returning athletes: Brianna Sylvester, senior; Ally Demmith, senior; Kaylee Huberty, senior; Kaitlyn Hodkeiwicz, senior; Makayla Bushmaker, senior.


Oconto Falls girls place third at Southwest Invitational

After losing five of their top seven runners from last season, the Oconto Falls girls cross-country team heads into this year without a lot of experience.

Of the nine girls on the team, four or five of them are new, coach Lon Ludemann said. The Southwest Invitational at Colburn Park on Aug. 23 gave the young athletes some experience in a varsity race.

The Panthers finished third as a team with 64 points. Green Bay Southwest (20) won the invite, and Green Bay East was runner-up (46).

Oconto Falls’ top two runners, Breanna Sadowski and Autumn Canavera, ran well. Sadowski finished in fifth (22:06), and Canavera was seventh (22:35).

“I’m relying on those two girls to get the others to get the picture,” Ludemann said.

Sadowski, a junior, was trying to chase down four Green Bay Southwest runners, who took the top four spots.


Panthers run away with Southwest title

Noah Kokko-Ludemann has put in his due over the years.

As a freshman on the Oconto Falls cross-country team, he was the No. 7 runner. The next year, he moved up to No. 3, and last year he was second. Now a senior, Kokko-Ludemann has his shot to be the team’s top runner.

On Aug. 23, he showed he’s ready.

Kokko-Ludemann won the Southwest Invitational as Oconto Falls’ first seven runners placed in the top 12 in the season-opening, three-team meet at Colburn Park in Green Bay.

The Oconto Falls boys ran away with the meet title with 18 points, followed by Green Bay Southwest (39) and Green Bay East (incomplete).

Kokko-Ludemann had a time of 18:21 to lead the way.

“I thought it was pretty good, just to see the training from the summer coming together,” Kokko-Ludemann said. “I know there wasn’t a lot of people here; just a good warmup race and get into the groove of the season.”


Panthers shut out in opener

Photo by Josh Thompson

Oconto Falls High School junior quarterback Dakota Carriveau attempts a pass against the New London defense during Oconto Falls’ 48-0 nonconference loss at home Thursday.

As the Oconto Falls football players cheered as Cliff Yuma went streaking down the sideline 84 yards into the end zone, Panthers coach Barry Derickson stood motionless.

Not far from him was a flag. He knew the play was coming back. Oconto Falls’ first touchdown of the season was negated due to an illegal procedure penalty.

On the very next play, New London corralled an interception. Three plays after that, the Bulldogs were in the end zone.

That 14-point swing cost Oconto Falls plenty of momentum. New London, on the other hand, used the short field to get its offense started. The Bulldogs then scored on seven straight drives in the rain to run away with a 48-0 nonconference victory in the season opener Thursday in Oconto Falls.

It certainly wasn’t the ideal start to the game for Oconto Falls.


Lena/STAA overcomes turnovers, wins opener 26-22

Times Herald photo by Chris Caporale

Lena/STAA running back Tyler Stuart gets by Menominee Indian lineman Darius Wayka (45) during Lena/STAA’s 26-22 road victory Thursday.

Lena/STAA allowed just eight points off three second-half turnovers Thursday in a 26-22 season-opening road victory over Menominee Indian.

The Eagles drove 65 yards for Meshaen Waukau’s third touchdown of the game after forcing a fumble on the Titans’ second play of the second half but could not turn another fumble and interception into points.

“I think it’s a killer instinct thing that happens sometimes with younger teams. You don’t finish the job,” Menominee Indian head coach Chris Clache said. “They’ll think they got the interception, that’s it. They think they got the one touchdown, that’s it. It’s not that way. They’ve got to finish the job. I think they learned a hard lesson today.”

After Waukau’s touchdown gave the Eagles the 22-20 lead in the third quarter, the Titans fumbled again on the first offensive play of the next possession, and Menominee Indian’s Mariano Lyons jumped on the loose ball. The Eagles, however, could not move the ball and punted.


Tigers integrating more youth into starting lineup

Times Herald photo by Chris Caporale

Gillett High School senior Faith Sorlie gets low to make a pass during practice Monday. Sorlie is one of three seniors returning to the starting lineup this all and one of five seniors on the team’s roster.

Losing two of the quickest players from last year’s team will make it more difficult for the Gillett volleyball team to find success this fall.

With five returning starters, however, head coach Keri Hicks hopes the team can plug in some talented sophomores and get back on track.

“Our theme this year is one step at a time, not that we can’t set goals and or look at expectations,” Hicks said. “I always want to be in the top three; that’s not going to change.”

The Tigers were expected to much better last season than their final 9-15 record (7-8 in the Marinette & Oconto Conference).

The disappointment is fueling the five seniors who are playing their final year with the Gillett name on the jersey.

“We had really big dreams last year, and we didn’t reach them obviously,” senior Faith Sorlie said. “I hope that this year, we can at least … build a plate for them to build off of.”


Sprout, Peitersen to carry Panthers into 2017

Times Herald Photo by Chris Caporale

Oconto Falls High School sophomore Samantha Coron works on setting a ball during practice on Monday. Coron was the team’s No. 2 setter a season ago and will look to be more consistent this year.

Last season, the Oconto Falls volleyball team relied on a solid front row attack as Shelby Coron and Sarah Sprout combined for 737 kills.

Coron graduated, but Sprout is back for her senior year. Sprout, an outside hitter, is one of three returning players who played in every set in 2016. Middle hitter Stephanie Peitersen and setter Emma Huberty are also coming off strong seasons.

“Losing Shelby, she’s going to be tough to replace,” fourth-year head coach Rochell Otto said. “We don’t have really anybody coming in to replace her for my other middle.”

Sprout, who was first-team all-North Eastern Conference last year, was second on the team in kills with 254 and had a kill percentage of 35.2. She was also second in digs (297) and third in aces (35).

“We’ll definitely be riding with her,” Otto said. “She hits well off the right side, so I’m looking at possibly moving her so teams don’t aim up on her being on the outside.”


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