There are a number of reasons North’s football team is pumped for the season to begin.
The Golden Raiders, who open the season Aug. 19 against visiting Plymouth, feature three all-Fox River Classic Conference South Division players in Tommy Basler, Samuel Neinhuls and Jacob Fox.
But don’t forget about Max Tutas, who scored 14 rushing touchdowns and gain 828 yards a year ago to go with 581 yards passing.
“We had some really good quarterbacks in our conference last year that kept him out of the running,” coach Joe O’Brien said.
North is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Last year, they fell one win shy of getting to the postseason.
“I’m hoping this year we’re in that playoff hunt,” O’Brien said.
• Don Brasch is the new coach and replaces Ryan Eigenberger after three years running the program.
• Two seniors who made all-Big East are back: tight end Noah Heinen (first-team) and defensive lineman Shawn Lewis (honorable mention).
• But three WFCA Small School all-state players have to be replaced: receivers Colin Girdaukas and Casey Verhagen, and quarterback Robby Michael.
Girdaukas’ 17 touchdown catches ranked second in the state.
Verhagen was second with 1,194 yards receiving and third with 76 receptions.
Michael led Wisconsin with 39 touchdown passes and his 2,596 yards were fourth. He also is the state’s all-time leader for most touchdown passes in high school (96). The trio also made first-team all-conference on defense.
• By winning its final three games, the Golden Raiders were one victory shy of making the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
• One senior who made first-team all-Fox River Classic South Division is back: inside linebacker Tommy Basler.
• Other key returners are seniors Samuel Neinhuls (all-division second team running back and outside linebacker) and Jacob Fox (honorable mention kicker and punter).
• Coach Jason Harder says his Redwings seem like a closer team and it’s gotten off to a good start the first few practices.
• Five of the six Redwings who landed on the all-FRC South team return: seniors Treston Dekker (second team running back), Ian Ledermann (second-team inside linebacker), and Ahren Hall (honorable mention offensive lineman), as well as juniors Joe Yurk (honorable mention wide receiver) and Maddox Xiong (honorable mention defensive back).
“Treston brings a really good energy to the team,” Harder said.
“Ian is steady and consistent in what he does.”
• Aden Katz has to be replaced after making first-team all-division as an offensive lineman and honorable mention as a defensive end.
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