By Joe Bachman
“I expect us to be in the playoffs, again.” – Paul Liebherr
NEKOOSA — The Wisconsin Sports Network has picked Nekoosa to win the South Central Conference this year, and the Papermakers plan to follow suit.
With 10 returning seniors and some new and exciting additions to the squad, second year Head Coach Paul Liebherr looks to continue to the tradition of smashmouth Nekoosa football this season with hopes of a conference championship. As with with many successful teams, Coach Liebherr knows that games this year will be won in the trenches.
“We’ve got some seniors on the line, and these guys are impact players,” said Liebherr. “Our line is strong.”
With veteran leadership at quarterback in senior Kyle Olson, and seniors Evan Broder and Cole Kaberle at tackle and center respectively, the front line will likely secure many victories this season. However, Liebherr is also confident in the players filling the roles in the backfield from last year’s leaving seniors.
According to Liebherr, Fullback Trent Waltenburg looks to be one of many impact players for Nekoosa’s ground and pound style, as the six-foot sophomore had varsity playing time last year as a freshman. While the team has depth in the backfield, it comes with a young squad. This will lead the way to improve on Nekoosa’s passing attack, as Liebherr expects Olson to add experience and execution to the lesser seen passing game.
Much like every year, Papermaker fanatics should expect nothing more than the hard-hitting, physical style that Nekoosa is known for.
“We pound the ball — we run the rock,” said Liebherr. “We play physical, and we play uptempo — last year we averaged 60 offensive plays per game. We have a strong tradition of Wing-T football, and running between the tackles.”
While Liebherr expects a winning season and a hopeful deep playoff run, he attributes much of that to the culture and outstanding fan base that Nekoosa has.
“We’ve got a great fan base, and I’ve been a part of Nekoosa football for 12 years in some way — I’ve been around it and I love the town support,” said Liebherr. “Holland Field is the place to be on Friday nights — the whole town shows up.”
Nekoosa High School Football 2017-18 Schedule
8/17 – @ Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau
8/25 – River Valley
9/1 – @ Lodi
9/8 – Boscobel
9/15 – @ Wisconsin Dells
9/22 – @ Mauston
9/29 – @ Wautoma
10/6 – Westfield
10/13 – Adams/Friendship