Chippewa Falls, Fall Creek (WQOW) — There’s new head coaches in charge of both the McDonell Central and Fall Creek football programs, as Jason Cox and John Goodman are each excited for year one.
For McDonell Central, they are back on the field after missing the 2017 season due to low numbers. They have 17 players committed to the program for the upcoming season, and are also making the transition from eleven-man down to eight-man football. And for Cox, he’s very excited for the group that he’s putting on the field this season.
"I think we’ve got some talent. We’ve got some guys that can play, and guys that are eager to learn," said Cox. "I think we’ve got a pretty good mix of both linemen and skill guys that can go out there and make plays. If us as coaches can put them in positions to allow them to do that, I think that they can compete with pretty much anybody we play."
The Macks made the playoffs back in 2016, and finished 5-5 overall. This year, they have a seven-game schedule and hope to extend it into the postseason where eight-man playoffs are being recognized by the WIAA for the first time. For the seniors though who played in 2016 as Sophomores, they’re just happy to get back on the field.
"Last year was kind of a wake-up call that no one was playing, so we tried to get everyone to play," senior wide receiver and defensive back Eli Swoboda says. "And we got a team assembled obviously, with a good experience."
McDonell Central senior offensive and defensive lineman Noah Weimert stayed ready to go in the weight room.
"Last year was kind of tough. Me and a couple of the seniors, we tried to get into the weight room as much as we could," says Weimert. You know stay in shape for this year, doing a lot of agility stuff just trying to stay in shape and be in the best possible shape we could for the upcoming year."
The Macks open up their season August 24th on the road, taking on Wausau Newman.
In the Cloverbelt conference and at Fall Creek, the Crickets have a new head coach this season. John Goodman takes over after serving as an assistant for Chuck Raykovich and Chippewa falls last season. Fall Creek is looking to get back to the playoffs for the second straight season after finishing last year 5-5, and Goodman will bring some similarities to a Raykovich coached team.
"We have some things that we’ll add and incorporate, but we’ll throw the ball a little bit," says Goodman. "We’ll be sound, we’re going to be a disciplined team like coach Rayko’s teams always were. We’re just going to try to keep it loose and fun, and try to improve each day."
The Crickets do have a lot of experience returning from 2017, but one player they do have to replace offensively is runningback Ethan Ritger who was the second leading rusher in the Cloverbelt last season. But they bring back an offensive line, and also hope senior runningback Joey Kinderman can fill that void.
"I think I’m going to bring experience. Last year I got to play behind Ethan Ritger, and I think he showed me a lot about what he can do and the will you can put into something," Kinderman says. "I think that’s a big learning point, we was one of the leading rushers in the state."
Senior fullback and linebacker Taylor Anders thinks their experience is their biggest strength.
"A lot of experience. The offensive line is returning, most of our defense is returning," says Anders. "I feel like with all the experience, we’d be able to coach up the younger guys and kind of come together."
Fall Creek opens up the season August 17th at home, they host Neillsville/Granton.