Durand, Mondovi (WQOW) — Durand and Mondovi finished second and third, respectively, in the Dunn-St. Croix last season, and both the Panthers and Buffaloes are looking to contend in the conference once again.
Durand advanced to Level 2 of the WIAA Division 5 playoffs in 2017. Head coach Rod Rosemeyer is starting his 12th season as the Panthers’ head coach, and while he has some concerns about low participation numbers in the program, he’s happy that the six-member senior class has a lot of playing experience.
"Real happy with the senior leadership so far, they’re doing a nice job of leading the younger guys and helping them get up to speed, so I couldn’t be more pleased," Rosemeyer says, "and I knew going in that these seniors are going to be very reliable, so they’ve done a real nice job."
Among the six seniors returning are T.J. Tulip, who was the starting quarterback last season as well as a first-team all-conference performer at linebacker, along with Ceejay Schlosser, who was a second-team All-DSC linebacker.
"I think we’re definitely going to have to use our speed," says Tulip, "we don’t have the size that we had last year but we do have a lot of speed so we’re going to have to use that to our advantage The expectation, obviously, is to go one-and-oh every week, take it week by week, and see what happens, give it everything we’ve got "
"Coming off the last couple years we’ve had a really solid football team," says Schlosser, who’ll also start at fullback, "we’ve made deep runs in the playoffs, we’ve won conference, so I mean, he bar is high, we gotta go get it."
Durand kicks off the season at St. Croix Central, Friday, August 17.
Mondovi made the Division 5 playoffs, thanks to a three game win streak late in the season, as the Buffaloes got more familiar with their new spread offense installed by then first-year head coach Craig Loscheider. In year two of the system, coaches and players expect it to be even more effective.
"We scored more points than they’re used to scoring, we had more yards and touchdowns than they’re used to having," Loscheider says, "but this year we have a much clearer picture of what we want to accomplish offensively, and I hope that reflects itself on game night."
Mondovi returns quarterback Brennen Christopherson, who was the first-team all-conference QB last season as a junior. In his second year in the spread system, he’s looking to put up more good numbers in 2018.
"Everything’s kind of playing together, everything’s coming in faster than it did before," says Christopherson, who’ll also play cornerback, "the installs are going in faster, everything else is coming along, people are knowing what they’re doing, their jobs are coming on faster, so everything, the speed has just kind of picked up and we can get down to what we’re doing."
"We’ve got a lot of great players that played last year coming back, so I like the spread and run kind of duo," says senior running back / linebackers Logan Uschan, "because it’s not all smash-mouth, you know we can always pass it, and it’s always just a good mixture."
Mondovi kicks off the season on Friday, August 17, when the Buffaloes travel to Eleva-Strum.