Almond-Bancroft visits Pacelli, SPASH hosts Wausau West for Homecoming
Portage County Gazette
By John Kemmeter
The Almond-Bancroft High School football team will look to clinch the Central Wisconsin Conference (CWC) Small Title outright, while Pacelli Catholic High School will try to keep its playoff hopes alive, when the two teams meet at Community Stadium at Goerke Field Thursday, Oct. 10.
Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) will take on Wausau West in its Homecoming Game, and Rosholt High School will play for a spot in the playoffs when it hosts Wild Rose, while the Amherst High School football team has this week off.
Almond-Bancroft and Pacelli
Division 7 sixth-ranked Almond-Bancroft (7-0, 4-0) clinched at least a share of the CWC Small Title with a 40-0 win at Wild Rose (0-7, 0-3) last week and can win it outright Thursday night against Pacelli (2-5, 1-2), which needs to win over Almond and Wild Rose in its final two games to clinch a playoff berth.
“Obviously how the season started, it didn’t really go how we wished, so it looks like we’ve got to win these last two games to get in (the playoffs),” said Pacelli football head coach Drew Nelson. “We’ll take Almond this week and see how that goes, and then get ready for Wild Rose after that.
“But we just preach one week at a time,” he said. “And we’ll put all of our focus and energy and effort into Almond and get ready for Thursday night.”
Pacelli is coming off a 46-8 win at home last week over Menominee Indian (2-5, 1-3) and last played Almond in the 2002 WIAA Division 7 State Quarterfinals.
There, top-seeded Almond was 11-0 and lost 27-19 to second-seeded Pacelli at Goerke Field, before the Cardinals (11-2) fell 21-14 to Eau Claire Regis (10-4) in the State Semifinals a week later.
“On film it looks like they’ve got a real solid team,” said Nelson. “It looks like they play some sound defense, and obviously they’ve got a couple of special guys there on offense.
“It presents some challenges,” he said. “They’re undefeated, and hopefully we’re able to throw a couple of things at them and make it interesting late in the game.”
SPASH (0-7, 0-6) will look to bounce back from a 35-21 loss at Wisconsin Rapids (3-4, 3-4) last week, when it hosts Wausau West in its Homecoming Game at Community Stadium at Goerke Field at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11.
“As disappointing as our first seven games have been right now, when it comes to not being able to get a ‘W,’ I think our kids are super excited about this week,” said SPASH football head coach Pete McAdams. “They’re super excited about Homecoming, normally there’s a lot of distractions that players are dealing with and coaches are worried about, and we’re trying to embrace it all.
“Our kids are fired up about the opportunity in front of them right now to get another chance to get out there and show everybody of what they’re capable of doing, but really more than anything else, to show themselves what they’re capable of doing,” he said. “And they’ve been doing that every week, being competitive and fighting for it and putting out great effort play in and play out, and I our think our kids are excited to do that again, and just keep plugging away and keep improving.”
SPASH won 21-0 at home last year over Wausau West (1-6, 0-6), which recorded a 28-14 over Wausau East this season Sept. 20, and is coming off a 25-7 loss to Marshfield (4-3, 4-3) last week.
“It’s about playing hard, playing together, and playing smart,” said McAdams. “At this point we want to be a better football team than we were earlier in the season, and every one of us coaches and every one of these players wants to see that improvement.
“And we really believe if we see that improvement, then the outcome of the game will take care of itself,” he said. “Wausau West has got some good football players, there’s some very good talent on their team on both sides of the football, so it’s going to be a heck of a task, but I think our kids are up for the challenge.”
In its CWC Small finale this season, Rosholt (3-4, 2-2) needs to win at home over Wild Rose (0-7, 0-3) at 7 p.m. Friday to clinch a spot in the playoffs.
The Hornets fell 37-12 at home last week to Pittsville (4-3, 3-1) and won 6-0 at Wild Rose last year on the way to a trip to the WIAA Division 7 Playoffs.
After clinching at least a share of the CWC Large Title with a 36-7 win over Division 6 seventh-ranked Manawa (5-2, 3-1) last week, second-ranked Amherst (7-0, 5-0) will not have a game this week.
The Falcons were originally supposed to play Pacelli in Week 8, but when Pacelli moved from the CWC Large to CWC Small for this season, Amherst was unable to find an opponent to play this week.
“I’m not very happy, Pacelli just left our conference and it was up to the teams to replace them,” said Amherst football head coach Mark Lusic. “Week 8 opponents aren’t very easy to find, so we got stuck.
“We offered to play them in a nonconference game and they said no, and the same thing happened two years ago, Manawa just drops out of our conference and you’re stuck to figure it out,” he said. “It’s not what I wanted to do, but it’s the hand we were dealt, so basically we got a game taken away from us.”
Lusic said his team will move on and make something out of this week and then get ready for Week 9, when the Falcons play at reigning Division 6 State Champion Iola-Scandinavia (2-5, 1-3) in their regular-season finale Oct. 18.
“Nothing’s changing really, all five days we’ll practice,” said Lusic. “We’re not backing off, we’re in full pads like we always are, the only difference is that we’re not preparing for one specific opponent, we’re working on things in different situations all week.
“And then of course next week it’s all about Iola,” he said.