Area football teams start practice
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT — The 2022-23 WIAA season has officially begun with the start of the football season. Athletes from all around the state got their hands on helmets and pads. Teams also got their first full practice of the season on Aug. 2. Locally, Stevens Point Area Senior High and Pacelli Catholic high school got down to business in preparation for week one.
SPASH and Pacelli players both practiced in helmets. Getting to see both practices in person; each had its own type of intensity. Players went through drills at 110 percent, while coaches were just as happy to be there. It truly felt like watching a kid on Christmas morning.
SPASH is coming into the year after an incredible season a year ago. The one difference is the new head coach, Ryan Eigenberg. He has been waiting for the first official practice day and is ready for the season to kick off.
“I am just excited to be out here. It’s a great group of guys here who have worked hard all summer,” Eigenberg stated.
Players split up by position to work on drills with their specific coaches. Whether it be quarterbacks, wide receivers, linebackers, or defensive backs, the drills were completed with high energy.
“We like to play with high energy. That’s the way we like to play in games, so we try to practice that way,” he said. “That’s the way we get our conditioning in as we’re always sprinting, always getting through drills.”
“It has been great getting that from those guys,” Eigenberg ended.
The first half of practice ended with the linemen, quarterbacks, and running backs together for run-blocking drills. While they did that, wide receivers worked on route running, and defense worked on other drills.
At Pacelli practice, head coach Drew Nelson talked about what he’s seen from his players at their first practice of the year.
“A lot of these kids are chomping at the bit getting ready to go,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of kids who’ve played a few years here, so we’re able to hit the ground running and hopefully get ahead of the ballgame.”
The Cardinals used their first half of practice to work on the offense. Using defensive decoys, Pacelli went through offensive sets for running and passing plays. The team then switched to positional drills for the remainder of the time before their break.
SPASH and Pacelli are preparing for week one, but both teams have scrimmages on Aug. 12. SPASH plays DePere at Goerke Park Field at 11 a.m., while Pacelli travels to Necedah High School for its scrimmage at 10 a.m.
Amherst, Rosholt prepare for season
More area high school teams continued working on practice fields, waiting in anticipation for that first game under the lights. Still, nearly two weeks from the first game, Amherst and Rosholt continued to sharpen their skills on both sides of the ball during their respective practices on Aug. 4.
One school has a seasoned head coach. The other has a new face at the helm. Amherst head coach Mark Lusic is back and ready to do it all over again.
“We’re excited. We got 64 kids out, which is a good number for us,” he said. “Kids are excited, a lot of energy. It’s been a good group; we had a very good summer camp. Just a different kind of energy; every year is different.”
Like most teams, the Falcons have almost a week of practice under their belts. They spent part of the first half of practice on August 4 doing positional drills. For the other portion of the practice, the team participated in live drills. Quarterback Matt Glodowski got reps in an up-tempo live-game drill. It helps prepare the players for in-game situations.
Moving north, Rosholt has a new name behind the headset for the upcoming season. Josh Wachowiak, the new head coach for the Hornets, has his team working before their first game on August 19. The team focused on positional technique and drills during the second half of practice. The drills mainly catered to the defensive side of the ball. Rosholt is a younger team looking to succeed this season.
Both teams will have a chance to play against another team next week in scrimmages. Amherst will play Winneconne at Winneconne High School. Rosholt travels to Shawano High School to play Bonduel.