Bloomer, Chippewa Falls (WQOW) -- Both Bloomer and McDonell Central will have to replace plenty of talent from last season.
Bloomer's had a very good run in eight seasons under head coach John Post, never missing the WIAA playoffs in that time. The Blackhawks advanced to Level 4 of the Division 4 postseason in 2011, but Bloomer returns just one starter from that team. The Blackhawks graduated 23 seniors, so Post and his staff are trying to figure out how to replace all that talent.
"Every year, most places go through it," says Post, "our numbers as most places are up and down. It's a smaller number year than what I've been here so we have some challenges ahead of us."
Bloomer junior running back/linebacker Colton Seibel says, "We just have to get as many reps as we can returning one guy. It's going to be important for everybody to step up and just fill their role."
The Blackhawks kick off the 2012 season at home on Friday, August 24, against Somerset. The Spartans ended Bloomer's postseason run last November.
"Somerset is always going to be good," Post says, "when we first picked them up, I wanted to play a top notch program in the area, and Somerset is it. Ideally, we can be competitive, we have been in the past. And there's been years in the past when they've completely shut us down. But I believe we'll be competitive, that's the hope."
On the topic of challenges, McDonell Central has one on Monday: the weather, as lightning in Chippewa Falls forces the Macks indoors. Beyond that, first-year head coach Joe Salter is dealing with some low numbers. McDonell has fewer than thirty players on the roster, so Salter says the team will rely on some underclassmen this season.
"That was the nice thing about having low numbers last year," Salter says, "the young guys got playing time, so they know what to expect when they come to the varsity level. But again we're going to have to rely on the younger guys this year."
"We have to lead," says fullback/linebacker Mason Richlen, "that's a big thing, we have to be leaders. We have to direct them and make sure they know what they're doing. As long as they know what they're doing, I think they're up for the challenge."
McDonell Central has been a passing team in recent years, but with lower numbers and different personnel, the Macks are going back to the ground.
"We don't have Kyle Cody to throw the ball 100 yards a crack," says Salter, "but we're definitely going to get back to the basics of running the football. And then we'll work on that passing game. It's there, it's just not complete yet."
Offensive lineman/linebacker Logan Nordstrom says, "The last couple of years, we've been able to pass the ball pretty easy. This year, we really don't have very many wideouts, so we'll have to rely more on our run game, like our conference."
McDonell Central opens the season with a Cloverwood Conference game at Owen-Withee, on Friday, August 24.
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