EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) – The News 18 Sports Two-A-Days continues today with a trip to the Dunn St. Croix Conference.
The Mounders of Elk Mound are the defending conference champions, but as they go for the repeat this year they do so without longtime head coach Dan Pedersen. Pedersen stepped down at the end of last season after 39 years at the helms. Former Assistant coach Dave Lew is the new head man and says he is ready for the challenges ahead of him.
"We said from day one after Dan left, he's not going to be replaced ever. You know he was a great coach, he taught us a lot. And you know football's a great tradition here and we're just going to carry on and try to keep doing things the right way."
Replacing Pedersen with a coach that has been on the staff has helped make the transition easier on the team. Senior lineman Gabe Anderson is already pleased with the job Lew has been doing.
"Coach Lew, he's doing a great job. Coach Pedersen was here a long time so obviously he's got some pretty big shoes to fill. He's been with us for quite a while, so he knows the system, he knows how we work. He's done a phenomenal job taking over as head coach."
Elk Mound opens the season on Friday, August 23rd when they visit Chetek-Weyerhaeuser.
Down in Mondovi, the Buffaloes finished the 2012 season in a three-way tie for second place in the Dunn St. Croix Conference. This year the Buffaloes will be relying on strong senior leadership to get them back to the WIAA State Playoffs.
Mondovi comes into the season with 16 seniors on the roster. Fifth year head coach Mike Sinz says he believes the group is ready to help the team take the next step and compete for a conference title.
"This is our third year running our stuff, we got better last year after 2011, hopefully this year will be another step forward. You know our senior class is really good, really big. A lot of the kids have played a lot, so they've done a really good job as far as leadership goes."
Mondovi opens their season at home on Friday, August 23rd against Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau.