By Paul Lecker For Zaleski Sports
MARSHFIELD – Two straight Valley Football Association West Division titles and a trip to the WIAA state semifinals last season has the Marshfield High School football program trending in the right direction.
The 2019 team hopes to continue that positive momentum when it begins its season at Appleton West on Friday, Aug. 23, with a VFA crossover game. The game, which will begin at 7 p.m., will be broadcast on WDLB-AM 1450 and wdlbwosq.com.
Marshfield put together a perfect regular season a year ago and won its first three playoff games before losing in the Division 2 state semifinals to Mequon Homestead 12-7. None of that matters now as this year’s group of Tigers will have nearly an entire new look.
Only three starters return. The team’s leading pass catcher, wide receiver Issac Meverden, top tackler Ben Gust, as well as Joey Goettl, who will move from receiver to quarterback, are back in starting roles for the Tigers.
While a number of other juniors saw significant playing time in 2018, this year’s group of seniors will largely be taking on bigger and more important roles.
A total of 138 players, including freshmen, went out for football this fall, a number that pleases head coach Denny Goettl.
“The numbers are up for us,” Goettl said. “We don’t have a great big senior class, 26 I think, and a few new players that came back out or just started playing football, so that’s kind of cool. We’re going to be young on offense. We’re getting kids plugged into some spots and if you want to play, you’re going to get a chance.”
The team will have an entire new offensive line and backfield. Goettl takes over the quarterback duties from three-year starter Ryan Krueger, and seniors Bradley Dickinson, Sam Hinson and Noah Schaefer will be the main running backs. Only Hinson saw much action last year, running for 97 yards and a touchdown.
Gust returns at middle linebacker to anchor the Tigers’ defense after compiling a team-best 73 tackles, including 5½ sacks, last season.
Emmett Meissner, who saw a lot of playing time during the second half of the season and the playoffs, also is back at his linebacker position after recording 20 tackles in 2018.
“We’re pretty talented offensively at the skill positions, and defensively we’re really talented at a lot of places,” Goettl said. “There’s a lot of returning kids that saw time last year.
“We’re not big, but we’re fast again. There were 55 kids that ran sub 5 (second) flat 40s (40-yard dash). Speed and track workouts in the summer, it’s working. We have some fast kids. I think it’s going to take some senior leadership, and the guys that are there are going have to step up and bring along some of the other kids to bring it all forward and make it work for us.”
Marshfield will open its home schedule at the new Heiting Community Stadium at the high school on Aug. 30 against Oshkosh North. Goettl, and the team, are excited to get the season started.
“They’re having fun and there’s a lot of kids,” Goettl said. “You say goodbye to a group of seniors with one hand, and turn your head to the left and you got a whole lot of new freshmen. The seniors are going to step up, that’s the way it is. They know they have to work and they put the time in this summer.”
2019 Marshfield Football Schedule Fri., Aug. 23 at Appleton West, 7 p.m. Fri., Aug. 30 OSHKOSH NORTH, 7 p.m. Fri., Sept. 6 at Hortonville, 7 p.m. Fri., Sept. 13 KAUKAUNA, 7 p.m. Fri., Sept. 20 at Stevens Point (Goerke Field), 5 p.m. Fri., Sept. 27 WISCONSIN RAPIDS, 7 p.m. Fri., Oct. 4 at Wausau West (Thom Field), 7 p.m. Fri., Oct. 11 D.C. EVEREST, 7 p.m. Fri., Oct. 18 SPARTA, 7 p.m. Home games in CAPS, at Heiting Community Stadium, Marshfield High School