Coming off a 1-8 record (0-6 in conference play), it appears the Elk Mound football team, under second year coach Dave Lew, has nowhere to go but up. With 13 seniors among the 54 players who reported for practice Aug. 4, Lew expects to have great leadership from those seniors to go with a strong junior class and some experienced sophomores this year.
The Mounders will have to replace eight players via graduation including quarterback Travis Nelson, running backs Tyler Deutschlander, Hunter Alexander and Derrick Redwine, All Conference defensive back and wide receiver Adam Gottschalk, All Conference place kicker Ryan Mueller, and linemen Gabe Anderson and Austin Hanson.
Returning for their senior year is All Conference offensive lineman Ryan Krall, along with Shawn Flynn, Jon Storing, Zach Mohr, Adam Wolgemuth, John Yang, Kevin Reynolds, Brody Bergh, Corey Hagberg, Korbyn Knipfer, Morgan Fuller, Tim Lambele and Josh Lien. Juniors looking to contribute are Alex Hollister, Teegan Peterson, Jordan VanSchoonhoven, Eric Walling, Ben Mack, Noah Stamm, Chase Morris, Justin Erpenbach, Cole Tyman, Colin Svee and Chandler James.
13 sophomores will bring their talents to the gridiron including Dane Lew, Trey Mohr, Chandler Schreiber, Hunter Johnson, Hunter Adleman, Tyler Sahm, Noah Zurbuchen, John Lien, Dayne Sell, Darren Svihovec, Hunter Gagner, Austin Owens and George Friberg. Rounding out the roster are 17 freshmen, Dylan Black, Jaylen Emberson, Ben Lambele, Christopher Lee, Bryce Kasper, Mark Brunner, Will Muszynski, Andrew Benson, Conner Mavis, Jack Brunner, Brody Bergh, Hunter Burlingame, Brandon Gilbertson, Ethan Kjellberg, Brandon Redwine, Aric Jensen, Blake Rosenthal and Tyler Brantner.
Lew has high expectations for his young team but believes the Mounders can be competitive with the strong core of seniors leading the way.
“We will play hard every game and let the scoreboard and conference record take care of itself,” he said. He expects Spring Valley to be one of the top teams in the conference this year, and although Mondovi and Glenwood City both lost a ton of seniors from last year, they both have a lot of talent and should be highly competitive.
Lew has plenty of experienced coaches assisting him again this year including Jeff Mack, Mark Traun, Jayson Lesik, Dan Hay, Brandon Powell, Dylan Pronschinski and Jesse Zurbuchen. After a four team scrimmage Aug. 15, the Mounders will play back to back Thursday night games, starting at home Aug. 21 against Chetek-Weyerhaeuser and at Eleva-Strum Aug. 28. They begin conference play at Spring Valley Sept. 5.