by Marlys Kruger
ELK MOUND — Coming off a 1-8 record from a year ago, third year coach Dave Lew expects to end up with a much better record with his Elk Mound football team this season, basically because he has several returning letter winners including a lot of juniors and seniors back. Many of these players have been on the varsity since their freshmen year and their experience will be a key to the team’s success, according to Lew.
Gone through graduation are All Conference lineman Adam Wolgemuth along with Shawn Flynn, David Ward, Jon Storing, John Yang, Kevin Reynolds, Brody Bergh, Corey Hagberg, Korbyn Knipfer, Morgan Fuller, Ryan Krall, Tim Lambele and Josh Lien.
Over 50 players found their way to the practice gridiron for the Mounders including returning starters junior quarterback and All Conference defensive back Dane Lew (who missed the end of last season with a broken leg), First Team All Conference running back junior Noah Zurbuchen who rushed for over 1,000 yards as a sophomore, senior wide receiver Jordan VanSchoonhovan, senior tight end Cole Tyman, senior linebacker Ben Mack, All Conference senior lineman Justin Erpenbach, junior linebacker Hunter Adleman, senior defensive end Chandler James, senior defensive lineman Chase Morris, senior defensive back Colin Svee, junior defensive end Hunter Johnson, senior wide receiver Alex Hollister, and sophomore William Muszynski. Other returning players expected to see action are senior safety Teegan Peterson and junior running back Tyler Sahm.
Lew will have plenty of newcomers working to find a starting spot including juniors George Friberg, Trey Mohr, Chandler Schreiber and Darren Svihovec along with sophomores Hunter Burlington, Brandon Gilbertson, Aric Jensen, Bryce Kasper, Chris Lee, Conner Mavis, Andrew Benson and Ethan Kjellberg.
“Having a quarterback (Lew) with two years of experience will be a positive for us this year,” coach Lew said. “And Zurbuchen, Adleman and Mack all have experience and will make our team so much better because of that along with their leadership. In fact, all of our seniors and juniors are good leaders. Our weakness may be our offensive and defensive line but I expect our offensive line to take on a bigger role this season. Our goal is to play hard every play in every game and make sure our players have the best experience possible. We want to teach these young men to become great citizens while having as much fun and excitement as they can. Everything else will take care of itself,” he added.
Completing the roster are seniors Elliot Johnson and Noah Stamm, junior John Lein, sophomores Brandon Redwine, Dylan Black, Jaylen Emberson, Ben Lambele, Blake Rosenthal and Tyler Brantner along with freshmen Colten Ward, Marcus Kinblom, Brett Lew, Brady Redwine, Ethan Kaanta, Tyler Bauer, Max Marquart, Marcus Kasakaitas, Ryan Zurbuchen, Nate Bechel, Jake Mentzel, Faith Darr, Mason Close, Rian Flynn, Jack Emberson and Mitchell Fox.
Assistant coaches this year are Jeff Mack, Brandon Powell, Dylan Pronschinske, Jesse Zurbuchen and Dan Hay and sideline stat girls are Sara Winchester, Taylor Deling, Waive Melgaard and McKenna McVey.
Elk Mound opens their season August 21 on the road against Chetek-Weyerhaeuser, the runner up in the Heart O’ North Conference last year, then will play a Thursday night home game August 27 against Eleva-Strum. Conference play will begin September 4 at Glenwood City.