BOYCEVILLE — With 30 players reporting to practice for the Boyceville football team, coach Brian Roemhild knows his team will have their work cut out for them if they want to make a return to the WIAA playoffs this year.
The Bulldogs will have to replace several players who were named to the All Conference team including Logan McAbee Thomas, the leading rusher a year ago, Brady Schutts who collected 400 yards as a receiver, Brett Boda, the leading tackler for the team, tight end Mitch Leach and lineman Justin Schultz. Also gone via graduation are Tyler Stroo, Damion Bicknell, Jacob McIntyre, Tyler Draeger, Alex Lovett, Lance Kendall, Jacob Erickson, Chanler Engebretson and Dylan Lamm.
“Our goal every year is to compete for a conference championship and make the playoffs,” Roemhild said.”Last year’s team will tell you they had a very successful season with a 7-3 record but it didn’t end the way we wanted it to with a 14-12 loss to Marathon in the playoffs.”
Roemhild has some quality players back with varsity experience including senior quarterback/defensive back Hunter Anderson and lineman/kicker Jake Lake who were both AC picks their junior season. Several more seniors should make an impact with Sam Hellmann playing at the running back/defensive end spots, Jason Retzloff, a lineman on both sides of the ball, Jordan Morse, a running back/linebacker, Brandon Windsor, another lineman on both offense and defense and Buddy Hanestad, a wide receiver/defensive back.
Juniors expected to help out include Gavin Olson, Hunter Lipke, Tristan Talmage, Tyler Krueger, Micah Johnson, Brad Mounce, Brandon Malean and Trey Brinker. Eight sophomores will be competing for playing time including Justin Malean, Cooper Boesl, Luke Knudtson, Noah Novotney, Bryce Boda, Hunter Spenle, Jason Swanepoel and Bryce Larson while seven freshmen, Jaden Reisimer, Bailey Danovsky, Ty Dicks, Brady Nye, Gage Brown, Joshua Briese and Erick Loback fill out the roster.
Roemhild believes the strength of his team will be their speed, leadership from his upper classmen and the Bulldog tradition of working hard in very practice and game. Their weakness will be team depth and the low number of players with varsity experience. He defined his team goals for the season:
“We want to play as a team and win all three phases of the game (offense, defense and special teams),” he said. “We want to take each game one at a time and improve our offense in the red zone and try and get our defense off the field after third downs. We want to play the Boyceville way,” he added.
With St. Croix Central leaving the Dunn-St. Croix Conference, Roemhild expects their replacement Durand to change things up a bit.
“I think the conference is very strong this year,” he said. “A lot of teams lost some very talented players but return a lot of talented players. Every night will be a battle no matter what your record is.”
Assisting Roemhild, who begins his seventh season leading the Bulldogs are Jamie Olson, Michael Roemhild, Nick Kaiser and Joe Hellmann. Roemhild carries a 32-27 record into the season and his teams have made it to the post season in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014.
Seniors: Hunter Anderson, Budrick Hanestad, Samuel Hellmann, Jacob Lake, Jordan Morse, Jason Retzloff, Brandon Windsor.
Juniors: Trey Brinker, Micah Johnson, Tyler Krueger, Hunter Lipke, Brandon Malean, Brad Mounce, Gavin Olson, Tristan Talmage.
Sophomores: Bryce Boda, Cooper Boesl, Luke Knudtson, Bryce Larson, Justin Malean, Noah Novotney, Hunter Spenle, Jason Swanepoel.
Freshmen: Joshua Briese, Gage Brown, Bailey Danovsky, Ty Dicks, Erick Loback, Brady Nye, Jaden Reisimer.