By Cara L. Dempski
BOYCEVILLE — Following a 7-3 season in 2014, the Boyceville Bulldogs had a goal to return to the playoffs in 2015. The team wound up with a 4-5 overall record, and a 1-5 record in the competitive Dunn-St. Croix. Brian Roemhild’s Bulldogs will have a challenge ahead of them with a team of 29 players grades nine through 12.
Roemhild will need to find replacements for five all-conference players who graduated in May. Running back Jordan Morse lead the 2015 in rushing and was named all-conference honorable mention. He was joined by quarterback Hunter Anderson, who threw for 316 yards and was named an all-conference defensive back.
Roemhild’s other three all-conference players were Jake Lake, an offensive and defensive lineman who registered three sacks and was named to the all-conference OL, Jason Retzloff, who played both sides of the ball like Lake, was named all-conference defensive line, and Buddy Hanestad, a wide receiver who led the team in receptions with 250 yards over nine games. Also gone via graduation are Sam Hellman and Brandon Windsor.
“One of our weaknesses is our lack of varsity experience,” Roemhild said of his team. With only 29 players on the roster, the team will have to stay healthy and will need to be attentive to the requirements of each position played by individual players. Due to the youth of the team – the freshman class holds nine spots on the roster – there is a lack of experience in positions that will require players to learn quickly and retain their knowledge to be of service to the team.
Roemhild does return eight letter winners from last year’s team. Among these players is senior Hunter Lipke, who averaged 43.1 yards rushing per game in 2015, and provided one of the team’s six pick-offs of the season. Bryce Boda and Tyler Krueger also return to the team as receivers and defensive backs. Boda accounted for another three of the teams interceptions in 2015. Senior Gavin Olson led Boyceville in kick returns with four returns and one touchdown. Tristan Talmage, Cooper Boesl, Micadin Kahl, and Luke Knudtson round out the Bulldog letterwinners on this year’s team.
Seniors Lipke, Olson, and Krueger will be looked to as providers of leadership and talent on a team that will have to rely on versatility to provide depth. Talmage and Brian Malean will also likely be called upon more heavily on defense, where the bulk of their playing time came in 2015. Boda and Krueger are again expected to make significant contributions on both sides this year. Seniors and Juniors that will be sought for further assistance this year are Kyle and Daunte Marlett, Micadin Kahl, Bryce Larson, Noah Novotny and Jason Swanepoel.
The team’s quarterback this season looks to be sophomore Bailey Danovsky, who played in two games last season. While Roehmhild says “we are evaluating a lot of athletes and will have a better idea after our scrimmage,” it should be noted that Danovsky’s stats for last year indicate a loss of rushing yardage for the season.
Still, with a young team, there’s no way to go but up, and the fifteen underclassmen playing on this year’s team will have plenty of time to learn each other’s styles and come together as a team over the next few years. This plays to what Roemhild sees as one of the team’s greatest strengths: their unity. “All of these boys have a great work ethic and great character,” Roemhild says of his current roster that he expects his team to compete each week.
“Our conference is very tough and has a lot of great coaches that are very committed to the sport. I would expect all teams to compete each week,” Roemhild said of the Dunn-St. Croix. He added that the team’s main goal is to compete at the highest level and continue to improve throughout the season.
The 2016 season is Roemhild’s eighth with Boyceville and he carries a 36-32 record overall. His teams made it to the playoffs in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014. He will be assisted by Jamie Olson, Michael Roemhild, and Nick Kaiser.
The Bulldogs open their season with an away game playing Shell Lake in Cumberland on August 18. On August 26, they’ll play Clear Lake in Clear Lake before heading to Flambeau on September 2. They open conference play at home on September 9 against Durand.
• Seniors: Tristan Talmage, Hunter Lipke, Gavin Olson, Tyler Krueger, Kyle Marlett, Daunte Marlett, Micadin Kahl, Brandon Malean.
• Juniors: Cooper Boesl, Luke Knudtson, Bryce Larson, Bryce Boda, Noah Novotny, Jason Swanepoel.
• Sophomores: Dylan McNew, Brady Nye, Erick Loback, Ty Dicks, Gage Brown.
• Freshmen: Josh Marzofka, Dylan Hakanson, Hunter Nye, Brendan Sempf, Cade Klefstad, Tyler Bowell, Logan Knudtson, Steve Rasmussen, Damien Walters, Austin Hatfield.