Expect the unexpected.
That’s what Roncalli football coach Ray Baranczyk said about Saturday’s game when his No. 1 seeded Jets face off against visiting No. 8 Chilton in the WIAA State Football Division 3 Level 1 matchup.
“Chilton looks like a whole different team than when we faced them midseason,” Baranczyk said. “They used to be a power team but they’ve opened things up as of late. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
When the two sides met in Week 7 on Oct. 4, the Tigers (5-4, 3-4 Olympian-Packerland Large) were coming off their first loss of the season against Kewaunee the week previous. Roncalli (9-0, 6-0 O-P Large) prevailed 21-7, its smallest margin of victory all season, and went on to run the table the rest of the way while Chilton finished with four-consecutive losses.
Baranczyk noted while watching film the Tigers began to open up their offense more as the season progressed.
“I think when Chilton got into the tougher part of the schedule they weren’t able to power through the larger schools in the conference like Kewaunee and Wrightstown,” Baranczyk said. “And because of that, they had to open up their game plan which they hadn’t needed to before.”
That’s not to say Chilton doesn’t pose some problems for Roncalli.
In their previous meeting, the Tigers utilized a 6-3 defensive front, meaning Chilton stacked the box with six defense lineman and three linebackers to try to neutralize a potent Jets rushing attack.
“They did a very good job of getting to the edges and trying to beat our lineman to the outside which is what our offense is predicated upon,” Baranczyk added. “Their defensive line has a size advantage over our offensive line which caused us problems the first time around.”
Leading the way for Roncalli is running back Joey Macdonald.
Macdonald led the O-P Large with 1,077 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns according to WisSports.Net, nearly 300 yards ahead of the next closest runner, Nolan Wagner (766) of Southern Door. He was also the only back in the conference to average over a 100 yards per game at just over 116 per contest while gaining 8.4 yards per carry on 125 attempts.
Despite the discrepancy in seeding and relative momentum of both sides, Baranczyk knows his team has a fight on its hands come Saturday and wants his team to avoid a letdown after last Thursday’s emotional 35-0 victory over visiting Kewaunee.
“It’s hard to beat a team twice in a season,” Baranczyk said. “We need to come out hungry and keep focused so our emotions don’t get the best of us. The playoffs are a whole new season, but we’re ready.”