Prep Football 2014: Mayville

Prep Football 2014: Mayville


Prep Football 2014: Mayville


In four years as coach of the Mayville football team, Mark Pankow doesn’t think he’s seen a stronger squad than the one that’s about to hit the field for the first time on Friday.

With 15 starters returning from the 2013 team, the Cardinals figure to have the talent and experience to improve on their 2-8 (1-6 Flyway Conference) finish from a season ago.

Mayville hasn’t qualified for the playoffs since 2009 and Pankow isn’t mincing words when it comes to his expectations for the Cardinals in 2014.

“We should be better than last year,” Pankow said. “We’re working on some of those intangibles that you don’t really hear about and can’t measure all the time to help us get to the next level. Our goal is to get to the playoffs this year.”

Consistency will be the key for the Cards this year and that starts with an offense that, on paper, has what it takes to carry the team.

In search of balance

It’s not hard to figure out why the Mayville offense struggled last year — it was one-dimensional.

In averaging just under 12 points per game, the Cardinals weren’t fooling anyone when it came to a game plan. It was run or die. In many cases, the latter was the outcome.

Mayville will still be a predominantly running team, but Pankow is searching for a bit more balance when it comes to the offense. In his words, instead of a “90/10” run-to-pass ratio, the Cardinals need to be around “60/40” or “70/30.”

Fortunately, Mayville has enough talent on both ends of the spectrum to make that happen.

Senior running back Adam Smith is back after rushing for 1,023 yards and eight touchdowns last season and will again carry much of the burden when it comes to the running game and offense in general.

That said, quarterback Nick Bates should get more action than the 75 passing attempts he had last year. With All-Flyway honorable mention Jacob Olig back at wide receiver and Connelly Pankow ready to take on an expanded role, passing should be a more viable option for the Cardinals in 2014.

Pankow is specifically looking for his signal-caller to step up this year.

“Nick has a great arm,” Pankow said of Bates. “He’s matured a lot. He’s become more poised. Now we just need him to be that leader that all quarterbacks need to be — that stoic leader. Not wear his emotions on his sleeve.”

The Cardinals also return two starters on the offensive line and a couple other players who’ve seen significant varsity action.

Senior offensive lineman Austin Sampson knows the importance of his position for Mayville this year and is focused on keeping Bates as clean as can be.

“We need to get in the weight room and start working together as a team, not do our own little thing,” Sampson said. “The more we protect our quarterback, the better off we can be.”

Getting defensive

Even if the Cardinal offense is as improved as it appears it could be in 2014, the defense will also need to take a giant step if Mayville’s postseason dreams are to become a reality.

Allowing almost 35 points per game last year, the Cardinals had trouble stopping just about everybody.

Pankow pointed to players like Austen Steger, John Mauer and Kody Priesgen along the defensive line, Connelly Pankow and Preston Franke at linebacker and Olig, Teague Nadolski and Jared Feucht in the defensive backfield as ones who will need to step for the defense in 2014.

Senior defensive lineman Ryan Luehring said that improvement on defense will only happen if there’s a change in mindset.

“We really came out this year and changed our defensive scheme,” Luehring said. “We’re going with the same fronts and stuff, but we changed how we’re going to run our defense. We need to be more intense. … We need to have three or four people who have a nose for the ball and just are willing to lay their lives on the line to get that hit.”

Pankow echoed that sentiment, pointing out that his team needs force turnovers and tackle better.

“We had very few fumble recoveries,” he said. “I think we had only three or four interceptions, maybe. Our tackling, we just didn’t want to tackle. Tackling is 90 percent attitude, 10 percent technique. We need to get that swagger.”

The elusive postseason

It’s been five years since Mayville players, students or fans have experienced the WIAA postseason.

Enough is enough. The Cardinals are convinced that 2014 is the year they finally make it back.

“We’re definitely hoping for the playoffs,” Bates said. “Me personally, I want to win the first game of the playoffs. I want a turnaround from last season, for sure.”

On offense specifically, Pankow noted that his squad has to compete as a unit if the playoffs are in the Cardinals’ future.

“We need to work together as a team 100 percent,” Pankow said. “You hear the clichés, but they’re true. Every cliché you hear with football, it’s so true. We have to be one unit on that offense. That line, we’ve been putting more and more importance on them — they have to carry this whole, entire team. Our receivers need to catch the ball. We had some pretty costly drops last year and those two (receivers) have got to get it done when their number is called.”

Added Luehring: “We’d really like to make a push into the playoffs. 5-4 is our low benchmark and we just really want to turn this around. We’ve had a lot of bad seasons here. If we can just turn it around, that will make the kids below us look up to us and will hopefully put our program back on the right path.”

Sam Oleson: (920) 907-7930 or

2014 Cardinals

No. Name Yr.

2 Caleb Martin So.

2 Alex Maze Sr.

6 Jacob Olig Sr.

10 Connelly Pankow Jr.

12 Evan Kehrmeyer Jr.

15 Brett Keller Jr.

17 Nick Bates Sr.

19 Ryan Luehring Sr.

22 Bryce Harycki Jr.

24 Adam Smith Sr.

26 Jared Feucht So.

30 Tyler Staffin So.

31 Brevin Luehring Jr.

35 Brandon Poellot Jr.

37 Teague Nadolski Sr.

42 Preston Franke Jr.

45 Blake Howard So.

48 Jordan Gutjahr Jr.

51 Austin Sampson Sr.

55 Dylan Arroyo Jr.

57 Tyler Klein So.

59 Austen Steger


60 Kody Priesgen Sr.

62 John Mauer Jr.

64 Tyler Howard Sr.

70 Mitchell Hartwig Sr.

71 Blake Herbst Sr.

73 Jeff Scott Jr.

77 Ben Madell Sr.

80 Brody Harycki Jr.

82 Kyle Breitkreutz Sr.

84 Ben Klein Sr.

88 Sawyer Breselow So.

2014 Schedule

(all games at 7 p.m. unless noted)

Date Opponent

Aug. 22…at Campbellsport

Aug. 29…Prairie du Chien

Sept. 6…Lomira

Sept. 13…at KM Lutheran (1 p.m.)

Sept. 19…North Fond du Lac

Sept. 26…Laconia

Oct. 3…at St. Mary’s Springs

Oct. 10…Winnebago Lutheran

Oct. 17…at Omro

2013 Results

Opponent Result

Campbellsport…L, 44-3

at Sheboygan Falls…L, 41-6

KM Lutheran…L, 35-0

at North Fond du Lac…L, 38-0

St. Mary’s Springs…L, 43-0

at Winnebago Lutheran…L, 26-13

Omro…L, 41-9

at Laconia…L, 49-6

Milwaukee Bay View…W, 38-12


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