TOMAHAWK – The 2015 season marks John Larson’s 25th year of coaching and his 20th year as head coach at Tomahawk.
Larson said every year, he has high expectations for his team, but this year they’re even higher than before.
The Hatchets missed the playoffs by one game last year, a heartbreaking end to the season that Larson doesn’t want to experience again.
“We’re retuning several starters from last year’s team,” said Larson. “We let a couple games slip away as a result of poor special teams play, and that has been an emphasis so far.”
Two of the most important returning starters are seniors Kaleb Kaminski, who was an all-conference honorable mention quarterback last season, and Dane Borchardt, an all-conference honorable mention on defense.
The pair have been playing for the varsity team since their sophomore years, and Larson feels that they are perfect role models for their teammates.
“They’re going to be our two captains for the season; they’ve done everything a coach can ask his players to do,” said Larson.
“They were part of contact days, worked in the weight room, part of camp. They’ve done all the things necessary to not only be starters but to be two of the best players in the Marawood Conference.”
The team will be without some key players from last year’s squad, though. One of the 15 seniors lost last season included Jake Borchardt, a first team all-conference running back and inside linebacker. The tandem of Jordan Roessler and Dakota Thompson will also be missed at the wide receiver position.
Looking forward to this season, Larson said the Hatchets will have to stay consistent and aggressive.
“We changed the defense, we’re going to be more high pressure,” said Larson. “Our goal is we want to be the most physical team on the field.”
Every coach knows anything can happen within a season, including injuries, so the goal is just to stay injury free and to stay fresh.
“The fire is burning from last year’s disappointment, so I think good things will happen,” he said.
Nina N. Salazar can be reached at 715-345-2253 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter as @ninansalazar
Coach: John Larson, 25th year
How far they got: Did not make the playoffs
Key Returners: Kaleb Kaminski, Sr., QB/FS; Dane Borchardt, Sr., RB/LB; Brandon Vecchio, Sr., SE/LB; Quin Wallenfang, Sr., OL/DE; Ches Olson, Sr., OL/DE; Josh Phillips, Sr., OL/DL; Brian Vecchio, Sr., RB/LB; Tanner Bartz, Sr., OL/DL; Steven Renn, Sr., OL/DL
Key Newcomers: Hunter Langdon, Sr., OL/DL; Blake Carstensen, Sr., SE/DB; Mike Manninen, Sr., SE/DB; Logan Loretz, Sr., RB/DB; Easton Phalin, Soph., RB/QB/DB; Eli Wurl, Soph., SE/DB; Kole Woodall, Soph., RB/LB
Aug. 21: at Auburndale
Aug. 28: vs. Pittsville
Sept. 4: at Northland Pines
Sept. 11: vs. Stratford
Sept. 18: at Marathon
Sept. 25: vs. Edgar
Oct. 2: at Cadott
Oct. 9: at Rib Lake/Prentice
Oct. 16: vs. Chequamegon
Auburndale 22, Tomahawk 14
Tomahawk 14, Pittsville 0
Stratford 13, Tomahawk 0
Marathon 40, Tomahawk 13
Edgar 47, Tomahawk 0
Tomahawk 56, Cadott 6
Tomahawk 34, Rib Lake/Prentice 8
Chequamegon 27, Tomahawk 18