The North Division Large Schools roster will have a distinctly local flavor at the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-Star Game on July 15.
The game, played at Titan Stadium in Oshkosh, will feature Xavier’s David Hinkens as head coach, with Menasha head coach Jeramie Korth and Neenah head coach Joe Jung as assistants.
Menasha assistant Nick Carlson will also be on the coaching staff, along with Green Bay Preble’s Josiah Pledl, Grafton’s Shaun Behrend, Baraboo’s Steve Turkington and Port Washington’s John Bunyan.
“I’m extremely excited about this opportunity,” Hinkens said. “I’ll be working with staff who are close friends and for a great cause with the proceeds going to the Children’s Hospital (of Wisconsin). We have a group of players that are also ready to fund-raise for the Children’s Hospital.
“On a personal side, it’s also a great opportunity for me. We have some great young men and we’re really excited and looking forward to representing the North in this game.”
Hinkens said that the genesis of the idea of coaching the North came from a 7-on-7 passing league session “probably seven or eight years ago.”
“There’s a nomination process,” he said. “And coach Korth and coach Carlson agreed to coach the game and we agreed to do it. That was kind of the starting point.
“Two years ago, we decided that the 2017 season I could commit to being the head coach with Jeramie and Nick in as a package deal as two of my assistants.”
Hinkens has had great success with the Hawks, leading Xavier to state semifinal appearances in 2013, 2010 and 2004 in 16 seasons with the Hawks. He has a record of 129-45 and the Hawks have made the playoffs in 14 of the past 15 seasons. Xavier has also won seven conference championships under his guidance.
Area players on the North Large all-star roster include Menasha’s Luke Romnek (tight end), Mohammed Elazazy (offensive line) and Branen Gordon (extra player), Kimberly’s Adam Stage (kicker), Parker Schuh (defensive back) and Tyler Staerkel (outside linebacker), Appleton North’s Brandon Kolgen (defensive line) and Cameron Kolbe (DL), Neenah’s Joe Jung (DB), Appleton West’s Josh Nieves (DB). and Seymour’s Ryan Peterson (DL) and Will Rydzewski (DL).
Hinkens said the North offense and defense will have a look indicative of the coaching staff.
“Jeramie Korth is the offensive coordinator, so it’s going to have a ‘Bluejay’ look on offense,” Hinkens said. “And coach Jung from Neenah is a big piece, so there will be some Neenah Rockets in there, too. (Xavier) and Menasha on the offense and defense is going to be coach Carlson and Menasha and myself and Xavier. We’re leading on both sides of the ball and we’re sharing ideas and concepts and putting together what we think is the best possible offense and defense to compete in this game.”
The North hasn’t defeated the South in the D1-3 game since a 22-20 victory in 2010. Hinkens admits that is on the back of his mind as he and his coaching staff begin preparation.
“I would be lying if I said we’re not aware of that,” he said. “We approach this game competitively and the outcome does matter to us. But our whole thought process is that our football team is 0-0. This football team is 0-0. We don’t have a losing record and our mindset is that we’re going to start a (winning) streak. We’re not concerned with what happened in the past.
“I can tell you this, this game has the same significance as any playoff game I’ve ever coached. It’s very important to us and we’ve dedicated ourselves to doing our best in this game.”
Osceola’s Scott Newton is the coach of the North Small Schools (Division 4-7) team, with Little Chute head coach Brian Ryczkowski and Little Chute assistant Ted Evers listed as assistants on the North coaching staff.
Area players competing for the North Small Schools team include Wrightstown’s Bryce Herlache (running back) and Wyatt VanRossum (offensive line), Little Chute’s Kyle Hietpas (wide receiver) and Cole Wyngaard (offensive line), Freedom’s Brody Bazile (inside linebacker) and St. Mary Catholic’s Cooper Riehl (defensive end).
Hofacker, Hinz updates: Freedom graduate Collin Hofacker helped his University of Iowa 1,600 relay team finish fifth at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field championships at Texas A&M recently. Hofacker, a redshirt freshman, ran the second leg and the quartet finished with a time of 3:05.60.
Freedom grad Joseph Hinz, a senior at UW-La Crosse, placed third in the 800 with a time of 1:51.94 at the NCAA DIII Indoor Track and Field Championships at North Central College.
The week ahead
Varsity Roundtable, Wednesday, 7 p.m.: Varsity Roundtable returns this week with track and field athletes Tess Keyzers of Little Chute and Logan McCormick of Kimberly the guests.
Ricardo Arguello: 920-993-7191 or email@example.com; on Twitter @PCRicardo