Make it special for the seniors
Marines can walk away as winners
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 7:00 PM
MARINETTE - The offseason is especially long for football teams, such as Marinette, that won't be in the playoffs.
Marinette's Brian Klumb (center) gets out in front to provide blocking for Jimmy Jackimowicz during Saturday’s M&M Game at Walton Blesch Field. EagleHerald/Nikkay Zahn
The Marines can make that offseason a little more palatable with a season-ending victory over New London Friday at 7 p.m.
The season would be a lot easier to take for the Marine seniors if they walk off the Higley Stadium turf for their final time as victors.
"It's always tough seeing your seniors go," Marine head coach Andy Walters said. "This year didn't necessarily turn out the way they anticipated. They're really hungry this week to end their high school careers on a winning note."
This week, the seniors have set the tone in practice with a show of character, according to Walters.
"As a class all the way through, they never had good numbers," Walters said. "Quality kids. Good football players. But, more importantly, collectively they're a special group."
New London (1-6 in the Bay Conference, 1-7 overall) is struggling with numbers but also have some quality if not quantity. Walters is especially impressed with Tyler Raschke, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior tight end/middle linebacker.
"They do have one of the best tight ends in the league," he said. "They have a tendency to run the ball toward him and throw the ball to him."
The Bulldogs have balance in their I formation offense. Connor Hoell (5-7, 155), a junior, ranks fifth in the Bay with 546 rushing yards. Quarterback Hunter Zaddack (6-0, 155), a sophomore, has completed 30 of 73 passes for 325 yards. Jacob Thomas, a a 6-4 senior, has 12 receptions for 185 yards.
New London runs a similar 4-3 cover 2 defense as the Marines.
Marinette will test the Bulldog 'D' with its one/two punch of halfback Caylubb Maske (433 rushing yards) and fullback Colton Dessart (329 rushing yards). Senior quarterback Marcus Maguire has improved his accuracy in recent weeks. He has completed 36 of 78 attempts for 330 yards and two scores.
Marine linemen Sam Baxter and Steven Swiatnicki are still sidelined by injuries, but senior linebacker and team co-captain Alex Servatius has been cleared to play his first game since breaking his ankle in Week 3. A first team, all-conference linebacker last year, Servatius has been greatly missed.
"I am happy for him that he gets the opportunity," Walters said. "The kid has the heart of a lion. He's put an extraordinary amount of work and passion into this game."
The game is especially important to the seniors, but it also sends the underclassmen into the offseason on a positive note.
"I do think it's important for our younger kids to end the season with a win," Walters said.
Walters was pleased with the intensity and physicality that his team brought in the second half of the Oct. 5 Shawano game, and then the entire M&M Game.
"We have to have that type of intensity and emotion every single game," the coach said.