FREEDOM — Nathan Peters averaged more than 200 yards rushing per start last season en route to being the state’s leading rusher with 2,249 yards.
So when Freedom kicked off its season last week it was expected Peters would pick up where he left off last season, but Winneconne had different ideas as it limited Peters to 92 yards on 36 carries.
Last year, that may have spelled a loss for the Irish but not in Week 1. Freedom quarterback Andrew Connelly let everyone know he might be a threat through the air this season as threw for 142 yards and a TD as the Irish cruised to a 28-0 Eastern Valley Conference win.
"You know, we need to show we can throw the ball this year,” coach Clint Kriewaldt said. “Winneconne came out and they loaded up the box pretty good on us defensively. I think for a while there their deepest guy off the line of scrimmage was five yards. We have to show we can throw the ball and play-action pass. It was big for us that game."
Peters, who scored three TDs in the win, might have to be more of a factor Friday in the GameTime Game of the Week, as the Irish host defending EVC champion Waupaca. Both of these teams had great postseasons a year ago, with Freedom reaching Level 4 of the Division 4 playoffs, while Waupaca fell in the Division 3 state title game.
Unfortunately, these teams didn’t play last season when the schedule was only eight games.
Each EVC team missed playing one conference member and as it turned out these teams didn’t face off.
“I think they were as much as frustrated about that as we were,” Kriewaldt said. “You want to play your best competition. They’re the class of our conference; they have been for how many years now? They’ve done a great job every year."
Because of the teams’ success last season, both entered this season as favorites to win the EVC. Thus, this is a big game, but Kriewaldt’s trying to downplay it a little.
“There isn’t one game that’s more important than the other,” Kriewaldt said. “Waupaca is a big week, but we don’t want the kids to know that. They’ve also done a good job not getting caught up in it.”
Nonetheless, Kriewaldt does know this game can show him what his team is made of early in the season.
"It's good week for us; very excited, very important week just to see where we're at, more so than anything," he said.
Senior tight end/linebacker Cody Daul is looking forward to Friday and he was also pleased with what Week 1 showed.
"I was very happy, but we have a lot to improve on,” Daul said. “We did well and there's a bunch of things we can step up on. That's very encouraging because I know we can do better and hopefully we can keep climbing as the season goes on."
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
Two Oshkosh North players had to be taken off the field in ambulances after colliding in the Division 2 championship game Friday, but their injuries apparently are not as serious as first thought.
Despite all its dominance this season Shiocton entered Thursday's Division 6 state title football game with a healthy respect for Darlington.
Gov. Scott Walker still won't say whether he will sign a bill making it harder to force public schools to drop American Indian nicknames.