HORTONVILLE — It's been almost 30 years since Hortonville won its last conference football title, but the Polar Bears have a golden opportunity to end the drought Friday on the field of the team that has owned the Bay Conference.
Hortonville plays at West De Pere and the conference title is at stake. With a nonconference game to end the season in Week 9, if Hortonville beats West De Pere, let the celebration begin.
"We've been waiting for this for a long time; two good teams obviously going out and competing,” Hortonville quarterback Andrew Thompson said. “We've been working hard all week, been working hard all season; just trying to make it the best game possible for Friday and make it the best possible outcome."
Hortonville, ranked No. 7 in the FOX 11 Top 11, has won all seven games by at least 21 points, and the defense is a big reason. The defense has allowed just 16 points all season, and 14 came last week.
Why is the defense so good this season?
“We’ve got some talented personnel, we’ve got some kids coming back from last year,” co-head coach Tom Kolosso said. “Last year, we made some big strides on defense and some of that carried over.”
No doubt No. 4 West De Pere’s offense (49.5 points per game) will be the toughest test for the Polar Bears, but they’re confident.
"We're going to be ready for everything that they do,” Kolosso said. “We're going to try to be sound in what we're doing and it's going to come down to making plays. We're going to get some of our playmakers out there and it'll probably come down to a handful of plays."
But what will those plays be? Kolsso thinks when two quality teams meet it can be the no-so-obvious answer.
“I think special teams are always big in games like this,” he said. “You know, we can talk offense, defense; how do we match up there? The kicking game, West De Pere traditionally has a great kicking game. We’re not bad this year with ours, so I think that could potentially be huge.”
Also, not giving away the ball will be big.
“I think it’s going to come down to execution, it’s going to come down to turnovers,” Kolosso said. “The turnover margin. You tell me we’re going to win the turnover margin I’ll feel pretty good.”
Kolosso said he and the coaching staff have tried to keep this week as normal as possible, but the players know what’s at stake.
"This is goal No. 1 for our guys,” Kolosso said. “Hortonville hasn't won a conference title since 1984. That's something our kids are aware of. Obviously, West De Pere has been doing this for a while. It's no secret they're the team to beat every year. We're going to take our best shot."
Hortonville By Game
at Shawano, W 52-0
New London, W 49-0
at Seymour, W 28-2
Denmark, W 42-0
Oconto Falls, W 64-0
at Marinette, W 48-0
Luxemburg-Casco, W 35-14
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
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