FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Rockets refuel with youth and veterans

Offense geared to match talents of new field general Michael Navis

KEY CONTRIBUTORS TO Cedar Grove-Belgium’s football team this season include (front from left) Chris Jentges, A.J. Schaefer, Trey Ebbers, Ben Anzia, Jeffrey Emperly (back row) Michael Navis, Brett Feind, Chris Daniels, Garret Dodson, Wesley Katte and Alex Acevedo. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

Cedar Grove-Belgium High School football coach Dan Schreurs is finally getting to implement the offense he hoped to run two years ago.
Record-setting passing quarterback Josh Weiss and last year’s Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Year Jason von Heimburg had forced Schreurs to take advantage of their abilities. Along with an incredible group of other players, the Rockets nearly won a state title in 2016 and were a field goal from returning to the final last year, racking up a 23-4 record in two seasons.
This season, first team all-conference wide receiver Michael Navis moves to field general as a junior, bringing a heap of speed and other skills with him to the undefeated defending Big East Conference champs.
“His vision is unbelievable. He can see the whole field,” Schreurs said. “His passing is really good, too.”
Behind Navis, senior Chris Jentges and junior Alex Acevedo will get the ball.
“Both of them are kind of mirror images of themselves, 160, 165-pound muscular frames and pretty quick and read the hole,” Schreurs said.
Jentges will play fullback and be split outside to catch passes as well.
Neither of last year’s top wideouts will start the season at their positions. Navis’ second cousin Wade, the second-leading receiver and a Big East second team selection last year, qualified for the Army and is at basic training this summer. He will be back in week 3.
“It’s not like we have to worry about you not coming back in physical condition,” Schreurs told him.
 “And mentally he’ll be on top of his game.”
Other targets include Max Ford ­— “quick, agile, almost like Michael (Navis)” — and Bradley Katte, a solid target at 6 feet, 2 inches with adequate speed and good hands, Schreurs said.
Chris Daniels, at 6-6, will provide a huge target across the middle at tight end and can block. Junior Jacob Peiffer will see time there as well.
Schreurs said all his receivers did well in summer passing leagues.
All-region and Big East Conference first team tackle Brett Feind and conference honorable mention guard Garrett Dodson will anchor the left side of the line for the third year in a row. Both seniors started on that state runner-up team.
“Brett Feind has really turned into one of the best linemen we’ve seen in Cedar Grove history,” Schreurs said.
Wesley Katte will play center after picking up some size and strength in the weight room in the offseason. He had played all offensive line positions and center on the scout team.
“He stepped right into the position and things took off. I’m really proud of him,” Schreurs said, adding Katte is an example of dedication to the Rockets’ program.
Senior Trey Ebbers returns as right guard after making the Big East second team last season, and junior Anthony Opgenorth will play right tackle. He has some size at 6-2, 230, and nearly started as a sophomore, barely beat out by senior Tyler Kraus. He played through the junior varsity season with a broken hand.
Scheurs said the offense will run the ball a little more than in the past two seasons, given Navis’ ability. He put in a couple of new packages to build around his talents.
On defense, Daniels will play left defensive end. He picked up 25 pounds from last season when he made the Big East first team.
“His physical stature is even bigger,” Schreurs said.
Zach Zimpleman, who back came out this year after a break last season, will play right defensive end.
“Disciplined is the best word to describe him. He does his job and he does it well,” Schreurs said.
Inside, Feind and Dodson will again start as tackles.
“They’re both big, both experienced, both seniors that will wreak some havoc,” Schreurs said.
The pair will get spelled by juniors Aaron Duenk, Justin Rose and Noah Sanfelippo, who is so fast he “blows through our varsity like we’re not even there,” Schreurs said.
Last year’s leading tackler Ben Anzia, who made the Big East second team last year, takes over for conference Defensive Player of the Year Cameron Kirst as the beast in the middle.
“He is really the heart and soul of the defense,” Schreurs said. “Cameron got the limelight, but Ben was also behind there cleaning up a lot of stuff.”
Matt Poull will play alongside Anzia.
At outside linebacker, Tyler Kowalkowski isn’t big but is “pound for pound one of the strongest kids in the program,” Schreurs said.
A.J. Schaefer moved from offense to defense and will play the other outside linebacker spot, where he played before he moved to Cedar Grove last year.
“He loves defense so it was kind of a match made for him,” Schreurs said.
At cornerback, junior Jeffrey Emplery saw time last year when Michael Navis had an injury. He is 5-10 and always in the right position, Schreurs said.
The other corner will be platooned by Ford and Jentges, a starter there last season.
Sophomore Cayden Fisher will start at safety. Navis will play there in certain situations.
Schaefer will again kick off, and Jentges will handle field goals for the fourth straight season. He is 105-for-109 on extra points the past three years.
Schreurs said he is again pleased with his team’s numbers. The Rockets have 52 players, after 51 and 49 the last two seasons. Other teams are struggling in the 30s and have canceled junior varsity games.
In the Big East Conference, he said he expects Reedsville to be tough since it returns 17 of 22 starters, including its big skilled positions. Manitowoc Lutheran doesn’t have a big team but the players are decent sized, he said. Hilbert was young last season and could take a step up.
Schreurs said the Rockets are anxious to start the season. They play at Kohler/Sheboygan Lutheran/Christian on Friday with their home opener against Mishicot on Aug. 24.




Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login