FOOTBALL PREVIEW: The skilled positions are back in town

Warriors hope to stay healthy and return to their winning ways in Big East

OZAUKEE FOOTBALL WILL rely on key players (front row from left) Jack Penney-Galindo, Beau Szczerbinski, Jesse Behrens, John Brooks, Joey Burich, Blake West, Joey Fortino, Nathan Rauch, Brandon Harbison, (back row) Dakota Hart, Ben Berweger, Jacob Eibs, Logan Bell, Mitch Weyker, Brent Hoffmann, Anthony Pawling, Cole Thomas and Carson Rennicke. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

Ozaukee High School’s football team came out of last Saturday’s scrimmage healthy, and that alone was an accomplishment after being bitten by the injury bug last season.
The Warriors return a host of talent at their skilled positions, led by junior quarterback Brent Hoffmann, who earned Big East Conference honorable mention honors last year. He completed 33 of 90 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions. He ran 65 times for 214 yards and another two scores.
“He’s a good all-around athlete,” coach Jim Lippe said. “He will run and throw the ball.”
Blake West is back for his senior season at running back after breaking his collar bone in week 4 last season.
“He was putting together a pretty nice season,” Lippe said.
The other tailback will be freshman Jack Genzmer.
“He has the potential to be a pretty special football player,” Lippe said.
Anthony Pawling moves from outside linebacker to fullback this season.
The Warriors are talented at wide receiver, moving a few guys through the positions, Lippe said. Carson Rennicke, who led the team in catches and yards last year, is back, as well as Big East honorable mention defensive back Mitch Weyker, senior Joey Burich and junior Jacob Eibs.
“This is the position we’re best at,” Lippe said.
Junior Logan Bell will again play tight end, catching passes and blocking.
Three-year starter Ben Berweger, at 6 feet, 3 inches, and 255 pounds, will anchor the offensive line at right tackle.
“He will be playing somewhere in college next year,” Lippe said.
Dakota Hart, who started half of last season as a sophomore due to injuries, will start at left tackle.
Nate Rauch, who lettered as a freshman because of injuries to upperclassmen, will play left guard.
Senior Jesse Behrens will play center after playing on the defensive line last season.
Three guys are battling for the right guard spot, including Beau Szczerbinski, Jack Penney-Galindo and freshman Trevor Decker, who Lippe said is not playing like a freshman.
“We’ll see how it plays out after week 1,” Lippe said.
Berweger anchors the defense as well from his end spot, with a three-man rotation filling the opposite side, including Cole Thomas, Tayvius Davis and Penney-Galindo.
At tackle, three guys are fighting for two positions. Freshman Zach Bell, a big kid playing beyond his years, along with Braxton Gahan and senior Joey Fortino.
Bell is back at inside linebacker after starting every game as a sophomore. Sophomore Brandon Harbison will play next to him.
Rennicke, Pawling and Hoffmann will rotate at outside linebacker since they play both ways. Hoffman, Lippe said, might be the best defender on the team. He earned Big East honorable mention last year.
“He’s a fierce defender,” he said.
At defensive back, Weyker earned honorable mention honors last year, and Joe Burich, West and Eibs are battling for three spots.
Rennicke will handle the kicking duties and Hoffmann the punting.
Results of the scrimmage were encouraging, especially for the younger players.
“We don’t have a lot of big upperclassmen,” Lippe said. “Two weeks ago I wasn’t as optimistic as I was now after seeing them play in the scrimmage.”
The Warriors have four offensive linemen and five or six defenders going one way.
“It’s a pretty good spot for us,” Lippe said.
“We feel pretty good about 22, 23 kids who can play varsity football for us. In my world, that’s a pretty big number.”
After several consecutive years of qualifying for the playoffs, the Warriors slipped to 2-7 last season. Lippe said he hasn’t paid much attention to the race for the Big East crown, but he said he heard Reedsville returned many players and Hilbert is always tough.
“We, right now, are really just looking at things one week at a time and just trying to get better every day,” he said. “It’s a good group of kids. They’re working really hard.”
Ozaukee starts at home against St. Mary Catholic on Friday.



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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


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