Stevens Point (OnFocus) – It’s been a long wait for football fans and football teams to start the 2020 season. The wait is finally over, and the season is now here.
We take a look at the Pacelli Cardinals with our Season Preview. We reached out to Coach Drew Nelson for some thoughts on this football season, giving us a glimpse into how the Cardinals are getting ready for this year.
OnFocus: How has your coaching staff and team prepared for this season?
Nelson: This offseason was definitely one like any other. We were fortunate enough to have a big space to hold outdoor activities just to keep the kids moving. We spent the entire spring hosting zoom workouts for anyone in the school that wanted to attend them as well.
We are 100% blessed to have an opportunity to play this fall. We embrace each day with that attitude and you can see the kids are having fun. They fully understand and know what they went through last spring and are doing what they can to not lose another season. It is kind of awesome to see them having fun and enjoying the day and each other. We all know this game can be a grind but their spirit and their attitude has been amazing this season.
OnFocus: What are some positives that have come out of practice and the season being delayed?
Nelson: We have some really good, quality kids in the classroom, in the community and on the football field. The upperclassmen are doing an amazing job helping the underclassmen get caught up and up to speed. With no summer camp, we had to start slow and work up. The upperclassmen have done wonders and the underclassmen have done awesome listening and being open to what they are being taught. We have the FAMILY motto…the Forget About Me, I Love You….meaning it doesn’t matter who scores or who does what as long as we go as hard as we can and do it for each other. A team that plays that way and a team that is run by players can do a lot of good things, not only on the field but in the classroom and outside of it.
I also have some really good, dedicated coaches as well. We have all had our ups and downs throughout the off season but have worked to pick each other up as well. I know I’d reach out to kids every now and again just to see how they were doing, not even to talk football. Just letting the kids know we are there for them, just not coaches, I think means a lot.
OnFocus: Season forecast – What should fans expect to see out of your team this year?
Nelson: We are pretty fortunate to have several starters back on both sides of the ball. We have a really good QB in Drew Kedrowicz, who when it is all said and done, will be a 4 year starter for us at the position. We have a good backfield with Brycen Cashin, who was the only Sophomore last season to be named All Region in the state and his counterpart in Nick Schroeder. Both are explosive players and we look for them to be the work horses. Up front, we all know the game starts there, we have Mason Lawlis, Jerry Auer, Nick Helms, Tyson Krueger and Adam Mueller. I really like what I have seen from those 5 up front these first 3 weeks of practice. They seem to be gelling really well. We look to let our WR’s in Kaydin Mayk, Wes Peplinski and crew to extend their yards after catches this fall.
Defensively, we are about the same. Being a smaller group, we have a lot of guys who play both ways. We are led in the middle by Jacob Firkus, who will be a really good linebacker for us this fall. We are changing up the scheme this fall and he will be a very important piece and he has embraced the challenge! I look for guys like Mason, Wes, Brycen, Drew to have good seasons, as well as everyone else. Again, a smaller team, we have to count on everyone at every time. We will have a couple underclassmen as well in Brock Birrenkott and Andrew VanOrder that will need to step up in the defensive backfield but they have picked up the defense and been learning as well. I am pleased with their progress. With the new scheme, I am hopeful that we can go faster and think less.
We are lead by this year’s seniors. Wes Peplinski, Mason Lawlis, Jerry Auer and Kaydin Mayek. All 4 are good leaders in their own ways, which is pretty cool to sit back and see and watch them develop as leaders more and more each day. I am very, very pleased with the 4 these first weeks of the season!
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