It’s a long way to go to play a football game. And when the Prescott High School squad comes back from Rhinelander early Saturday morning on the 20th of August, head coach Matt Smith not only hopes for a win but to also come back in one piece for the season-to-come.
Smith believes the Cardinals have a talented and tough squad this fall who can be competitive in the Middle Border Conference.
But with only 27 players on the 10-12 roster, any rash of injuries the team suffers, especially in the first ballgame, will make it a hard season to get through and reach team goals.
“We know we have to stay healthy,” Smith said. “We know depth will be a big question mark for us. But if we can stay healthy, then we like this team a lot and what it can accomplish.”
The Cardinals return an experienced QB in Luke Murphy who was honorable mention All-MBC last season and Smith is excited about the returning linemen up front, all with game starts and all stronger and more athletic than last season. Jake Block and Westy Bartsch are two of the returning starters.
“It’s a good group who worked hard in the offseason to get stronger and move better,” Smith said. “They’re jelling well which good lines do and the size is good as well.”
Experience in the QB and up front will help bring up to speed less experienced but athletic and talented backs on both sides of the ball.
Prescott will have to be iron men going both ways for they will face a Rhinelander squad from a school twice their size with the numbers to have two platoons, according to Smith.
Rhinelander plays in the Great Northern Conference. The Hodags finished 1-7 a year ago.
Check out next week's print edition of the Journal for more in-depth preview for all of Prescott High's fall sports teams. It will be on newsstands and in town next Wednesday.