Speed and strength can go a long way in making a good football player a standout.
A little trust doesn’t hurt, either.
“It comes down to that trust,” Iola-Scandinavia football coach Scott Erickson said after watching his team prepare for the 2012 season by scrimmaging against New London, Peshtigo and Mosinee at Thunderbird Field in Scandinavia.
“You have to be able to trust the new people on the field: the new guy snapping, the new guy carrying the ball, the new guy blocking for you up front,” he said. “The first couple weeks are always a little slower because everyone’s still learning. You’re still trying to put it all together and you have new people that have to step in and play different positions. It takes a little time.”
The Thunderbirds opened the season Aug. 24 by hosting Rosholt and will head to Weyauwega-Fremont to take on the Indians at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, in the Central Wisconsin 8 Conference opener for both teams.
The T-Birds are without the graduated Jordan Beyersdorf, a first-team all-conference offensive lineman and linebacker last year. All-conference players Bradly Hardel, Cole Sorenson and Spencer Erickson are also gone, but there is some experienced players returning, according to Erickson.
“We have a nice core group of seniors with Andrew Bauer, Brady Huettner and Tanner Krueger,” he said. “We rely heavily on our seniors every year. Leadership comes from your senior class. We want our juniors to step up, but it’s always the seniors that have to set the tone. A lot of them will play both ways. A lot of these kids played last year, too, but it’s a little different recipe every year. We just have to find out what that is for us.”
Erickson said the T-Birds recovered from a slow start at the scrimmage.
“There’s always a changeover and you’re doing things a little different every year.”
“We picked it up and played with a lot better intensity,” he said. “There’s a fear of the unknown for these guys. There are a few new wrinkles that we’re putting in on offense and defense and I’m sure they’re a little concerned about how that’s going to go. We ran tons of different things in the scrimmage. We’re going to find what we do best, settle in on that and that’s what we’ll do.”
The T-Birds went into the scrimmage short-handed.
“We had a few guys sitting out today because of injuries and we’re going on the side of caution because the games are more important,” Erickson said. “Yeah, we’d like them to play, but we want them to be healthy for the season when that starts.”
Amherst and Shiocton shared the CWC-8 title last year with a 6-1 record. The T-Birds had a hand in the championship, as I-S knocked off Shiocton 21-19 in the final regular-season game. Shiocton eventually advanced to the Division 6 state championship game, but fell to Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs. The T-Birds also made the playoffs, but fell in the first round to Coleman.
“I think it’s a pretty tight conference this year,” Erickson said. “Amherst and Shiocton will be right there again. There’s Bonduel and Weyauwega has some good kids coming back.”
With teams only playing eight regular-season games this year instead of nine, it’s important to play well right off the bat, according to Erickson.
“You’ve got to get it going right away,” he said. “There’s no warmup game and then a second warmup game. After that first week and the conference comes knocking at your door, you better be ready to play.”
2012 Iola-Scandinavia Thunderbirds Football Schedules
Friday, Aug. 24 – vs. Rosholt (Parents’ Night), 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 31 – at Weyauwega-Fremont, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 7 – at Bonduel, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 14 – vs. Wittenberg-Birnamwood, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 21 – at Stevens Point Pacelli, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 28 – at Manawa, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 5 – vs. Amherst (Homecoming), 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 12 – at Shiocton, 7 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 27 – at Rosholt, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 4 – vs. Weyauwega-Fremont, 5:30 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 10 – vs. Bonduel, 5:30 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 17 – at Wittenberg-Birnamwood, 5:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 1 – vs. Manawa, 5:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 8 – at Amherst, 5:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 15 – vs. Shiocton, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 6 – vs. Weyauwega-Fremont, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13 – vs. Bonduel, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 20 – at Wittenberg-Birnamwood, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 27 – at Stevens Point Pacelli, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 30 – vs. St. Peter’s, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 6 – at Weyauwega-Fremont, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 11 – vs. Amherst, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 18 – vs. Wild Rose, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 25 – at Marion/Tigerton, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 2 – at Manawa, 5 p.m.