It’s been 36 years since the Trucker varsity football team has won a state championship. New Coach Scott Werfal hopes to see that change sooner rather than later as the program enters a new phase this season.
The Truckers won a state title in 1978 after earning a runner-up trophy in 1976. The team made it to a level 4 playoff game in 2007 but lost to New London in a game that sent the winning team to state. The Truckers won a conference championship in 2007.
Werfal was hired as Clintonville High School Activities Director in July 2013. A year later, he finds himself taking on the head coach’s responsibilities with the Trucker varsity football team.
“I’ve always loved football, but I haven’t coached for a few years since becoming an administrator,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to ever coach again, but when the position opened, the district posted it and after about three weeks, my wife finally allowed me to apply for it.”
Werfal played college football at Winona State in Winona, Minnesota, and went on to coach at Cotter High School in Winona, Minnesota. He has also coached at Winneconne and St. Mary Central.
“I’ve never been a head coach, but I’ve always coached at the varsity level,” said Werfal. “My specialty has always been offense. I’ve added and subtracted several items from my system through the years.”
Werfal will be assisted by Defensive Coordinator Ryan Conradt, as well as Josh Jacobsen and Mark Sparks.
The coaching staff has made player recruitment their top priority this year.
“I’ve talked to almost every boy at the high school,” he stated. “We set up a display in the entryway to try to generate more excitement about playing football. We will have new helmets and uniforms this year. We will introduce a new offense and a new defense. We moved some coaches around and have a newer coaching staff. Our most important task, however, is to recruit more football players. We have to have lots of kids play if we want to be successful.”
Werfal said he received verbal commitments from 60 athletes, and he hopes they all show up for the team’s first practice on Tuesday, Aug. 5.
“Many kids haven’t played football in a few years, or haven’t played football at all. There are still some kids ‘on the fence’. We’ve been working to get them involved,” said Werfal.
A new high school weight room will help boost the program, though Werfal said the facility was added with all sports in mind, not just football.
“The new weight room will benefit all sports,” said Werfal. “It’s a great facility. It will take time to see the benefits of kids using it, but you can’t go wrong with better athletes.”
Werfal said a football camp was held two weeks ago, and players were introduced to the new facility. Players have also been encouraged to participate in open gym activities that began back in May.
Once the team hits the field, the offense and defense will look quite different than in previous years. The common threads on both sides of the ball will be physical play, a united team, and relentless effort.
“We’re going to run a spread offense,” said Werfal. “We will throw the ball if we need to, but we want to have a good balance. The goal is to take what the defense gives us. We will have anywhere from three to five wide receivers on the field on each down. We want to use the entire field.”
On defense, Werfal wants his team to be physical. “By the time the game is over, we want teams to know that they played us, whether we beat them or not,” said Werfal. “Our defense will be aggressive and we will use multiple schemes and coverages. We don’t want to be predictable on defense.”
Werfal said he hopes a new, exciting brand of football will help fill the stadium for each home game.
“I have no expectations regarding the number of games we will win,” he said. “It’s just fun to watch exciting football, and that’s what we’re going to shoot for. The wins will come in time.”
At St. Mary Central, Werfal saw an unskilled team play an exciting brand of football.
“Our team wasn’t very good, but we played an exciting style of football,” explained Werfal. “We didn’t’ win lots of games, but we put up a lot of points. The average score of our games was 42-30. We weren’t on the 42 side, but we rebuilt the program by playing an exciting brand of football.”
Werfal said the team is able to look towards a bright future thanks to the efforts of all prior coaches.
“The team will look different this year, but we want to continue the same Clintonville football tradition of being able to compete with anyone. I appreciate each coach who has led this team over the past several decades,” commented Werfal. “They have worked hard to build traditions and I respect what they’ve done to build the program over the years,”
The Truckers will host Little Chute at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, for their season opener. Werfal said he hopes community members will fill the stadium to support the players as they usher in a new beginning.
“A larger crowd brings more energy,” said Werfal. “We’re hoping to have a special t-shirt night on Aug. 22. I’m confident that fans will like what they see. It’s going to be an exciting season.”