The Eastern Valley Conference is stacked with tough football teams once again this year and the Clintonville Truckers are working hard to be able to compete against several elite teams.
“Our conference is very good from top to bottom this year,” first-year coach Scott Werfal said. “Winneconne is the defending state champion (in Division 4). (Appleton) Xavier, Freedom and Waupaca will all have tough teams again this year. We expect all of our opponents to be very tough this year.”
Werfal said his goal is to see the Truckers compete every game from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.
“Football is inherently difficult,” he said. “There are taxing physical and mental elements, but we have the skill to be able to compete in the most difficult environments.
“We want to be in contention in the fourth quarter,” he said. “Our goal is to play the full four quarters. We’re going to have to do this if we want to have a chance to win some games. We can’t just show up. We have to be ready to actually compete.”
The Trucker offense has a number of skilled players, but all positions are up for grabs.
“Several of our offensive players have unique strengths,” Werfal said. “They’re all going to have a chance to get on the field and show us what they’ve got. We have an exciting offensive scheme in place and it will be interesting to see which skill players step up and earn their spot within that scheme.
“We have many young players on offense,” he added. “We have lots of depth, but not a lot of experience. We have identified several talented players, but none of them have much experience with our new offensive scheme.”
Werfal said the team has decent size on the offensive line, but that group lacks depth.
“We’re looking for kids to step up and show that they deserve to play on the varsity team,” he said. “I’ve been happy with some of the size and talent on our offensive line, but there are still spots to fill.”
The defense will feature many of the same players who will be expected to contribute on offense. A slight change in defensive philosophy is being absorbed by those players and other skill players lining up on defense this year.
“We want to be more physical and more aggressive this year,” Werfal said. “Our defense has looked decent so far, but we don’t have a lot of depth on the defensive side of the ball. As a whole, there are about 15-18 kids who are really stepping up, but we need others to show us what they can do. Every spot on defense is up for grabs, but the kids will have to earn their playing time.”
A group of skilled players on special teams has Werfal feeling optimistic about what the team can do in kicking and receiving situations.
“I’m excited about what we’re going to be able to do in the return game this year,” Werfal said. “We should have a very good group on special teams.”
Werfal said the Truckers are working hard to make Friday nights a big event for players and fans alike.
“We’re giving away T-shirts at our home opener on Friday, Aug. 22, with the phrase ‘Every Friday Night,’” he said. “During football season, we want our games to be the main event. We really need the community to support our games and fundraisers so that we can generate excitement for football at the youth and middle school levels. Creating a great program is a cyclical process. We may not be great today, but we’re working hard to generate interest and earn the support of the whole community.”