Trending up: Auburndale looks to build on last year’s postseason trip
By Paul Lecker
AUBURNDALE — For the third time in the past four seasons, the Auburndale football team has a different head coach.
Jay Anderson takes over a program that reached the WIAA playoffs and finished 4-6 overall and 4-4 in the Marawood Conference a year ago. The Apaches lost 26-6 to conference-rival Marathon in the first round of the Division 6 playoffs.
With only five seniors graduating and overall participation up, Anderson is optimistic the Apaches will continue to improve and possibly make another run at the postseason.
Ryan Isaacson enters his third season as the Apaches’ starting quarterback and will lead a new offensive look. Isaacson threw for 1,164 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for four more scores a year ago.
“The guys have really caught on to what we are trying to do and seem very excited,” Anderson said. “Our numbers are up, which is important for the long term in our program.
“It’s going to be a multiple set, play-progression offense using different looks, using different formations, and being able to run base plays out of each set. We have a nice group of seniors that are picking things up and leading by example.”
Isaacson will have two of his top receivers back. Seniors Cameron Ertl and Cale Jacoby return after solid 2016 campaigns. Ertl caught a team-high 21 passes for 489 yards and four touchdowns, and Jacoby hauled in 18 catches for 280 yards.
Senior Jake Peplinski is the top returning rusher after running for 303 yards and scoring a team-high six touchdowns. Behind him juniors Trayton Weister and Isaiah Hasenohrl will be in the mix for carries as well as fullbacks Carter Wilcott and Aaron Marth. Dalton Hoffman and Colten Yeske will also see time at receiver.
“With the skill positions, we have a lot of seniors, and we have some guys that are ready to step in if needed,” Anderson said. “Peplinski trained very hard, had a real good offseason, and he can be a very explosive player for us.”
Through the first days of training camp, Anderson said the defense was still in learning mode.
Peplinski was a first-team all-conference pick at defensive end, Ertl had a team-high five interceptions at cornerback and was second-team all-Marawood, and lineman Keller Wolfe is the top returning tackler after racking up 56 a year ago.
“Defensively we are kind of finding ourselves,” Anderson said. “We’re going to be presenting some different looks and alignments that they aren’t used to, and they are feeling their way through it. We’re doing a lot of adjustment with personnel, and they’re getting there.”
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
2017 AUBURNDALE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
|Fri., Aug. 18||°PITTSVILLE||7 p.m.|
|Fri., Aug. 25||°MANAWA||7 p.m.|
|Fri., Sept. 1||at Rib Lake/Prentice (at Prentice)||7 p.m.|
|Fri., Sept. 8||EDGAR||7 p.m.|
|Fri., Sept. 15||at Tomahawk||7 p.m.|
|Fri., Sept. 22||at Marathon||7 p.m.|
|Fri., Sept. 29||STRATFORD||7 p.m.|
|Fri., Oct. 6||at Chequamegon||7 p.m.|
|Fri., Oct. 13||*°WHITEHALL||7 p.m.|
Home games in CAPS, at Auburndale High School