Sauk Prairie Eagles - Badger North
Coach: Scott Mirkes (3rd Season), 3-15; 10th Season Overall, 28-56 (0-3 Postseason). 25-41 at Westosha Central
2016 Result: 1-8 (1-5), 6th in the Badger North
Three-Year Record: 5-22
2016 All-Conference Honors: 0 First-Team, 0 Second-Team, 3 Honorable Mention (3 total)
Three-Year All-Conference Totals: 0 First-Team, 5 Second-Team, 12 Honorable Mention (17 total)
Returning All-Conference Players (0): None
Other Players To Watch: RB/DB Elijah Jorgenson, Sr.; QB/LB Dawson Evert, Sr.; OL/DL Francis Sprecher, Sr.; OL/DL Baxter Peetz, Sr.; RB/DB Bryant Schaaf, Jr.; RB/DB Ben Hilliard, Jr.
Sauk Prairie Eagles Football Coach Scott Mirkes enters his third season at the helm, with a program ready to build towards their first playoff berth since 2007.
Mirkes, formerly the head coach at Westosha Central, sees a young program that has plenty of enthusiasm at all levels for the sport, and remarked at how competitive practice has been so far. With a large senior class moving on, it will be up to some of those younger players to step in to big varsity roles this season and beyond.
"Our goal on the field is to be the best possible team that we can be each Friday night, and to be better at the end of the season than we were at the beginning of it. And off of the field, I want us to be great in the classroom and leaders of the Sauk Prairie culture--exemplary men who make our school and community better." - Sauk Prairie Football Coach Scott Mirkes
Four seniors graduated having earned some form of all-conference recognition, and Mirkes cites their leadership as a big factor that his team will miss. "Certainly any time that you lose a large group of seniors, it impacts the way that you organize practice," said coach Mirkes. "But more so, you lose a number of leaders who did everything that they were asked, and worked diligently to point our program's culture in the right direction."
Some of the returning players for the Eagles on offense include a pair of seniors in the backfield, running back Elijah Jorgenson and quarterback Dawson Evert. They'll be supplemented by juniors Bryant Schaaf and Ben Hilliard at the skill positions. Along the front lines, Francis Sprecher and Baxter Peetz are seniors leading a wave of linemen competing for playing time.
The same players will also be contributors defensively, with Sprecher and Peetz up front, Evert at linebacker, and Jorgenson, Schaaf, and Hilliard in the secondary.
Mirkes is expecting most of his seniors to be top contributors, but the entire roster will have their chances to earn some time on the field. "We have a very competitive camp," said Coach Mirkes, citing his returning seniors bringing back plenty of varsity of experience. "With competition for a majority of positions on both sides of the ball, many juniors and sophomores will have opportunities to earn playing time on the varsity level."
Looking at the schedule, Sauk Prairie will get it going against Badger South crossover foe Milton to open up the season. Last year, Sauk Prairie lost by just four points to Milton. The Eagles then make the trip to Middleton to take on Edgewood for their first road contest.
Badger North play begins with a road date at Portage, the only win of 2016 for the Eagles. Two home games follow, against 2016 playoff teams Reedsburg on September 8 and DeForest on September 15. Last season, Sauk Prairie played both teams close, but ultimately lost by three scores in each.
After a road date against defending Badger North champion Waunakee, the Eagles welcome Baraboo to town for Homecoming on September 29. In Week 8, Sauk Prairie will meet Beaver Dam on the road in their first meeting as conference opponents, before the Eagles wrap up the season hosting Mount Horeb/Barneveld on October 13.
Coach Mirkes thinks the conference as a whole is going to be tough, top to bottom, and thinks that Beaver Dam adds plenty of positives to the Badger North. "I think Beaver Dam makes a very deep and competitive conference even better," said Mirkes, "but their program seems to be a great fit for our league, from the youth levels through the high school level."
Mirkes added, "Our goal on the field is to be the best possible team that we can be each Friday night, and to be better at the end of the season than we were at the beginning of it. And off of the field, I want us to be great in the classroom and leaders of the Sauk Prairie culture--exemplary men who make our school and community better."
--Jimmie Kaska @jimmekaska