The Black River Falls Tigers football team got their first win against the Nekoosa Papermakers this past Friday.
This year, the BRFHS football team got a whole new coaching staff, who have been eager to lead them to victories. This was the first win for new coach, Jeremiah Vangen.
“To get a win was awesome. It was finally validation for what the coaches have been seeing all season, and it was good to show who we really are,” said Vangen.
The coaching staff as well as the team is working incredibly hard to attempt to pull off a season that was better than previous.
“Most of our guys spent a ton of time in the weight room this summer in preparation, and it’s starting to payoff,” said Vangen.
Though there was confidence going into the season, the team was struck with the misfortune of injuries and other struggles.
“Our biggest obstacles have been our schedule and our injuries. The schedule early in the season was brutal for us as we’re trying to learn a new offense and a new defense. Worse, the injuries that happened in those games were hard on the individual players, but hard on the team as well. A lot of players have stepped up and filled in ways we didn’t necessarily expect. Mario Newell at running back, Nathan Moldenhauer at linebacker, and Kaleb Dobson at center are just a few of the names that have had to step in or move positions. It’s been a full team effort to stay afloat here the first half of the season,” said Vangen.
Friday was junior Jordan Zillmer’s first game back after an injury that had him benched the past three and a half games.
“I broke my ankle during the first game of the season at Sparta. It was a huge setback for me and the team as I was starting running back,” said Zillmer.
Though it was Zillmer’s first game back, it didn’t stop him from being an important part of the game.
“Elliot [Bird] tossed me the ball and I was able to walk into the end zone. It was my first touchdown of the season,” said Zillmer.
Disregarding the hardships, the team has been ready to win games and go as far as they can.
“We had a lot of confidence coming out of the Mauston game. We thought we’d played well enough to win decisively that night and just made more mistakes than they did. We went into [ the game against Nekoosa] Friday expecting to play well and we put it all together,” said Vangen.
Junior Mario Newell has worked hard this year to have a starting position on varsity.
“Coach showed us the enrollment that we have been playing, we played Sparta who had 1,200 kids at their school and we only have like 400. The numbers of the next games we have look convincing. After we have gotten over the hump of the first four games, winning our first game I think we have plenty more to win,” said Newell.
Collectively, the team scored 6 touchdowns, one two point conversion, and an extra point made by Mikey Roou.