A large, talented senior class exists for the Mount Horeb/Barneveld Vikings, but another wave of talented players rises to take their place, led by RB Malik Winston's 1,794 yards and 27 touchdowns from a year ago, to prime another playoff run and to take another shot at the Badger North crown.
This year, the Vikings will be led by new head coach Bret St. Arnauld, who previously coached the Delavan-Darien/Williams Bay Comets. In fact, two years ago, St. Arnauld led the Comets to a playoff win over Mount Horeb/Barneveld.
St. Arnauld said that the opportunity to coach a program like MH/B was too difficult to pass up. "When we here here two years ago," he said, referencing the playoff game in 2016, "We were treated so well. Anything you could ask for, they did it. That stuck with me, and I said to my wife, if something opens up over here, we'd have to consider it."
Now, St. Arnauld steps to the helm of a program that has consistently been in the upper part of the Badger North standings as of late, but hasn't had a deep playoff run in the past few years. MH/B brings back one of the state's top running backs in Malik Winston, rated in the top 15 of all senior backs in the state of Wisconsin according to WisSports.net, to lead a team with solid athleticism across the board at all positions into the 2018 season.
In fact, seven all-conference honorees from last year are back in the fold, and a rising class of 2020 adds depth to positions that were hit hardest by graduation.
St. Arnauld is excited for the challenge of the Badger Conference after his four years in the rugged Southern Lakes. "The challenge of facing experienced coaches each week is exciting," said St. Arnauld. "There's a lot of history here."
Week 1 will be a match-up of coaches in new digs, as Mount Horeb/Barneveld will face Edgewood in a Badger crossover. The Crusaders have a new head coach, Jesse Norris, at the helm. That game will be played at Breese Stevens Field in Madison. The home game the following week is against a rising Badger South squad, Oregon, to wrap up crossover play.
Like last year, the first Badger North game is one that potentially has conference title implications, as the Vikings will head up to Waunakee to face the defending state champs. September 7 sends the Vikings to Beaver Dam before returning home to play Baraboo in Week 5.
September 21 is a battle on the road against Reedsburg, with a home game against Portage in Week 7 to wrap up the month of September. October begins with a key road game at DeForest on October 5 before coming home to Mount Horeb to finish the regular season against Sauk Prairie.
Here is The Big 1070's interview with new head coach of the Mount Horeb/Barneveld Vikings, Bret St. Arnauld:
Mount Horeb/Barneveld Vikings - Badger North
Head Coach: Bret St. Arnauld (1st Season), 0-0 (5th Season Overall: 17-22; 1-2 Playoffs)
2017 Result: 9-2 (6-1), 2nd in the Badger North (Lost in Level 2 of the D3 Playoffs to Catholic Memorial, 26-20)
Three-Year Record: 25-8 (3-3 Playoffs)
2017 All-Conference Honors: 7 First-Team, 7 Second-Team, 10 Honorable Mention (24 total)
Three-Year All-Conference Totals: 17 First-Team, 22 Second-Team, 25 Honorable Mention (64 total)
Returning All-Conference Players (7): RB/LB Malik Winston [🏈 WSN] (1st Team-RB; 2nd Team-RB in 2016), Sr.; K/P/RB/LB Cris Petrusatti (1st Team-P and 2nd Team-K; HM-K in 2016), Jr.; C/DL Zach Junck (2nd Team-OL), Sr.; LB/TE Tyler Denu [🏈 WSN] (2nd Team-LB), Sr.; TE/LB Gunnar Nortman (HM-TE), Sr.; WR/DB Caden Lee (HM-WR and DB), Sr.; OL/DL Max Olinger (HM-OL), Sr.
Other Players To Watch: WR/DB Isiah Matthews, Sr.; RB/DB Chase Markin, Sr.; OL/DL Jonas Pipp, Sr.; OL/DL Adam Schumer, Sr.; DB/WR Chase Brauns, Sr.; QB/DB Ethan Post, Jr.; WR/DB Charlie Fish, Jr.; DB/WR Andrew Zell, Jr.; OL/DL Jerome Trimble, Jr.; DL/OL Owen Pechan, Jr.; LB/RB Mason Ames, Jr.; LB/RB Josh Radke, Jr.; LB/TE Simeon Smith, Jr.
BIG Games: vs Oregon, August 24; at Waunakee, August 31; at Reedsburg, September 21; at DeForest, October 5