Sauk Prairie will try to end a decade-long playoff drought in the rugged Badger North in 2018 behind a group of experienced seniors and momentum from picking up a pair of wins in 2017 under interim head coach Scott Schutt.
Unlike last year, Schutt will be coaching from the get-go, after taking over last year just days before the season began when the Eagles' previous head coach abruptly resigned to take a teaching position in another district. A coaching search this offseason yielded no long-term solutions, so Schutt will again take on the mantle of interim head coach for Sauk Prairie this season.
After graduating a good chunk of their skill position players, the Eagles will be relying on their lines and linebackers to carry the team in the early going, particularly against the non-playoff teams in 2017 that Sauk Prairie will see for the first half of the season. The chance of a good start could help get the program trending up.
Defensively, the Eagles will have two honorable mention all-conference linebackers at their disposal in Garrett Hertzfeldt and Parker Bruenig. Up front will be plenty of size, with Reece Bierstaker and Junior Ochoa among the position group as seniors.
A host of skill position players, such as Adam Juran, Adam Nolden, Bryant Schaaf, Ben Hilliard, Ben Pethan, Sawyer Ladd, Dayton Goette, Jackson Mellum, and Ben German, will be in the mix for offensive and defensive spots.
Sauk Prairie will face Milton (road) and Edgewood (home) in the crossover games to start the year. Neither of those Badger South teams made the playoffs last year, part of a four-game run to start the season against non-playoff teams from 2017. Badger North play begins with a home game against Portage on August 31.
The schedule begins to ramp up in difficulty with a Week 4 game at Reedsburg, before another road game against DeForest on September 14. Defending Division 2 champion Waunakee comes to town in Week 6, before Sauk Prairie is back on the road against Baraboo on September 28.
The Eagles finish the regular season with a Week 8 game against Beaver Dam, which is also Homecoming, and a road game against Mount Horeb/Barneveld. All told, four of the final five opponents for Sauk Prairie were postseason teams from a season ago.
Sauk Prairie Eagles - Badger North
Interim Head Coach: Scott Schutt (8th Season), 25-41 Overall (1-2 Playoffs)
2017 Result: 2-7 (1-6), 7th in the Badger North
Three-Year Record: 5-22
2017 All-Conference Honors: 0 First-Team, 0 Second-Team, 6 Honorable Mention (6 total)
Three-Year All-Conference Totals: 0 First-Team, 0 Second-Team, 12 Honorable Mention (12 total)
Returning All-Conference Players (2): LB/OL Garrett Hertzfeldt (HM-LB), Jr.; LB/WR Parker Bruenig (HM-LB), Jr.
Other Players To Watch: DT/TE Reece Bierstaker, Sr.; DE/T Junior Ochoa, Sr.; WR/LB Bryant Schaaf, Sr.; RB/DB Ben Hilliard, Sr.; RB/LB Ben Pethan, Sr.; WR/QB/LB Adam Juran, Sr.; S/RB Adam Nolden, Sr.; CB/WR Jackson Mellum, Sr.; LB/RB Sawyer Ladd, Sr.; RB/LB Dayton Goette, Jr.; ATH/DB Ben German, Jr.; OL/DL Eli Mack, Jr.; TE/LB Zach Gonzalez, So.