Looking to keep the streak: Jaguars football preview
By Murray Gleffe
ASHWAUBENON- The Ashwaubenon Jaguars made it 20 straight playoff berths in 2017.
If the team wants to make it 21, it will have to find replacements for their leading passer (Anthony Guarascio), rusher (Alex Stanko), and receiver (Will Adair).
“Those guys accounted for over 2000 yards last year,” said Mark Jonas, Jaguars football coach. “They were good football players, but this is a new year and it will be exciting to see who will step up at the skill positions. We aren’t picked to finish high in the conference, but that motivates the coaches and players to work even harder. Our goals each year are to win every home game, win conference, and make the playoffs.”
As many as four quarterbacks will compete for the starting job.
Returning senior Ashton Steinike was Guarascio’s backup last year.
Juniors Tyler Johnson and Dawson Dembroski and sophomore Cadian Vang will also be in the mix.
“Ashton has the most experience within the program,” said Jonas. “He took on a leadership role over the summer by organizing different things with the 7-on-7 tournaments. He gives us a great dimension with his legs and runs the ball very well. Tyler brings a passing element, Dawson a strength component, and Cadian huge confidence to the field. Besides Ashton, though, none have any varsity experience.”
The Jaguars will be breaking in new starters at the running back and receiving positions as well.
“We have a number of players that saw some action on the offensive side of the ball last year that will be asked to contribute in a big way this season,” said Jonas.
On the opposite side of the ball, the Jaguars return five senior linebackers Austin Helstad, Dylan Landsinger, Corbin Rottier, Marcus Wagner, and Cam Wheeler who were either part- or full-time starters in 2017 and have a wealth of experience.
Wheeler was a second team all-conference selection as a junior.
“Cam is a tremendous football player,” Jonas said. “He gets the defense going with his intensity and tremendous commitment to the game. He is also a very intelligent athlete who is looking at Ivy league schools.”
Anchoring the defensive line will be Kenny Brooks, Jakoby Harris, Torry Heitzkey, James Murdock, Javonn Smith, and Jaden Wentworth.
Some of the aforementioned names could be asked to play offense as well, according to the coach.
“We will big on the defensive line,” said Jonas. “James bench presses close to 400 pounds and Javonn and Kenny give us two big guys to clog up the middle. We will have some depth as well with seven or more guys to rotate in.”
The Jaguars will have to retool their secondary with the exception of lone returnee Riley Siudzinski.
The positive take away is that Sheboygan North and South are the only two teams that bring a true passing game in the FRCC.
“Riley will be our anchor in the defensive backfield,” said Jonas. “He has unbelievable speed and can get to the ball very quickly.”
If the Jaguars are to keep their postseason streak intact from 1998, the team will most likely have to get some victories early on.
That will be easier said than done as they play Green Bay Preble, Notre Dame, and Bay Port in three of the first four weeks of the season.
Those teams combined to go 22-5 last year.
“Southwest and Notre Dame will be strong once again, and Preble is breaking in a new coaching staff,” Jonas said. “It is important we are ready to go from the start. We take one game at a time here at Ashwaubenon.”
Full team rosters and schedules can be found at www.wissports.net.