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Green Knights aiming for conference title

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

DE PERE – The St. Norbert College football team finished 10-2 a season ago and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.

After winning the Midwest Conference (MWC) title with a 10-7 victory over Monmouth, the Green Knights bested Trinity 31-7 in the first round of the postseason before falling to UW-Whitewater the next weekend, 54-21.

St. Norbert will kick off its home schedule Saturday, Sept. 14, by hosting UW-Eau Claire in a non-conference game at Schneider Stadium at 1 p.m.

“Our first goal every year is to compete for a Midwest Conference championship,” said St. Norbert head coach Dan McCarty. “Last year was a great year for us, but this is a new group with new goals. We challenge all the kids to leave their own legacy while here.”

Quarterback Drew Rhodes threw for almost 1,700 yards and rushed for nearly 1,000 a season ago but has graduated.

Junior quarterback Freddy Poorman got the nod under center in week one.

Poorman threw 57 times for 384 yards with four touchdown tosses in a 50-40 non-conference loss to Aurora University Sept. 7.

“We have a lot of good athletes at the quarterback position,” McCarty said. “In order to get some of them on the field, we are moving a few of them around to different positions.”

In the backfield, Notre Dame Academy graduate Nate Ihlenfeldt rushed for 112 yards on 16 attempts to lead the offense in the opener.

“It’s all about keeping our running backs healthy,” said McCarty. “Instead of pounding one of our backs with 30 carries a game, we will rotate them and keep them fresh. Nate will play some in the slot, and we have senior Jadon Sackman back for another year.”

McCarty said sophomore Brandon Dudley will also get carries out of the backfield.

Receivers Samuel Staehling, Matt Galanopoulos and David Lox are all back.

The trio accounted for about 1,000 yards receiving in 2018.

Staehling hauled in 10 receptions for 203 yards with three touchdowns against Aurora, while the junior Galanopoulos caught seven passes for 74 yards and one touchdown.

Defensively, the Green Knights were hit hard by graduation.

Matt Barrett (97 tackles), Mike Olijnyk (69 tackles), Matt Gurgone (69 tackles, five interceptions, three fumble recoveries) and Hunter Prokash (four interceptions) are no longer on the roster.

“The strength of our team is our D-line upfront,” McCarty added. “We have three returnees there and two all-conference kids. Our cornerbacks have a ton of games experience-wise, and we have good depth at the linebacker position.”

Editor’s note: The Sept. 14 home opener vs. UW-Eau Claire marks the tenth time the teams will play.

Coach’s spotlight

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

Name: Dan McCarty

School: St. Norbert College

Dan McCarty

Years coaching at St. Norbert: 6 (5 as head coach)

Other football coaching gigs: Southern Door High School, Sturgeon Bay High School, UW-Stout, UW-Eau Claire, UM-Duluth, overseas (Norway)

Hometown: Sturgeon Bay

Most memorable coaching moment: “In 2004, I was running the offense and defense at Sturgeon Bay High School when we won the Division 4 state championship. We had never won a state title before. It was probably the most enjoyable year I’ve had coaching.”

Coaching mentor: “Bob Nielson, the current head coach at the University of South Dakota. I learned a lot from him and how he ran a program. He was a guy who had an impact on me early in my career.”

Best player you’ve played against: “In high school ball, it was pretty intimidating as a sophomore tailback looking across the line and seeing Jim Flanigan from Southern Door playing linebacker. Jim was by far the best I played against. He went on to have a great career at the University of Notre Dame and in the NFL.”

Goals for 2019: “Our first goal is to come together as a family – we have a lot of new faces this year. As the season goes, we want to win the Midwest Conference North Division, have a chance to play in the conference championship and start stacking playoff wins. I’d love to see us host a playoff game and pack the stands.”

My coaching style is: “I’m a player’s coach. I love our kids, and they know this. I went through a lot as a college player – had a lot of struggles, especially with alcohol, and ended up flunking out of college with a full scholarship. I’m not happy those things happened, but I share the story with the team. My roommate was killed in a car accident on a trip I was supposed to be on with him, so I took on a lot of guilt and turned to other things. On the field during practice, I take a lot of notes and I’m actively involved and laid back. On game day, the competitor in me comes out, and I get pretty excited. All of our coaches are there for the guys.”

2019 St. Norbert College football schedule 

9/7 – @ Aurora University – L 50-40

9/14 – UW-Eau Claire

9/28 – @ Monmouth College

10/5 – Grinnell College

10/12 – @ Ripon College *

10/19 – Beloit College * (Homecoming)

10/26 – Lawrence University *

11/2 – @ Macalester College *

11/9 – @ Lake Forest College *

11/16 – @ MWC Championship – noon

Editor’s notes: An asterisk designates a Midwest Conference game; All games begin at 1 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

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