New coaches, same goals for Green Bay Southwest
By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – Although the Green Bay Southwest football team has two new head coaches this season, the team’s goals still remain the same.
Playing during the alternate fall season this past spring, the Trojans struggled mightily under-then head coaches Tim Birr and Patrick Wallace.
Southwest finished 1-6 and had two games canceled because of COVID-19.
The Trojans were shut out in their first three games they played and scored only 34 points overall in five contests.
After the season, both Birr and Wallace stepped down.
“It’s true, we struggled, especially offensively,” Aaron Van Eperen – who along with Chad Thiry are the new co-coaches – said. “The season wasn’t during a normal time, and when grades came out, some kids had to focus on their
academics. COVID-19 also had an impact. There’s tons of excitement around the program right now. We have between 70-80 kids (throughout the program).”
Van Eperen and Thiry are familiar with the Southwest program after serving as assistant coaches for the school in the past.
“I don’t foresee any issues (with co-coaching),” Van Eperen said. “Chad and I have been good friends for several years. He has more coaching experience than I do, but he’s not a teacher in the building. In that respect, it will work well to have both of us.”
“There won’t be any issues,” he said. “Seeing the same things, we’ve always been on the same page. When (Birr) and (Wallace) were here, we weren’t sitting behind them hoping they’d leave, but when the opportunity came up, we knew it would be a good fit for both of us.”
Thiry said his squad has a good mix of returning starters and new faces.
“We return three starters on the offensive line and our starting (junior) quarterback,” he said. “We also return some running backs and receivers. Defensively, we return quite a bit as well – about five starters. We are a young team, but the older guys have stepped up.”
Thiry said, to a point, it feels like he and the players “went to bed yesterday and woke up the next day to a new season.”
“We are new coaches on the fly, so we went to the administration and asked for help,” he said. “Every problem we encountered, we needed an answer quickly. Our increased numbers have helped us.”
The Trojans are in the Fox River Classic Conference-North Division and arguably have one of the more difficult schedules in the area.
After opening against non-conference foes Oshkosh North (a 37-6 loss) and Kaukauna, Southwest will see De Pere, Pulaski, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay East, Ashwaubenon, Bay Port and West De Pere.
“The schedule is extremely difficult, but we like playing strong teams,” Van Eperen said. “We were supposed to be in the new conference last year, but COVID-19 changed that. It will be fun and interesting to see how things shake out this season.”
Green Bay Southwest 2021 regular season schedule
8/20 – @ Oshkosh North (37-6 L)
8/27 – Kaukauna
9/3 – De Pere
9/10 – @ Pulaski
9/17 – Green Bay Preble
9/24 – Green Bay East
10/1 – @ Ashwaubenon
10/8 – Bay Port
10/15 – @ West De Pere
• All games begin at 7 p.m.
To read the preview for Ashwaubenon, CLICK HERE.
To read the preview for Bay Port, CLICK HERE.
To read the preview for De Pere, CLICK HERE.
To read the preview for Green Bay East, CLICK HERE.
To read the preview for Green Bay Preble, CLICK HERE.
To read the preview for Green Bay N.E.W. Lutheran/Oneida Nation, CLICK HERE.
To read the preview for Green Bay West, CLICK HERE.
To read the preview for Seymour, CLICK HERE.