Pulaski pounding its way to the top
By Rich Palzewic
PULASKI – The Pulaski Red Raiders football team is no secret to opposing teams.
Offensively, the Red Raiders run the single wing and play fast and aggressively on defense.
This year will be no different.
The single wing — which uses a series of fakes and deception — is perhaps best described by an
“Playing against Pulaski and that offense is like going to the dentist — you don’t like doing it,” Bay Port coach Gary Westerman recently said.
The Red Raiders, under the leadership of coach Jerad Marsh, advanced to the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 2 Level 3 playoffs a season ago, but lost to Hartford, 35-28.
“It was a good season with a smaller senior class (of about 20), and they performed,” Marsh said. “Playing in the FRCC (Fox River Classic Conference) gets us primed and ready for the playoffs. Hopefully, we can get back there this year — and further.”
Pulaski finished 9-3 last season and has a good core group returning for 2022.
“We normally have 15-30 seniors, and we have 28 this year,” Marsh said. “We have some bigger classes coming into the program in the future. We return a lot of guys who got varsity snaps and had a nice junior varsity season. The guys came into the season in good shape.”
In the single wing, which doesn’t have the quarterback play under the center, throwing the ball isn’t the main priority — but you can’t count out the occasional pass play.
“We’ve put a big emphasis on (the passing game) this year,” Marsh said. “We’ve got guys who have good arm talent and do what we need. When we sit in tighter games, if we can soften the defense by forcing some type of pass threat, that helps.”
Last year’s quarterback, Derek Block, is being moved to the defensive side of the ball this season, so the Red Raiders will have to find his replacement.
“Last year, we had a deep linebacking core, so Derek stepped in and did a great job at quarterback,” Marsh said. “With what we graduated, he’ll return to defense.”
Marsh was uncommitted with who will play quarterback this season.
“That’s why we don’t list (a quarterback) on the roster,” Marsh laughed. “I’m kidding — that’s an old single-wing joke. We have a few guys who have played quarterback all through the system — they’ll be ready.”
Block – who only threw the ball 66 times last year — didn’t have to run the ball much because Pulaski had a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Aaron Maroszek (145 attempts, 1,058 yards, 13 touchdowns) and Maverick Cole (165, 1,023, 14).
Maroszek, a first-team all-conference selection, has graduated. However, Cole, a verbal commit to Division II Minnesota State, returns.
“Maverick did a nice job this offseason. He’s a workout warrior and a big strong kid,” Marsh said. “Moving from a junior to senior, he has a better understanding of the offense and will make others around him better. We are blessed with another nice backfield and an experienced line.”
Marsh said when the play is called from the sideline, the staff and players don’t know who’s going to get the ball — at least at that point.
“That’s all decided by where (our backfield) guys line up when they get (to the line of scrimmage), based on where the defense lines up,” he said.
The Red Raiders also return Will Friedman (first-team, lineman), Jack Marsh (second-team, lineman), Aiden McDougal (second-team, fullback) and Charlie Duffrin (honorable mention, lineman) on offense.
Defensively, the Red Raiders lost some good talent but also have a solid core returning, including Trevan Falla (first-team, lineman), Jake Adams (first-team, inside linebacker), Mason Wells (first-team, punter; second-team, defensive back) and Elliott Karcz (defensive back).
Lost to graduation are Aaron Hawpetoss (first-team, defensive end), Ben Suchalla (first-team, outside linebacker) and Riley Lom (first-team, defensive back).
“Our defensive coaches do a great job,” Marsh said. “We’ll continue to fly around the ball and be aggressive.”
Marsh said the first half of the season “will be a big challenge” for his team.
“We open with Notre Dame (Academy), Hortonville, De Pere, Bay Port, West De Pere and Ashwaubenon in the first six weeks,” he said. “We have to worry about the regular season and at least get those four conference wins (to qualify for the playoffs). (Green Bay) Southwest has some playmakers and (Green Bay) Preble’s numbers are up — there are no easy teams.”
PULASKI’S REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Aug. 19 vs. Notre Dame Academy
Aug. 26 @ Hortonville
Sept. 2 @De Pere
Sept. 9 @ Bay Port
Sept. 16 vs. West De Pere
Sept. 23 vs. Ashwaubenon
Sept. 30 @ Sheboygan North
Oct. 7 @ Green Bay Southwest
Oct. 14 vs. Green Bay Preble
Note: All games begin at 7 p.m.