KAUKAUNA — The 2-0 Kaukauna high school football team was one win away from making it down to Madison for the Division 2 state title game last year, they were knocked out by West De Pere, who they beat last week in a thrilling game that was decided by a field goal.
They are returning many pieces from last year's squad, including senior quarterback Finnley Doriot, who is at the helm of the offense for the third season in a row.
“I don't hesitate to put him as one of the top QB’s in the state,” said Kaukauna head coach Matt Binsfeld.
“Coming into this season, I don't think many people thought he was going to be a big star, but he’s really shown it,”” said senior wide receiver Danny Poor II.
As Doriot embarks on year three under center, with his great play in previous years, there’s now high expectations in his final season as a Ghost. He’s off to a good start, passing for a total 554 yards and 5 touchdowns through the first two games of the year.
“He has an arm,” Poor II said. “He can sling it pretty far. He has the accuracy. He's a well rounded QB. He can run, he can do whatever you need him to do.”
“He can do it all,” his head coach said. “You can see we don’t run him a ton, but when he does, you can see he’s one of the fastest kids on the field. His accuracy and his chemistry with our receivers has taken a really significant step since last year and I thought last year he had a pretty good season.”
That chemistry has grown partly because of that level 4 playoff loss last year. Once the season was over, Doriot and his receivers wasted no time in getting back to work.
“We wanted to get back out there and our eyes were already set on next season,” said senior wide receiver Nolan Hall. “We just got out at soon as we could and as often as we could and just started putting the work in.”
“There’s a lot of trust there, I mean those guys are great,” said Doriot.
Last year, Kaukauna had stud running back Noah Hoffman to lean on. This year, they’re expecting Doriot to be somewhat of a dual threat to make up for his absence.
“He’s gotten us out of some jams with his feet,” said Binsfeld. “He's had some nice runs already this season and he’ll continue to do that. I think he’s a total package plus he’s a really smart kid, really high GPA (and) ACT kid, so he can go and play anywhere, I think.”
Last week Doriot led his team down the field for what would turn out to be the game winning score, a 28-yard field by Osvaldo Soto-Sanchez.
“He's able to improvise and make big plays when you need him and that really helps our offense out because you always need a guy that you can count on when it comes late in the game,” said Hall. “Having a guy like him out there really helps all of us out.”
This team knows what their potential is, but they’re focused on what it will take to get their first.
“We’re always talking about trying to win state, that’s always the final goal — the next game is always the most important, so we go week by week,” said Doriot.
And next up for the ghosts they host FVA foe Oshkosh North on Thursday night in the first conference matchup of the season.