KEWAUNEE — The Kewaunee football team had quite the season last year finishing undefeated in the Packerland Conference and 8-3 overall.
They ended up losing to Amherst in the WIAA Level 2 playoff and the team has been itching to get back on the field since that October 29th loss.
“I’ve been counting down the days since whatever it was – October 28 last year,” said Kewaunee senior quarterback and linebacker Mitchell Thompson. “I could not wait for yesterday and I can’t wait for the 18th.”
Football isn’t just for the players, it's a fabric of the Kewaunee community.
“It’s a very proud tradition,” said Storm head coach Randy Charles. “A lot of history. A lot of great things have happened with the program and it’s definitely a big pillar of the community and it’s something that the community can rally around.”
Despite having a successful 2021 season, the players are driven by their playoff loss to Amherst. According to the team, this offseason has been taken more seriously than years past.
“In the weight room there was a lot more guys there,” said Thompson. “Everyone was trying to work on the field, everything like that. That second round loss, it definitely hit home and we’re not going out in round two this year.”
“We just need to play more as a team and we’ll need some people to step up,” said senior tight and linebacker Sawyer Pribek. :"We lost some people last year, but I think we’ll be right where we were last year.
Kewaunee lost their two top leading rushers from last year and a guy they will lean on in the offense is Thompson who is entering his third year as the starting quarterback. As a junior, he passed for 1,309 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“It feels good, but I don’t feel like I have any high expectations – just go do my thing each night and lead this team to victories,” he said.
But the Storm aren’t about one player.
“Everybody knows their responsibility and does it. It’s not about being the star, or taking all the glory, it's’ more about the team and doing their role,” said Charles.
Charles is in his sixth year coaching Kewaunee, he played for the program in high school and went to state. He would like to get the team back to Madison, but he doesn’t want them to worry about that just yet.
“Our big challenge and what we’ve been talking about to the guys already – just stay focused, don’t worry about that stuff. That will be a product of what you’re doing here. Just focus on the process,” he said.
Kewaunee’s first game of the year against Kiel will be broadcast on the Sports Showdown on WACY/TV32 on Thursday, August 18.