Hawks look for continued success, starting in trenches

Shawano defense catching up to speed
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For the first time in many years, its the offensive and defensive lines that are some of the most experienced units on the Shawano Community High School football field.

With replacing the majority of the skill positions on the offensive side of the ball, and a linebacking corps that adds athleticism, head coach Al Tomow is excited to see how the team can battle on the line of scrimmage.

“It’s been a while since Shawano has been able to say we’re going to be led by our units that are in the trenches,” Tomow said. “Those guys are really experienced. They understand the techniques and how it works behind them with linebackers and defensive backs.”

The team could return four offensive lineman this fall, with Dakota Maltbey securing Jarrett Laatsch’s blind side, and Nathan Krizan, Casey Baumann and Jacob Buettner adding continuity to the unit from a season ago.

Defensively, Maltbey can add size on the defensive line, while Brandon Zoll and the linebacking corps, led by Noah Brodhagen and Seth Sousek, both seniors, providing speed and the knowledge of the game.

It’s the senior class that’s trying to build off the success of last season’s playoff team with a 5-5 record and suffered a 45-13 loss to Notre Dame in the WIAA Level 1 playoffs.

“Some of our seniors, like Seth and Jarrett (Laatsch) and Dakota, those guys want to leave their mark that they just weren’t along for the ride,” Tomow said.

During the loss to the Tritons, Tomow and the coaching staff got a first-hand look at how Laatsch, the team’s new quarterback, can handle pressure.

Laatsch had to step in for Jack Hanauer, who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his knee in the final two minutes of the first half. Although Shawano was unable to score for the remainder of the game, Laatsch worked his way down the field into the red zone on multiple occasions.

“The job that he did, he ran the offense well, and he did a good job getting us down the field in a tough situation,” Tomow said. “That led to the offseason for us. We thought, ‘Well, he’s a good player. Let’s see what he looks like if we build an offense around his strengths and give him a chance to compete in an offense that’s designed for him.’”

With the departure of Kien Moorman, Dylan Sumnicht and Connor Klish, who all will continue their football careers at the college level, Laatsch will work with running back Roman Purull and wide receivers Brayden Dickelman and Crede Timm, among others, looking to keep up with the passing game.

Getting back to the playoffs, and even winning a playoff game, is a goal sitting in front of the group trying to create continued success on the gridiron.

“There’s a lot of freshmen out this year because of the good season we had last year,” Sousek said. “They see what’s going on, and hopefully we can just carry that, and they know we have the potential to do that.”