Teams looking to win in season finales

Bonduel faces final challenge before playoffs
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Leader photo by Morgan Rode Shawano will look to end the season on a positive note with a win over New London.

Just like that, the high school football season has reached its final regular season week.

While just one local team, Bonduel, is playoff bound, that doesn’t mean the final game of the regular season is meaningless for the likes of Shawano, Wittenberg-Birnamwood, Marion/Tigerton, Clintonville and Menominee Indian.

For teams that had their seasons not go according to plan, week 9 of the regular season is often used as a springboard for the future of the respective program.

For a young Shawano roster coming off its first win of the season, a win against New London this week would give the Hawks plenty of momentum heading into next fall.

“It would be exciting for our team to beat a playoff team. We’ve shown that we can compete with good teams that are in the postseason,” Shawano coach Alan Tomow said. “We just struggled with consistency all season. That is expected with a young team.”

Despite a 1-7 overall record and 1-6 mark in the Bay Conference, Tomow has enjoyed the progress the team has made.

“Our staff has stayed patient and done a great job continuing to coach the kids hard and helping them get better each week,” he said. “Even though our season has not gone the way we had hoped, I’m really proud of them for not giving up. They continued to work hard all year and made this a positive experience.”

With a playoff spot already locked up, Bonduel will head to Stevens Point to take on Pacelli. A win would not only help in terms of seeding, but a Bears win would eliminate Pacelli from playoff consideration.

”Our team is very excited about playing Pacelli this week,” Bonduel coach James Westrich said. “Pacelli is a good team and we are going to need to play well if we expect to win.”

Bonduel is hoping to keep building on the outcome of the past two weeks while also cleaning up some mistakes.

“Last week vs. Wittenberg we had a lot of positives plays, but we also had a lot of mistakes — penalties, pass protection, missed tackles,” Westrich said. “These are things we are going to have to clean up moving into the playoffs. A win this week might be the difference in seeding so we need to do everything we can to play good fundamental football this week.”

A year ago, Wittenberg-Birnamwood topped Manawa 28-6 to clinch its spot in the postseason. This week, a Chargers win could knock Manawa out of the playoffs.

Witt-Birn, which is searching for its second conference win, and Shawano have scheduled an exhibition game for Thursday, Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. in Wittenberg.

Marion/Tigerton will take part in its last 11-man football game this Friday against Central Wisconsin Conference-Small Division-leading Almond-Bancroft.

The Thundercatz have dealt with several injuries this season and are excited for what next season brings at the eight-man level.

“We had some crucial injuries throughout the year. Some schools are able to come back from injuries, but with our numbers we have had a tough time replacing some key players,” Marion/Tigerton coach Lance Litchfield said. “We have had to move players to different positions. One of our players has played eight different positions this year as a freshman.”

“Next year going eight-man, we will be able to spread the field a little more. I believe our athletes are excited with the move to eight-man. We will be able to utilize some different formations and plays,” Litchfield added.

After playing each of its first eight games against North Eastern Conference foes, Clintonville will travel for its lone nonconference game against Green Bay West.

A victory would put a positive spin on the end of the season for the two currently winless squads.

Menominee Indian earned its first non-forfeit win of the season in week 7 but penalties and turnovers hurt the team in a week 8 loss to Green Bay NEW Lutheran.

The Eagles will go outside the MONLPC-8 for its final game, hosting a 6-1 Florence team coming off its only loss of the season.

AT A GLANCE

Games at 7 p.m. Friday unless noted

Shawano vs. New London

Bonduel at Pacelli (at Goerke Field)

Wittenberg-Birnamwood at Manawa

Marion/Tigerton at Almond-Bancroft

Clintonville at Green Bay West

Menominee Indian vs. Florence, Saturday, 1 p.m.