KFIZ Sports Two-a-Days : Fond du Lac Cardinals

2017 was another successful year for the Fond du Lac
Cardinals football team. A 9-3 record, a share of the VFA-South title, another
trip to level three of the WIAA Playoffs, but much like 2016, a stinging
playoff loss to Kimberly cut the Cardinals hopes short. What will 2018 hold for
Fondy? First off, it holds a new, but familiar head coach. One of the most
talked about coaching hires in the state this offseason, Steve Jorgensen steps
in as head coach of the Cardinals after Mike Gnewuch departed to Mukwonago at
the end of the school year. Jorgensen was an assistant under Gnewuch, which
made the transition almost seamless for both coaches and players. “I don’t
think it was a big transition, because we’re doing the same type of system as
our summer program and we haven’t changed much here as far as scheme” Jorgensen

Several key players depart, but others step in for the 2018
Cardinal team. First-team All-Conference honorees Jack Cole, Henry Lange and
Colton Wasieleski are key departures on offense, while the defense loses
all-FVA talent in Garrett Sphatt and Nick Pieper. Returning, though are a solid
group of seniors on both sides of the ball. Offense features the return of Eben
Sauer – another first team All-VFA selection, along with linemen Andrew Stone,
Luke Mueller and Joe Schlagenhaft. Jorgensen tells us that Carson Raddatz, a
first-team all-conference linebacker in 2017, has the inside track to start at
quarterback this year, but will still see some action on defense. Adam Hopper,
Drew Bonlander and Ben Viau highlight the returnees on defense for the
Cardinals in 2018.

Through the first week of camp, Jorgensen says the defense
is ahead of the offense. “Offensively, we have to get better. We have to shore
up assignments, be able to pass the ball more efficiently and come to a little
more balance. Defensively, it seems like we’re playing pretty darn fast right
now. If we’re assignment sound and don’t have any cracks on the edge and things
like that, I think we’ll be a pretty good defense” Jorgensen said.

When it comes down to it, the schedule for the Cardinals is
another challenging one. Fondy draws Kimberly in week one, Appleton North in
week three and closes out the year hosting Stevens Point. Add that in with
games against teams like D.C. Everest, Neenah and a non-conference tilt with
Kingsford (MI), it’s no easy road. To get to the top, Jorgensen says what
matters is “Can you win a close game? We’re not going to be good enough to just
mow people down at the top of the league, It’s going to be, can you win a
fourth-quarter game? Against Kimberly we haven’t been able to do it, and that’s
one of the things that will have to change.”


2018 Fond du Lac Schedule:

8/17: At Kimberly

8/24: D.C. Everest

8/31: At Appleton North

9/7:   At Kingsford

9/14: Hortonville

9/20: At Oshkosh North

9/28: Oshkosh West

10/5: At Neenah

10/12: Stevens Point