EPPJ Wolfpack Football Season Starts Friday

It’s all about points. Score more points than your opponent and you will win games. The same holds true on defense – give up fewer points than your opponent and you will win games.
The Elgin Public-Pope John Wolfpack football team should be good on both sides of the ball. How good remains to be seen as the team prepares for its’ season opener Friday night against Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family. The game will be played at Humphrey, kickoff set for 8 p.m.
Coach Randy Eisenhauer begins his third year at the helm of the Wolfpack, having earned his first district championship last season. One year ago the Wolfpack started with three losses, then posted five straight victories to earn the district title. They then were eliminated in the first round of the Class D-1 State Football Playoffs.
This year the Wolfpack enter the season with just 20 players on the roster. Numbers may be down, but Coach Eisenhauer’s optimism is up about the team’s chances.
“We’ve got nine seniors,” he said last week. “They all come back with plenty of experience. We’ve got a lot of momentum off of last year. Practices have been great. They know what we’re doing and we’re getting better.”
One change on the coaching staff. Michael Becker will work as defensive coordinator and Ben Spiegel will coach special teams.
Eisenhauer said the Wolfpack will continue to be a power running team, but they’re also going to throw the ball a little more than previous years. Last season was Seth Schumacher’s first as quarterback. He got better as the season progressed. This year, Eisenhauer said the senior signal-caller is throwing the ball better than ever.
“Seth has worked his tail off this summer,” Coach Eisenhauer said. “He’s throwing a great ball for us.”
The top three running backs from last year are back. Fullback Kyle Kallhoff and tailbacks Andrew Fangman and Chad Bode. The three backs accounted for more than 2,000 yards rushing last year. At Saturday’s scrimmage, they all looked like they could be among the best backs around. Not only can they run the ball, they’re also good receivers. So, too, are ends Dylan Behnk and Austin Meis who should see more balls coming their way this year.
Right now, barring any injuries, Eisenhauer said the line will consist of center Scott Moser and Alois Warner at left guard and either Miles Schrage or Liam Heithoff at right guard.
“That’s what it will look like to start the season. But, for the first couple of games, we’re going to experiment with players at different positions.
Maybe the biggest challenge for the Wolfpack will come on defense where the team must replace Kyle Heithoff, the team leader in tackles last season.
That won’t be easy, but Eisenhauer said he thinks Fangman is up to the task at middle linebacker. Fangman looks like a linebacker, having spent 50 days in the weight room this summer. Behnk will fill the other linebacker slot for the team. The Wolfpack will also benefit from having Schumacher back as a safety. He led the team in interceptions last year.
The Wolfpack will be tested early. In Week Two, the Wolfpack will square off against perennial power Creighton at Elgin Field. The Wolfpack will have one game under their belts while it will be the season opener for the Bulldogs. That game will give the Wolfpack and their fans a good sense of just how good the team can be this season.
Other big games on the schedule will be when they host Clearwater/Orchard and play at Neligh/Oakdale later in the season.