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Beavers Sports

From Start to Finish - Baraboo/Reedsburg Preview

Varsity - 2009 Season
Posted Wednesday, October 21, 2009 by Pete Watson
 

 

From start to finish

Members of the Baraboo Thunderbirds ready to fan out as kicker Brady Palacek (25) gets the signal for kickoff during early season action at Beryl Newman Stadium. Though the season hasn't gone smoothly for BHS in 2009, the team looks to end the season on a high note tonight welcoming the Reedsburg Beavers.

 

Pete Watson/News Republic

 

Members of the Baraboo Thunderbirds ready to fan out as kicker Brady Palacek (25) gets the signal for kickoff during early season action at Beryl Newman Stadium. Though the season hasn't gone smoothly for BHS in 2009, the team looks to end the season on a high note tonight welcoming the Reedsburg Beavers.

 

By Pete Watson/News Republic Sports

 

It’s been an extraordinarily difficult season for the Baraboo Thunderbirds football team — from opening the year with a lightning-delayed 35-point loss at Oregon, to losing their starting quarterback for the season in Week 2, and last week forfeiting its contest at DeForest because of rampant illness.

 

As far as measurable successes are concerned, the 2009 campaign hasn’t been a banner year for the winless Thunderbirds (0-8).

 

But with their season finale tonight against Northern Badger Conference rival Reedsburg at Beryl Newman Stadium, the T-Birds intend to continue building on what they’ve learned this year and generate a positive vibe heading into the offseason.

 

Improving each game and taking small steps to becoming a better team and program has been the squad’s mission statement all season long.

 

"We’re hoping to finish strong. Being healthy would be a good start," said first-year T-Birds coach Jeff Ochsankehl with some amusement on Monday. "Reedsburg is obviously a rival and I would expect our kids to be a little more pumped up for this game than some of the other games. Our kids definitely want to go out and play hard against them.

 

"What we’ve tried to do every week is get better. We don’t have a lot of control about the outcome on the scoreboard, but we have a lot of control over how we approach the game mentally and preparation and those types of things. That’s who we are and what we’re about."

 

The Beavers (5-3, 4-1 Badger North), last season’s Division III state runner-up, will be tuning up for postseason play tonight.

 

A shutout loss to DeForest sandwiched between impressive wins over Waunakee and Mount Horeb in Week 8, the Beavers could be the most difficult test for the T-Birds according to Ochsankehl.

 

"Their offense, defense and special teams are solid," Ochsankehl said. "They may be the toughest offense to stop and defend in the conference."

 

Employing a three-headed monster in the backfield — quarterback Chad Mazur (6-foot-2, 185 pounds), running backs Matt Lennon (5-7, 170) and Andy Huber (5-9, 170) — the Beavers favor a triple option attack.

 

Against Mount Horeb, Mazur alone rushed for 234 yards on 19 carries.

 

"They make it difficult to focus on one particular guy," Ochsankehl said. "They go right, they go left, they delay motion and change gears quickly. They look at you, pick you apart, and seem to have an answer for everything you do defensively. They counter very well."

 

Baraboo has struggled this season shutting down a team’s premier threat, let alone two or three of them. Reedsburg’s ability to adapt and execute against opposing defenses is part of the reason they’re the second highest scoring offense (28.1 points per game) in the conference, behind Waunakee (40.1).

 

Lining up against the Beavers every year is an advantage Baraboo has in preparing for them. The same can’t be said for Reedsburg’s opponents in the postseason.

 

"They are going to give teams problems again this year in the playoffs," Ochsankehl said. "If you’re a playoff team and have never seen that kind of offense before...what a nightmare."


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