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Beavers Sports

Beavers Got Defensive in '11, Future Looks Bright for "D"

Posted Tuesday, October 25, 2011 by Brady Ambrose

FOOTBALL: Beavers got defensive in '11; future looks bright for 'D'

buy this photo Members of the Reedsburg defense including Aaron Lopp, Travis Reinfeldt, Colton Brott and Nate Runde take a break on the sideline earlier this season.

Even though the Reedsburg Area High School football team finished with a 2-7 record, there were times when the Beavers' defense played like champions.

Week in and week out, the defense kept Reedsburg in many games over the course of the season - which saw the Beavers lose Badger North Conference games to Sauk Prairie, Baraboo and Milton by a combined margin of 13 points.

Defensive coordinator Matt Delkamp said the coaching staff felt the team was just a play or two away from winning those games.

"All coaches are going to find themselves a play or two away quite a few times in their lives," Delkamp said. "Unfortunately, we were a few plays away in quite a few games this year.

"It does take its toll on the coaches, but we learn lots of things about our team in those games - most importantly, how they grow as young men through those experiences. They will have a lot of those situations as adults, and we hope as a staff we can influence the way they will handle themselves in the future."

Throwing out losses to state powers Waunakee and DeForest, the two perennially dominant teams in the Badger North, and a 40-14 loss to a very good Mount Horeb team, the Beavers were in each of the six other games they played, including a 16-6 loss to a much-improved Fort Atkinson team in the season opener Aug. 19.

Four of the teams that beat Reedsburg - Waunakee, DeForest, Mount Horeb and Fort Atkinson - are a combined 29-7 and are playoff bound, with Waunakee a strong contender for a third straight WIAA Division 2 state championship.

In Reedsburg's games with Stoughton, Sauk Prairie, Baraboo, Milton and Portage, the Beavers outscored their opponents, 116-115, but went 2-3. The Beavers' 14-13 loss to Milton on Sept. 30 was especially tough as the Red Hawks - led by freshman quarterback Tyler Westrick - got the winning score on a 43-yard pass to senior Riley Kovars with 9 minutes 25 seconds remaining, capping a 76-yard scoring drive.

"Any time things aren't going the way you wish they would, there is going to be some sense of frustration," Delkamp said. "I was frustrated at times throughout the year by our inability to execute on a consistent basis, but I never felt our kids lacked heart or effort, even including the games previously mentioned.

"Their effort was there, and we played really well at times; we just needed to be more consistent on a regular basis."

The come-from-behind win at Stoughton in the second game of the season showed Delkamp and the staff that the team was beginning to mature, the coach said.

"That Stoughton game was a good example of a young defense showing signs of consistent execution and focus," Delkamp said. "We came up with some big plays when we needed them.

"We saw signs of that at various points throughout every game this season - for example, the first quarter of the DeForest game. It just happened at the end of this game. What a great experience for our kids in that game."

Several individuals on the played well defensively during the season:

X Senior Nick Christensen recorded eight solo and 59 assisted tackles, one tackle for loss, one fumble recovery and a pair of quarterback sacks.

X Senior Colton Brott, moved to linebacker at the start of the season, registered 10 solo and 83 assisted tackles, four tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, an interception and a sack. He also scored a touchdown on a 75-yard run after recovering a fumble in the loss to Milton.

X Caleb Senzig had six solo and 81 assisted tackles, five tackles for loss, an interception, a sack and a pass break-up.

X Junior Aaron Lopp had 10 solo and 59 assisted tackles, tying junior Seth Douglas and Brott for the team lead in solo stops.

Among that group, only Christensen and Brott will be lost to graduation, along with senior regulars Tyler Archambo, Gabe Gavin, Trae Finnegan, Brett Deakin, Locksley Draves, Derek Tourdot and Will Harris.

As a result, the defense could shape up as an extremely solid one next season.

Delkamp says the staff always focuses on accomplishments made as a team.

"Some players do stand out, but only because of the team effort," Delkamp said. "We had some solid players this year, many of whom will be back again next season."

Looking into his crystal ball, Delkamp is rightfully excited.

"We really had a young group of defenders this season. At times, we were playing with seven or even eight underclassmen on the field," Delkamp said. "Knowing this, we are excited about what we have coming up, but we all know that offseason commitment their willingness to work hard and learn will be a critical part of our improvement as a team.

"We enjoyed coaching the group that we had this year. They were a great bunch of kids to work with. Now we shift gears and start getting excited about next year's group."

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