D-DHS looks to keep opponents to fewer points this season

By Kevin Cunningham

Correspondent

Delavan-Darien High School football has been on an upward trend for head coach Bret St. Arnauld since his arrival two seasons ago. In his first year, St. Arnauld’s Comets went 4-5 overall and missed the playoffs.

Last year, the Comets went 5-4 during the regular season and made the playoffs but lost in the first round to a No. 1-seeded Kewaskum team. For year three, St. Arnauld believes the team can be even better after seeing practices and scrimmages earlier this month, but he isn’t satisfied just yet.

“Being under fire for the first time this year, I was very happy with our performance,” St. Arnauld said. “I told the kids, too, ‘I’m happy, but I’m not satisfied.’ We have a lot of small tweaks to fix and work on, so we’re going to build upon that. As the year progresses, we need to keep improving.

“I think we’ve finally made that turn. The first year, some of the kids bought in and a couple more bought in last year, but especially this year moving to the 3-3 (defense) the kids have been on board from the get-go. I’ve had kids dedicated, showing up to summer workouts, and we were in some seven-on-sevens, so, we have people that want to be better. We are a team that prides itself on doing the little things right.”

The team is switching its scheme on the defensive side of the ball. In the Comets’ last five games of the 2015 season, the team allowed at least 35 points against them. In those five games, the team went 2-3 overall, scoring 49 and 47 points respectively in its victories.

The offense starts and will perform as its quarterback performs, St. Arnauld said, and that signal caller is senior Jacob Benzing. In 2015, Benzing earned honorable mention in the Southern Lakes Conference.

In the game against Big Foot a year ago, Benzing threw four touchdown passes while scoring two rushing touchdowns, accounting for each of the six touchdowns the Comets scored in its 41-28 victory.

“I think from an athletic standpoint, we’ll be at the top of the conference (offensively),” St. Arnauld said. “Obviously we have Jake under center. We’ve got Seth Kirsch, Mike Alder, Ethan Cesarz, Ben Ingersoll and now Datoka Williams and Ryan Genglar on offense. I think that’s pretty big. I mean, we’ve got athletes out there all over the place.

“Our backbone on offense is how Jake performs. He’s our quarterback and if he plays well, we’ll have a chance in every game we play.”

Oftentimes a year ago, the team would put up an amount of points necessary to win football games, but the tempo didn’t necessarily help its defense – allowing 35 points per game. St. Arnauld said the team wants to dictate the tempo and do what it sees fit. If they want to go fast, he said, they’ll go fast, but if they need to go slower, based on what the situation calls for, they can go slow.

“I don’t want to score 31 points a game but give up 35,” St. Arnauld said. “We can’t do that. Thirty-one points per game is great if we’re giving up 10 points per game. That’s phenomenal. We’d have a great team. If you’re giving up even 28 a game, that’s not good.

“But, it’s tough. The SLC is a tough conference. It’s an uphill battle for us. We have to do what we can to compete. We’re the smallest team in the conference, so we have to do things differently. That’s just who we are. I’m just looking to use the athletes we have. We have them every year. This (new defensive scheme) will give us the ability to put our athletes in the right position to be successful. Offensively, we’ll be just fine, and, defensively, if we improve, we’ll be sitting really well.”

The Comets’ 2016 season begins at 7 p.m. Friday against Lodi at Delavan-Darien High School. St. Arnauld’s team will have home-field advantage, but he knows what Lodi brings to the table competitively.

“Well, it’s always nice to open up the season at home,” he said. “It’s parents night for us that first night, so that will be nice, especially against a team like Lodi. Lodi went to the state championship in Division IV last year. They’ve got a very nice ball club. They had four guys from last year’s team at the all-star game.

“Even when I was back in high school, Lodi was a big dog. Year after year, they produce a good program. We have to be prepared for a good football team who’s coached well. They’re going to punch us in the mouth and say, ‘Stop us if you can.’ We have to come ready to play some football Friday night.”

 

 
 

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