Trojans open season against Delavan-Darien Friday

By Dan Truttschel


There is no escaping the fact that a lot of offensive production left the East Troy football program with the graduation of quarterback Brandon Matz and wide receiver Sam Eckert.

That is a fact that can’t be disputed, as Matz threw for more than 2,300 yards and 29 touchdowns and Eckert had almost 750 yards receiving and 12 scores of his own.

But don’t expect the Trojans to feel sorry for themselves – they plan on taking the program to the next level in 2014.

And head coach Eric Sulik is confident his team can do just that.

“I expect to qualify for the playoffs and contend for a conference championship,” he said. “We are working very hard to accomplish those goals.”

Sulik also admits getting past a 4-5 overall record and a 3-4 mark in the Rock Valley Conference last year won’t be easy.

But as they say, if it was easy, everyone would do it, right?

“Our schedule is the most competitive schedule we have had since we joined the Rock Valley Conference,” Sulik said. “Six of our nine opponents qualified for the playoffs.”

East Troy, which hosts Delavan-Darien this Friday night in a 7 p.m. season opener, traveled to Union Grove last week to compete in a four-team scrimmage.

Joining the Trojans and Broncos were Whitewater and New Berlin Eisenhower, and for the most part, Sulik was pleased what the results.

“We accomplished a lot of things that I wanted to see,” he said. “We stayed healthy, and I thought our conditioning was pretty good.

“We need work in about every area but I like the direction of where we are going. Our defensive scheme stood out at times and also showed that we are still learning a new system. Offensively, we didn’t come out like we wanted, but I saw a lot of good things later in the scrimmage.”

Sulik added that he knows the offense will continue to grow as the season rolls along.

“We didn’t show much on offense, and that wasn’t by accident,” he said.

New man at the helm

Identifying the leader for 2014 wasn’t difficult, as Sulik said that job will be held by senior Charlie Kutschenreuter.

Kutschenreuter was a second-team, All-Rock Valley Conference pick at wide receiver last year and will take over at quarterback in his senior season.

The position isn’t an unknown for Kutschenreuter, as he filled in for Matz a year ago when he was sidelined with an ankle injury.

“He is our captain and leader,” Sulik said. “I have never coached player that commanded more respect from players and coaches than Charlie.

“We are starting to see more leadership from seniors, juniors and sophomores. His influence is contagious.”

Sulik said he has high expectations for all the leaders on his football team.

“I expect them to lead, not only when things are easy, but when times are tough,” he said. “We talk a lot about reacting and dealing with adversity. We expect our guys to carry out our ‘all in’ mentality.”

Sulik said he’s been pleased with his team’s overall speed and athleticism. Areas of concern early in the season include overall depth on the offensive and defensive lines and collective team strength.

Looking at the race to the RVC North title, Sulik expects Edgerton, Albany-Evansville and Jefferson to be among the team in the mix for the crown.

The Trojans close the season with games against all three in consecutive weeks. East Troy travels to Elkhorn Aug. 29, before it opens RVC action the following week against visiting Clinton.


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