Football: Flivvs’ 1st home game against another tough opponent: No. 1 Fond du Lac

KINGSFORD — Kingsford’s demanding non-conference football schedule continues Friday with the home opener at Flivver Field.

Fond du Lac (3-0), ranked No. 1 in Wisconsin after ending Kimberly’s 70-game win streak to start the year, faces the Flivvers (0-2) at 7 p.m.

Kingsford started the season by bowing to defending Bay Conference champion Menasha (3-0), ranked fourth in the Wisconsin Sports Network coaches poll. Defending state champion St. Mary’s Springs of Fond du Lac, No. 1 in Division 5, toppled the Flivvers 35-0 last week.

Fond du Lac’s credentials are equally impressive, winning the FVA South last year and stunning Kimberly 31-28 in the opener on a last-second field goal by Jared Scheberl. The Cardinals, with an enrollment of over 2,000 students, also knocked off DC Everest 49-0 and state-ranked Appleton North 30-7 this season.

Chris Hofer, head coach of the Flivvers since 1987, couldn’t recall a tougher threesome to start a campaign. Fond du Lac measures up to former Flivver foe Homestead, which turned out players for Division 1 college programs.

“Look at who they’ve played?” Hofer said. “They beat two really good teams (in Kimberly and Appleton). That’s definitely the toughest three in a row for sure.

“Fond du Lac is very comparable to some of those good Homestead teams. They’ve got it going right now.”

The Cardinals, led by linebacker Ben Viau (6-foot-3, 205), held Appleton North to just seven yards rushing. Senior running back Eben Sauer rushed for for 165 yards and two scores to lead Fond du Lac on offense.

“They have great speed and toughness on defense,” Appleton North coach Rob Salm told the Fond du Lac Reporter. “I don’t really see any weaknesses.” 

Hofer is impressed with senior quarterback Carson Raddatz.

“Their quarterback is really good,” Hofer said. “He hurts you running the ball.”

Steve Jorgensen, who coached Oshkosh North (2000) and Kimberly (2007, 2008) to state titles, took over the Fond du Lac program this season. The Cardinals last won a state title in 1987.

“They’ve got some good players,” Hofer said. “It’s a big school so they’re going to have some good players.”

St. Mary’s Springs scored on a 57-yard pass play on its first play from scrimmage and went on to a 14-0 halftime lead. The Ledgers added 21 points in the second half.

“The first half they basically had one play and that was the first play of the game,” Hofer said. “We just didn’t help ourselves on offense. We have to find something. Right now it’s a struggle.”

Kingsford had 87 yards total offense. But the Flivver defense was on the field too long. Defensive back Nate Rutter had a team-high 22 defensive points, followed by ends Andrew Mann, 19, and Cole Galeazzi, 14, and back Trevor Povolo, 14. Mann posted a team-high 11 tackles along with a fumble recovery. Rutter also recovered a fumble.

“Defensively it’s a little deceiving because we did some really good things on defense,” Hofer said. “We had some really good series on defense.”

NOTES: St. Mary’s Springs and Fennimore are the only teams in Wisconsin to not allow a point this season. … L’Anse rallied in the final two minutes to edge Houghton 15-14. … Ishpeming rushed for 416 yards and thumped Lake Linden 38-12. “That’s something we preach all the time because we’ve got to come off the ball hard,” Hematites coach Jeff Olson said of his team’s blocking. “Even our backs were blocking well. They aren’t that big, but they were blocking well.” … Rudyard, despite losing starting quarterback Dylan Mills to injury, topped Brimley 20-14. Blake Friisvall, who moved from running back to quarterback, ran for 158 yards. … Pickford, which lost to Forest Park in last year’s state semifinals, socked Engadine 52-7 last week. The Panthers, who average 12.1 yards a carry, have outscored opponents 114-7. “We’re 2-0 and getting contributions from a lot of guys,” said Pickford coach Josh Rader. “We’re still young, but our younger guys play like veterans. It’s early though, so we’re just working on getting better game by game.”