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New London football preview

Bulldogs’ season begins tonight

By Erik Buchinger

New London will look to continue its success after qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

Bulldogs’ head coach Marc Marsh said last year’s accomplishment has given the Bulldogs confidence into the 2018 season.

“I think it’s huge,” Marsh said. “We’ve got kids believing again in Bulldog football. They’re out there with a little more confidence.”

New London will look a little different on the field with new uniforms this fall.

“We’ll look pretty sharp out there, and the kids are jacked about that,” Marsh said. “We can’t wait to wear those this year.”

Marsh said a key contributor to help New London back into the playoffs will be running back Makaio Harn.

“Anytime you get the ball in his hands, you’ve got a shot to score,” Marsh said. “He’s explosive, he’s fast, he’s dynamic, he’s tough. He’s a true football player. He’s a real weapon, and I’m glad we have him.”

Harn said he is looking to help New London get back to the playoffs for the second year in a row.

“It’s pretty motivational knowing we made it that far last year with guys who were seniors last year, but I feel like we could get farther this year with the new guys we have coming in,” Harn said. “It’s going to be pretty exciting.”

In the offseason, Harn said he worked on every aspect of his game including lifting weights, agility work, conditioning and mentally preparing by watching film.

Harn set personal goals for 1,500 yards in 2018 with 15 touchdowns.

Marsh said running the ball will be a strength of the team this season with Jordyn Vanevenhoven returning as a senior in addition to Max Martin and Konnor Kuppernus on the offensive line.

“I think right now our rushing attack is looking pretty good,” Marsh said. “We’ve got some guys with experience and some size up front. Makaio is running the ball really well with Kendall Liebl at fullback – he’s a great threat out of the backfield catching and doing a great job blocking. I think our biggest thing right now is our running game.”

Myles Parker and Tucker Kohl competed for the starting quarterback position during preseason practice, and Parker will start the first game against Oconto Falls.

“We’re looking for everyone to get out here and bus their butt every practice,” Marsh said. “We said there are no given spots. Everyone has to work hard, and everything is open. We’re going to find the best players we can play on offense, defense and special teams. Kids are responding to that, and they’re working real hard.”

Defensively, Marsh said Brooks Griffin, Myles Parker and Logan Locy will be players to watch in the secondary with a Brock Schlieve and Travis Kuhnke plugging up the middle on the defensive line.

“They are really going to anchor our inside run,” Marsh said.

Marsh noted Braeden Fielding changed his body over the summer and is going to be a force on offense and defense.

“We’ve got a lot of kids that have a passion for football,” Marsh said. “They’re going to fly around, and they’re going to play hard. We have more home games than we do road games, so I think we’re going to be very competitive and have a good season.”

Marsh said his goal is for the Bulldogs to return to the playoffs.

“I think every team in the state – their goal right away is to make the playoffs,” Marsh said. “That’s where we’re going to start right there. And it may be lofty some may think, some may not, but we want to play more games than the nine that we’re given.”

Make the playoffs or not, Marsh said a good experience for the players would make for a successful year.

“A successful season is guys out here having a great experience,” Marsh said. “We want them to enjoy the camaraderie. That’s No. 1 because they’re here to play football and have fun. No. 2 – we want to put a good product on the field and be competitive. We want to be successful, we want to win and we want everyone to have a good taste in their mouth and be good representatives of the community.”

Marsh said he is looking forward to seeing what the 2018 team can do after a special 2017 season.

“That’s last year, and it’s over now,” Marsh said. “That’s still going to be the goal to get there, but we’re shelving last year now as great as it was, and it’s the new year of 2018.”

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