Polar Bears optimistic
Hortonville back in Valley Football Association
By Greg Seubert
Will the Hortonville football team be able to make some noise this season in the Valley Football Association?
That’s what second-year coach Ben Stumpf is counting on.
The Polar Bears are coming off of a 4-4 season that included a 3-1 mark in the VFA, which this year also includes Appleton West, D.C. Everest, Marshfield, Stevens Point, Wausau West and Wisconsin Rapids. Wausau East, a team that competed in the VFA last season, is not fielding a varsity team this year due to low numbers.
“We played a number of those teams last year,” Stumpf said. “We didn’t play Stevens Point, but we’re familiar with Marshfield, Rapids, D.C. Everest, Wausau West.”
D.C. Everest won the VFA championship by winning all four of its conference games.
“They’re the conference champs, they’re on the top and you have to knock them off,” Stumpf said. “It’s always a competitive conference and there are no down teams. You have to be ready to play every week.
“We should be able to compete if we take care of things on our end,” he said. “We should be there at the end of the year with an opportunity for a number of wins.”
Like other coaches, Stumpf spent most of last season dealing with COVID-19 issues.
This season feels different.
“It’s been a completely different offseason,” Stumpf said. “We’ve been able to install stuff and we’ve had kids together throughout the summer and doing things right. It’s a huge difference and it’s great to be back to normal.”
He said he learned a lot in his first season as coach after four seasons as an assistant.
“As a head coach, you’ve got to be able to communicate with guys and they’ve got to be able to communicate with the coaching staff,” he said. “We’re improving there.”
The Polar Bears’ returning players include quarterback Sam Dodd, the VFA’s offensive player of the year last season; tailback Hunter Strange; and linemen Bodie Schanhofer and Zach Roovers. All are seniors.
The Polar Bears played last season’s games in front of mostly empty stands. That won’t be the case this year and Stumpf said playing in front of a crowd – especially at home – is a big deal.
“We are extremely excited that we’re going to have full stands,” he said. “We have Community Night in week two and that’s our first game back here on Akin Field. They get their friends out in the stands again and they’re not watching on the livestreams.”
The Polar Bears know what needs to happen to have a successful season, according to Stumpf.
“We have to stay healthy and focus on our game plan,” he said. “If we take care of what we need to do, good things are going to happen.”
Hortonville 2021 Football Schedules
Friday, Aug. 20 – at Appleton East, 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 27 – vs. West De Pere, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 3 – at Marshfield, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 10 – vs. Stevens Point, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 17 – at Appleton West, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 24 – at Wisconsin Rapids, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 1 – vs. Colby, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 8 – at D.C. Everest, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 15 – vs. Wausau West, 7 p.m.
Monday Aug. 23 – vs. Appleton East, 5 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 30 – at West De Pere, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 7 – vs. Marshfield, 6 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 13 – at Stevens Point, 5 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 20 – vs. Appleton West, 5 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 27 – vs. Wisconsin Rapids, 5 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 4 – at Wausau East, 5 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 11 – vs. D.C. Everest, 5 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 18 – at Wausau West, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 19 – at Appleton East, 4:15 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 26 – vs. West De Pere, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 2 – at Marshfield, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 9 – vs. Stevens Point, 6 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 16 – at Appleton West, 6 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 23 – at Wisconsin Rapids, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 30 – vs. Wausau East, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 7 – at D.C. Everest, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 14 – vs. Wausau West, 5 p.m.