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Bulldogs aiming for improvement

New London players work on drills during practice. Greg Seubert Photo

New London coming off 1-8 season

By Greg Seubert

Wins haven’t been adding up lately for the New London football team, but coach Kyle Collins believes the Bulldogs can turn the corner in 2023.

The Bulldogs are coming off of a 1-8 season that included a 1-4 record in the Bay Conference.

“There’s a desire to get better and a desire to be here,” Collins said. “Everyone’s working to get better. They’re working hard and taking coaching really well. That’s been the biggest thing.”

New London competes in the Bay Conference with Waupaca, Seymour, Shawano, Winneconne and Xavier, which Collins said is a competitive league.

“We lost 13-0 in a close game to Waupaca, we were beating Shawano at halftime, we beat Seymour, we went through three quarterbacks in one game at Winneconne and only lost by a couple of scores,” he said. “I think the guys know that we’re a step away, but it’s not just going to come to us. We have to earn it.”

The Bulldogs’ first four games are against North Eastern Conference opponents Denmark, Little Chute, Luxemburg-Casco and Fox Valley Lutheran.

“Those are tough, but I think they’re good measuring sticks for us to see where we’re at as a program and for our guys to see that this is where we want New London football to get to,” Collins said.

As far as returning players, the Bulldogs will count on several juniors and seniors.

“We have some good senior leadership this year,” Collins said. “Mike Helsten has been great senior leader for us and Tyler Gerrits took over the quarterback role about halfway during last season. Tyler basically made us keep playing him because every time he went out there, he was doing the right thing and doing well. We have a really good group of juniors on the offensive line. Ira Stein is a captain for us and that’s just a product of his offseason work ethic. He just comes and works every day. It was also great to see guys like Tyler, Mike and Jonah (Schlueter) have great success in basketball. You could see their confidence growing and now they see that they can compete with anyone. They’re all great athletes.”

Several football players were also members of the New London Clippers team that placed second this summer at the American Legion Class AA State Baseball Tournament.

“That’s been big for them to realize that, ‘Hey, we can play with anyone in the state, we’re just as good as those athletes,’” Collins said. “We have four good quarterbacks that we’re excited about, basically one at every grade level. For the first time in awhile, we’ve been able to say, ‘OK, this is our quarterback for next year.’ Last year, we didn’t have a clear backup quarterback. We were in trouble when our quarterback went down.”

The Bulldogs will field varsity and JV1 teams this season, Collins said.

“JV1 will probably be 60% freshmen and we’ll fill it out with sophomores just to get them reps,” he said. “We were able to field three teams last year and our numbers are pretty close to where they were last year. The reason we’re only doing JV1 is mainly positional needs. That freshman class has a ton of backs and receivers, we just don’t have the numbers for a freshman offensive line. That’s where we’re at in terms of numbers.”

A few things have to fall in place for the Bulldogs to be successful, according to Collins.
“We just need to be resilient and stay healthy,” he said. “There are going to be nicks and injuries in high school football. Who can step up and fill that void and which one of these sophomores and juniors can be our X factor? I see it as a coach every year, a kid comes in and surprises you who ends up being a really good varsity contributor you weren’t planning on. Who’s that going to be?”

New London football players run a drill during a recent practice. The team opened the season Aug. 18 in Denmark. Greg Seubert Photo

New London 2023 Football Schedules


Friday, Aug. 18 – at Denmark, 7 p.m. (NC)
Friday, Aug. 25 – vs. Little Chute, 7 p.m. (NC)
Friday, Sept. 1 – at Luxemburg-Casco, 7 p.m. (NC)
Friday, Sept. 8 – vs. Fox Valley Lutheran, 7 p.m. (NC)
Friday, Sept. 15 – vs. Winneconne, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 22 – at Seymour, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 28 – vs. Waupaca, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 7 – at Shawano, 1 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 13 – vs. Xavier, 7 p.m.


Monday, Aug. 21 – vs. Denmark, 5 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 28 – at Little Chute, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 5 – vs. Luxemburg-Casco, 5 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 11 – at Fox Valley Lutheran, 5 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 18 – at Winneconne, 5 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 2 – at Waupaca, 6:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 9 – vs. Xavier, 5 p.m.

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