WINNECONNE — The story of last year's football season was Winneconne, which after winning four regular season games, won the Division 4 state title.
Because of that this year the Wolves are in the spotlight, but they are not changing their approach.
It worked in a Week 1 win over Ripon, but Winneconne isn’t back yet to form.
"We were satisfied with Week 1 but we have a lot of work to do,” coach Clint Peters said. “Got a lot of young kids this year, we're rebuilding, that's high school football. A lot of things we were pleased with but we're not really close to where we need to be."
"We came in knowing it was a new team, a new season,” junior linebacker Mitchell Markert said. “Last season what we did was behind us; was a great thing to do. We got to come out fighting every day as a team. It's different."
Winneconne handled Ripon, 35-8, but Friday’s GameTime Game of the Week promises to be a tougher challenge. Freedom defeated Winneconne last year, 28-0, and the Irish is coming off a disappointing 20-19 loss at Wrightstown.
Winneconne knows an unhappy team is visiting for an Eastern Valley Conference game.
“I expect to get a pretty tough ball game,” Peters said. “Freedom’s predominantly in the playoffs every single year.”
Winneconne has won eight straight games dating back to last season but don’t think the Wolves are living off last year. They know 2014 is a new season and they know teams are going to bring their best against the defending state champs.
"I like it; get to play harder and these teams are playing harder against you,” Markert said. “That's always fun, I Iike competition."
The gold ball in the trophy case has not changed the Wolves’ approach. While some teams might be thinking about a repeat trip to Madison, Winneconne is taking the approach it always has.
"Our goal is to win five football games,” said Peters, whose team won four regular season games last year. “If you can win five football games, you'll be in the running for the conference title. To us (a trip to state), that's secondary."
Markert echoes his coach’s words.
"Take it one game at a time,” he said. “Big goal is playoffs. You get there you can do anything like we proved last year."
The Wolves know that better than anybody.
Notes: Friday’s game was supposed to be at Freedom, but its new field is not ready, so the Wolves get a bonus home game. … Winneconne opens the season with four straight home games. … Winneconne led 35-0 at halftime last week as Tyler Swanlund threw two TD passes.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay