'This year's' Kimberly football team hasn't done anything, yet
KIMBERLY (WLUK) -- Look in the state's high school football record book and under the column, "Longest winning streak, reads Kimberly -- 56 games.
That streak, which is the longest current winning streak in the nation, is active.
Tuesday, the Papermakers, like every other team in the state, practiced for the first time in preparation for the 2017 season and just like every other team, it was great to get back on the field.
"I feel like a lot of the guys are pretty anxious, definitely excited," senior running back D.J. Stewart said. "At the same time, I feel like they're a little bit nervous. In the end of the day we all know who we are.
"You could really tell everybody was ready to get back out there on the field, obviously. But we have to take it step by step. Can't rush the process."
The process has been amazing the last four years, as Kimberly has won four straight state titles, the last three coming in Division 1. Stewart was a big part of last year's team, rushing for 1,857 yards and 32 touchdowns.
But that was last year and this year's team is well aware it is starting from scratch.
"Every single year coming in, we say, this team we didn't do anything," Stewart said. "Last year's team, they did something, but we're a completely new team. We got to come out here, we got to prove ourselves and do something with a new set of guys."
During Tuesday's practice coach Steve Jones reminded his team more than once it has to practice better. There's a standard previous teams have established so the current Papermakers need to step up.
Jones, however, isn't talking about the streak. Like Stewart said, this year's team's winning streak is at zero.
"One question I usually ask our kids is, what's our record," Jones said. "The answer is 0-0. These guys have not won a game yet, this team.
"That's kind of the beauty of high school football. Every year you turn the page."
The page now has been turned and the winning streak will be put on the line in the first week of the season when Kimberly plays at Fond du Lac. It's a rematch of last year's Level 3 playoff game won by Kimberly, 32-29, on a late Danny Vanden Boom touchdown pass.
Kimberly is expecting a challenge from the Cardinals and the senior class has no interest in being the team that ends the winning streak.
"It's very important, because we've been working with all these guys since fifth grade," senior defensive lineman Boyd Dietzen said about keeping the streak alive. "We just want to finish as strong as we can."
KIMBERLY 2017 SCHEDULE
- Aug. 18 at Fond du Lac
- Aug. 25 Wisconsin Rapids
- Sept. 1 at Stevens Point
- Sept. 8 Oshkosh West
- Sept. 15 at Appleton West
- Sept. 22 Neenah
- Sept. 29 Appleton North
- Oct. 6 Kaukauna
- Oct. 13 at Appleton East
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay