After a winless season in 2015, the New London Bulldogs football program made strides last year, playing in a number of close games and finishing 2-7 overall.
Although their win-loss record may not reflect their improvements, three of losses were by a touchdown or less.
This year’s team expects to find further success, given the core group of returners.
“I’d describe us as a veteran group,” said head coach Marc Marsh. “We’ve got a lot of kids that have played not only as juniors, but sophomores coming back on both sides of the ball, so we’re very optimistic with that group. I know this group of kids, freshman through varsity, they’re really getting a love for football and they’re hungry.”
Senior quarterback Jack Noffke will be entering his third year as starter. He himself has made significant improvements taking care of the ball for the Bulldogs.
From his sophomore to junior year, he trimmed his interception total by 11 and threw for 14 touchdowns, also an improved total. While the improvements are nice, he says this team isn’t going to be satisfied by just keeping games close.
“Those losses last year in close games, like Seymour and Waupaca were pretty devastating, but I think that fueled us and is fueling us to this day to get back and get back on the field every day,” Noffke said of this year’s team.
His top two targets-Brayden Kurth and Parker Fermanich-are also returning, leading many to believe this offense could prove to be difficult slowing down.
“Expectations are pretty high this year,” Kurth says for the team. “We’re coming in with a strong group of seniors. Parker Fermanich, I think he’s 14th-ranked in the state right now, so we’re looking for a big season from him and Jack. I think if all of us work together to the best we can, we’re going to have a really successful season.”
Success won’t necessarily be defined by the win-loss totals, but coach Marsh says that will be determined by the effort the team puts in every day.
“Our biggest expectation is to work,” Marsh said. “We’ve got to come in with a workman like attitude every single day. These first two weeks we’re focused on Oconto Falls and that’s it. After we get through these first two weeks, that’s when we’ll sit down and evaluate and get our individual and personal goals based on what we see and what’s happening in practice.”
New London fished seventh in the Bay last year, ahead of Green Bay East and Green Bay West, the only teams they defeated.
Their season opener against Oconto Falls will be played Thursday night on the road.