The Randolph High School football team is taking it one day at a time as they prepare for the 2020 season. With nine starters back on both sides of the ball and a laundry list of all-conference players returning, thoughts of a contending for conference title and a deep playoff run would be normally be on the mind of a team in their position entering practice number one of the season. This is not a normal year.
In this unique season, veteran coach Tom Chase told DailyDodge.com that the team’s goal right now is to make it to the next practice and hopefully a game. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chase says “We made them be very aware that we need to celebrate after each practice because it may be the only one we get, and if we get another one, great, let go get another one. (And do) all the things we have to do to keep the season going. Whether its trying to say six feet about in drills or sanitizing balls or all the things we have to do, we need to continue to do that to give ourselves a chance to play some game and if luck would have it, we get all seven in, and we will go from there.”
During his first season at Randolph, Chase led the Rockets to a 7-3 season and a WIAA playoff bid. Like the rest of prep sports in Wisconsin, Randolph wasn’t able to get an offseason program going until July 1st because of COVID-19. Chase says that once they were able to get into the weight room, his team worked hard with the district’s new strength and conditioning coach and got in some offseason activity.
Randolph’s roster currently includes over forty players. Eight of those players received All-Trailways Small Conference honors in 2019. On offense returning players who were voted all league include; quarterback Brayden Haffele (2nd), running back Jordan Tietz (2nd), and lineman Ben Schmucki (2nd). The defense had three first team all-league players including; defensive back Matt Dykstra, linebacker Zach Paul, and defensive end Jax Rataczak. Linebacker Travis Alvins was a 2nd team pick, while DB Jordan Tietz and linebacker Logan Vander Gallien tabbed Honorable Mention nods.
A handful of Rocket seniors are also on the wissports.net preseason “Watch List” for post-season awards. Brayden Haffele is nominated for the Dave Krieg Award which is awarded to the state’s top quarterback while Jordan Tietz is up for the Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch Award given to the state’s top senior running back each year. Jay Rataczak is on the Tim Krumrie Award watch list which goes to the state’s top senior defensive lineman. Zach Paul is nominated for the John Anderson Award for as the top linebacker and Matt Dykstra is mentioned as a contender for the Jim Leohnard Award given to Wisconsin’s top senior defensive back.
Entering year two of his system, coach Chase says his kids have a better grasp of his offense and he doesn’t see much changing from last year. He expects them to run the ball and maybe throw it a bit more. On defense he says you’ll see the normal 4-3 with the team needing to plug just two holes on the defensive line caused by graduation.
Randolph will compete in the new look eight team Trailways Conference for football that also includes; St. John’s Northwestern Military, Cambria-Friesland, Fall River/Rio, Johnson Creek, and Lourdes Academy. Deerfield and Wayland Academy won’t be participating in football this fall.
The Rockets open up their 2020 season on September 25th when they host Johnson Creek. The kickoff is set for 7pm.
Click the link to hear a full interview with Randolph football coach Tom Chase
2020 Randolph Football Schedule
9/25 – Johnson Creek
10/2 – @Cambria-Friesland
10/10 – St. John’s Northwestern Military
10/16 – Cambridge
10/24 – @Lourdes Academy (game played at Menasha St. Mary) – 1pm
10/30 – Fall River/Rio
11/6 – Watertown Luther Prep
If you have a question about this story or have an idea for a future local sports story, please email Wade Bates at [email protected]