AREA FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Knights Seek Next Step
The 2020 Football season for the Victoria Knights was one of satisfaction as the Knights posted their best record (11-1) since their seventh and most recent state championship in 2015.
The season ended however with Victoria and their fans wanting more after a 44-22 loss to a powerful St. Francis squad in the 8-Man Division ll State Semifinals. Still the Knights after missing the playoffs in 2016 and suffering early round playoff losses in 2017, 2018 and 2019 feel they're ready to take the next step in bringing a state championship back to Victoria.
While they will have to fill the void created by the graduations of Drayden Karlin and All-State Running Back Jayvon Pruitt, Victoria returns four key starters including Quarterback Grant Schoenrock who rushed for 1,100 yards and 22 touchdowns a year ago and threw for nearly 800 yards and 14 scores. Carson Werth ran for 608 yards and nine trips to the end zone. Also returning and being asked to shoulder the load will be Nate Windholz who played a variety of positions last year and Taylor Anderson.
Defensively, Werth and Schoenrock were key players with Schoenrock registering 110 tackles and three interceptions while Werth added 76 stops.
Head Coach Doug Oberle who enters his 19th season at the helm and who has amassed 132 victories and four state titles talks about the task of replacing a major piece of the team like Pruitt.
The Knights will open the 2021 campaign with their first trip to LaCrosse since 1997 though to be fair it's just the second season for the Leopards at the 8-Man Football level. However, Oberle has high praise for Victoria's opening night opponent.
Oberle also offered some thoughts on Sylvan-Lucas, which the Knights defeated twice in 2020 including a 50-0 rout in the second round of the playoffs and Trego. Victoria will be facing these two teams on back to back weeks.
Assisting Oberle on his coaching staff will be Dan Rogers and newcomer Zach VonLintel.