HS football teams find out who they'll meet in playoffs - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

HS football teams find out who they'll meet in playoffs

WESTON (WAOW) -- High school football teams around the state now know who they'll be facing off against in this weekend's playoffs. Since they're used to finding out a week in advance, coaches and players have been put in a situation where they have to prepare for anything.

The DC Everest football team was one of many qualifying for this year's playoffs. But without a clue who they would face in this weekend's match-ups, coach Luke Coenen said they weren't sure what to use from their playbook.

"We've been working on some basic things, lifting and watching our past film and making corrections from Friday," said Coenen.

The Evergreens' plans had to be put on hold, because a Milwaukee team's leaders took the WIAA to court. Messmer/Shorewood left one conference four years ago, and according to WIAA rules, became ineligible for playoffs for four years. This would be their fourth year of ineligibility, but Messmer/Shorewood leaders contested it. WIAA leaders said they couldn't release match-ups for division one and two schools until the court made a ruling. That put a damper on what teams said would otherwise be an exciting week of preparation.

"Kind of frustrating knowing one team is really holding up the whole state of Wisconsin for a little while," said Marshfield football coach Denny Goettl. "Let's get it done and get it over with. We could have had some pairings and got that done. It would have been nice to have these things settled." 

The game plan on the field wasn't the only thing up in the air this week. School leaders said they've had to wait on many other issues, like coordinating buses for players and fans.

"Transportation issues need to get addressed," said DC Everest Athletic Director LeeAnn Kitchell. "Lots of schools are trying to figure out how they're getting to games, if indeed they have an away game, there's only so many buses available either on a Friday night or Saturday."

Now coaches who also teach face a clock that's winding down. And hope they'll be able to make the right plays before time runs out.

"We're teaching during that time," said Coenen. "All my assistants are teachers so it's not like we have time off so it's going to be definite crunch time and it's going to be stressful for the coaches and the players."

Football coaches said it's been rough practicing without knowing who they'd end up playing, but now that they know, they're looking forward to the weekend ahead.

The division one and two playoff pairings were released after a judge ruled against the WIAA. The WIAA challenged Shorewood/Messmer's participation in the playoffs. The WIAA ruled the team ineligible because it's in the fourth and final year of a playoff ban on teams that drop out of their conferences. Messmer/Shorewood joined a new conference this year.

"We're disappointed in the opinion of the court but we respect the process and as I said, very grateful for the chance to have tried to tell our side," said WIAA executive director Dave Anderson.

The president of Messmer Catholic Schools issued a press release, saying -- "The process and decision reinforces for the students that the rules matter. They can now focus on their challenge on the field. Win or lose, they've been given the chance to compete. That's all any team can ask. "

The playoffs start this Friday and Saturday. You can find the pairings for all seven divisions by clicking on this link.

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