PLATTEVILLE, Wis.- An experienced University of Wisconsin-Platteville football team reported Tuesday morning for the 2019 preseason camp eager to return to contender status in the conference and national play.
The Pioneers are coming off a 4-6 season, their first losing mark in eight seasons. They had compiled a 53-18 mark the previous seven seasons, with a pair of NCAA Division III playoff appearances.
Coach Mike Emendorfer's squad returns seven starters on both offense and on defense. Last year the Pioneers led the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) in pass offense completing 57.6 (219-380) for 2,662 yards and came in second in the season in total offense behind 2018 WIAC Champions, UW-Whitewater with 4,084 yards.
"We are looking to rebound from a challenging season and we are excited about the incoming recruiting class and our group of returners," said Emendorfer. "It's looking like it's going to be another exciting year in our conference."
The offense is led by junior quarterback Colin Schuetz. Schuetz enters his junior year having played in eight games in the 2018 campaign where he passed for 1,970 yards and 10 touchdowns. Junior running back Bo Babich led the Pioneers with nine total touchdowns, including eight rushing, and junior wide receiver Donald Allender had a team-best four touchdown receptions.
Defensively, junior linebacker Eric Siedenburg had a team-best 76 tackles during the 2018 season, while senior defensive back Tyler Reinhardt was third with 66 tackles and recorded a team-high four interceptions.
On secondary, the 2019 season returns senior cornerback Luke Johnson who missed the majority of his junior year due to an ankle injury. Johnson recorded 35 tackles, 16 broken up passes, and three interceptions for a total of 45 yards and a touchdown during the 2017 season.
Key players on offense include junior lineman Hank Westemeyer and senior running back Wyatt Thompson. The Pioneers also return senior long snapper Drew Rakers and senior kicker Samuel Herkert.
The defense will look to follow a group of seniors that include linemen Alex Rezny and Jackson McMahan, linebacker Jordan Zilbar, and defensive back Antonio Jose-Ramos.
Emendorfer welcomed his 21st team for its first day of preseason camp today at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.
The Pioneers were picked to finish fourth in 2019 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) football preseason poll and UW-Platteville will open at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium on September 7 against East Texas Baptist.
The Pioneers' 2019 schedule is at http://letsgopioneers.com/sports/fball/2019-20/schedule
The full WIAC preseason poll release can be found at https://wiacsports.com/news/2019/8/13/uw-whitewater-picked-to-win-football-title.aspx