Here is just some of the personnel Greendale lost after winning its third consecutive Woodland Conference championship in 2007:
Quarterback Mike Hennessy, an all-state selection and CNI's player of the year;
Kyle Mabry, an all-state defensive back and wide receiver who was an all-CNI all-purpose pick;
Vince Sciano, an all-CNI offensive tackle and defensive end;
Dan Prindiville, who scored a team-high 14 touchdowns.
What the Panthers have not lost, if you listen to coach Rob Stoltz, is their confidence. On the win gauge (See Page ), Stoltz points the arrow at "possible state champs."
"This is the second time in eight years I've said that," Stoltz said. "The other time we were state runners-up (in 2006, the Panthers lost in the title game to Waupaca, 7-3). I don't play the jinx-myself game.
"That's where we're at Greendale. We've been blessed to have some hard workers, and a lot of success the last few years. No. 1, we're planning on winning conference. That's our goal, No. 1. And No. 2, we want to win state. Period."
Back are four offensive linemen, including senior all-Woodland pick Lucas Pohlmann, who also plays in the defensive line. The are some slots to fill at linebacker, but both cornerbacks Mike Picciolo (senior) and Cordney Wren (junior) are back.
Senior Jordan Biller leads the running backs, and will be accompanied by fellows such as Kyle Nethery (a senior who also plays wide receiver), Luke Drumel (sophomore) and Ryan Korsmo (junior).
At the offensive controls will be junior quarterback Chris Ridgway. He completed eight of 13 passes for 139 yards and three TDs and ran for 137 yards (4.9 per carry) and three more TDs.
"Ridgway is cut more from the Kyle Johnsen mode, where he was a true dual threat," Stoltz said. "He's a tough runner between the tackles and he's the No. 1 pitcher on the baseball team, so he has a decent arm as well."
One of Ridgway's favorite targets will be Ben Ericksen, who ran a 4.49 -second 40-yard dash at the Wisconsin Badgers camp this summer.
"He really is dynamic and electric on the field," Stoltz said.
The Panthers, after visiting Milwaukee Lutheran and New Berlin West to start the season, will play on their new ProGrass Synthetic turf against Greenfield on Friday, Sept. 12.
To get a feel for the turf, the Panthers started camp at Carroll College, which has the same playing surface.
"I think it benefits teams that have a little bit more speed," Stoltz said. "We're fairly quick for our conference. The biggest advantage of the new surface will come during inclement weather.
"More than anything, it's no secret that we play in the shotgun, and we don't like to go under center under any circumstances. At least for home games, when it rains now, we don't have to worry about mud so much. Wet balls are one thing; mud is the thing that really throws a monkey wrench into it."
Jerry Karpowicz can be reached at (262) 446-6628.
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