Milton Red Hawks football set for takeoff
MILTON—Bill O’Leary’s return to his alma mater produced mixed results.
Milton finished 3-7 last season but advanced to the WIAA playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Can the Red Hawks continue their climb back to respectability in 2014?
“It all comes down to the progress you make each and every day and getting the kids to understand what we want them to do,” O’Leary said.
“Making the playoffs last year was something those kids could hang their hat on because they had never done that.”
Milton opens the season Friday night at home against Baraboo in a Badger Conference crossover game.
O’Leary has some holes to fill in his lineup, but quarterback is not one of them. Tyler Westrick starts for the third year in a row and figures to be one of the top quarterbacks in the area.
“He’s like having a coach on the field,” O’Leary said. “One thing we want him to do a little bit more this year is run the ball. When he attacks and can get to the corner, he’s very elusive.”
O’Leary has a small one-two punch at running back with Howie Greene and Dakota Moxley, but he believes the duo will be punishing.
At 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, Colin Weberpal is a big and talented wideout who figures to be Westrick’s go-to guy.
Milton’s offensive line is big. All-Badger South selection Avery Ousterhout (6-3, 250), along with Kyle Kolloff (6-1, 240), Mason Maxwell (6-1, 215) and tight end Pat O’Leary (6-4, 230), should allow the Red Hawks to keep the chains moving on offense.
“Green and Moxley are not very big, but let me tell you, when they hit you, you know it,” O’Leary said. “So when they get behind our big linemen, they’re hard to find.
“If we can do a better job of passing the ball this year, we should be a very effective offense.”
Six starters return from a defense that in Week 7 last season held eventual Division 3 state-champion Monona Grove scoreless through three quarters.
Seniors Victor Martinelli and John McCarthy are back at linebacker, while Hunter Nelson (6-4, 260), Matt Silveus (6-3, 270), Clayton Adamson (6-2, 200) and Ousterhout start on the D-line.
Senior Brandon Calbert anchors the secondary.
“The defense has got a chance to be special,” O’Leary said. “Like the offense, we’ve
got good size up front and some very athletic linebackers.
“We’re going to be young in the secondary, but I’ve got confidence they’re going to play well.”
Five-time defending Badger South champion Monona Grove is favored to repeat, but O’Leary believes the Red Hawks can play with anybody, including the defending state champs.
“I’m very happy with the progress we’ve made already,” O’Leary said. “We played much better in our scrimmage this year than we did last year.
“These kids made the commitment to get into the weight room and do the necessary things to get better. I think they’ll be rewarded for their hard work on Friday nights.”