Football practice for his Evansville High School football team kept Ron Grovesteen from attending the recent get-together of former Milton College alumni.

“I’ll get there next time,” the ex-standout Wildcat quarterback said last week.

“When they re-open Milton College,” he added, chuckling.

Grovesteen knows that is not going to happen. He also is convinced that what happened to his Evansville High football team last season is not going to repeat itself.

The Blue Devils went 0-9 last year.

“We don’t talk about that,” he said. “We were (there) every game, except for McFarland.”

The 48-0 loss to the undefeated conference champion Wildcats was the only blowout defeat Evansville suffered last season. The Blue Devils suffered a pair of one-point losses, two six-point defeats and an eight-point loss.

“Our kids played all the way through and never gave up,” Grovesteen said. “And we’ve got a nice group coming back.”

That includes last season’s passing leader Tyr Severson, leading receiver Sulley Geske, top rusher Matt Forster, and the top eight tacklers on defense, led by Jaden O’Bel.

Grovesteen points to his 17 returning seniors as his team’s building block.

“A lot of those guys were injured last year,” Grovesteen said. “We had to play some sophomores, but that’s no excuse.”

Severson was one of those sophomores, but he definitely was not a liability. He threw for 1,607 yards and 18 touchdowns. He added 207 yards rushing.

Geske begins his senior year as one of the top athletes in the area. He caught 49 passes for 906 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

Forster returns after rushing for 453 yards (5.2 yards per carry) and four TDs as a junior. Senior Carson Hill, who was limited to four games last season, will be a major factor in the run game. Matt Kostroun, a junior, rushed for 202 yards last season is also a part of what is a strong and deep backfield.

The Blue Devils appear solid defensively.

“We don’t have a lot of size, but we have good quickness,” Grovesteen said. “We’re going to be fast to the ball.”

O’Bel, a senior linebacker, was in on 80 tackles last season and forced three fumbles.

Senior defensive end Ryan Borchardt made 59 tackles and had two interceptions.

Seniors Seth Maag (five tackles for losses), Carson Hill (7 TFLs), Sam Hrdlicka (47 tackles), Patrick Crull (45 tackles) and Nick Wille (44 tackles, 2 interceptions) also return defensively.

What Groveteen and staff are working on the most are the lines. The lines were the hardest hit by injuries last season.

Senior Clint Bergsma, sophomore Steve Kopecky, senior Luke Trustem, and juniors Tyler Zastoupil and Waylon Klitzman are the top offensive linemen.

Hrdlicka and Maag are at defensive end, with seniors Devon Clark and Adam Adkins and Austin McCoy among the defensive tackles.

The coaching staff is trying to limit the amount of two-way linemen, especially after what injuries did last year.

“Linemen are difficult to replace,” Grovesteen said.

The combination should produce a more typical season in Evansville than last year.

“We had a good summer,” Grovesteen said. “You learn from the past and move on.”

Evansville 2019 roster

No. Name Yr. Pos.

1 Gavin Mielke Sr. WR/DB

2 Carter Ciula Fr. WR/DB

3 Colter Thom Fr. WR/DB

4 Adam Adkins Sr. OL/DL

5 Isrrael Murillo Fr. WR/DB

6 Nicholad Hanold Fr. WR/DB

7 Zack Shank Sr. WR/DB

8 Sulley Geske Sr. WR/DB

9 Jaden O’Bel Sr. TE/LB

10 Chase Maves So. QB/DB

11 Zeke Tishler So. TE/DL

12 Carson Hill Sr. RB/DB

13 Alec Moelleberndt Jr. TE/DL

14 Tyr Severson Jr. QB

15 Seth Maag Sr. TE/DL

16 Travis Zasoupil Fr. RB/DB

17 Cam Moss Fr. RB/DB

18 Trevor Bahrs So. WR/DB

19 Josh Papadakis Jr. RB/LB

20 Crie Edwards Jr. RB/DL

21 Jax Sendelbach Jr. TE/DB

22 Matt Kostroun Jr. RB/DB

23 Alex Johnson So. RB/DB

24 Ryan Borchardt Sr. WR/DB

25 Samuel Hrdlicka Sr. RB/DL

26 Mason Young Jr. RB/LB

27 Lee Jorgenson Fr. QB/DB

28 Camden Staver So. RB/DB

29 Luke Rhunde Fr. RB/LB

30 Charle Braunschweig Fr. RB/LB

31 Austin Scofield Jr. RB/LB

32 Gunner Katzenmayer So. RB/DB

33 Nick Wille Sr. WR/DB

34 Caleb Maguigad Fr. RB/DB

35 TeeJayy Hanson-Howell Fr. RB/LB

37 Kane Howlett So. RB/LB

39 Ricky Braunschweig So. RB/LB

45 Devon Clark Sr. OL/DL

50 Patrick Crull Sr. OL/LB

51 Tucker Petterson Fr. OL/DL

52 Luke Trustem Sr. OL/DL

53 Dylan Eagen So. OL/DL

54 Stepen Kopecky So. OL/DL

55 Max Kurth Fr. OL/DL

56 Tyler Zastoupil Jr. OL/DL

58 Austin McCoy Sr. OL/DL

59 Eli Wolter So. OL/DL

60 Colin Roberts Jr. OL/DL

62 Ian Hatlevig Fr. OL/DL

63 Baylin Crull So. OL/DL

64 Sam Haak Fr. OL/DL

65 Brayden Engelkins Fr. OL/DL

67 Clint Bergsma Sr. OL/DL

68 Owin Korfmacher So. OL/DL

69 Jackson Hunt Fr. OL/DL

72 Tyler McGaw Fr. OL/DL

73 Liem Speich So. OL/DL

75 Waylon Klitzman Jr. OL/DL

76 Cutter Lange So. OL/DL

77 Weston Leeder Fr. OL/DL

80 Graydon Geske Fr. WR/DB

81 Carter Sherry Fr. WR/DB

84 Haydon Kraus Fr. WR/DB

86 Reily Buehl Fr. WR/DB

87 Aiden Maves Fr. WR/DB

88 Ryan Thompson Jr. TE/DL