Brodhead/Juda’s Gunner Boegli scores on a 51-yard touchdown off a tipped pass during their second-round playoff game with Richland Center in Brodhead on Friday.


Every high school football team finds itself dealing with adversity at some point.

They just don’t expect it to crop up during the first week of a new season.

Yet that’s just the situation Milton and Janesville Parker have found themselves in early this season.

Both teams lost their starting quarterbacks in Week 1. Before the season even officially started, the Red Hawks’ Aiden Schoen went down with a compound leg fracture in Milton’s preseason scrimmage.

For an encore, Milton lost its backup quarterback in Week 2 at Lake Geneva Badger. Cayden Zajac suffered a broken collarbone on the opening series against the Badgers.

Both teams have had other players step up to fill the void. For the Vikings, that’s Gavyn Novak, who took over in Week 1 at Waukesha South when Preston Nelson went down with an ankle injury in the season opener against the Blackshirts.

And last week, it was sophomore Terrell Fischer—fresh up from the Red Hawks’ junior varsity—who was called into service for Milton on a moment’s notice.


Fischer was so new he wasn’t even listed on the varsity roster yet. But he stepped in and gave it his all, which is all anyone can ask.

Coaches preach this idea all the time: “Next man up,” they call it.

It simply means that if you’re a backup, you’re ready to step in when the team needs you and not miss a beat.

That has happened for both the Vikings and Red Hawks the first two weeks of the season. It’s a sign of well-coached teams.

Injuries, unfortunately, are a part of football. But good teams are ready to deal with them and move forward.

When this week’s action is in the books, the 2021 regular season will be one-third complete.

And with conference play kicking off this week, things are starting to get interesting.

Over the next few weeks, summer will grudgingly give way to fall, the leaves will begin to turn and it’ll start to feel like football weather, instead of the muggy conditions we’ve seen the first few weeks.

And as the weather turns colder and our teams push toward the playoffs, there will be more adversity—and more chances for new players to get their chances to shine.

David Vantress is sports editor of The Gazette. Contact him at 755-8248 or via email at dvantress@gazettextra.com. Follow him on Twitter at @journodave1966.


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