Last week Coach Scott Statz and his Platteville football program began preparations for the upcoming high school football season.
Statz and his staff of assistant coaches and a handful of former Hillmen hosted the annual four-day Platteville Team Camp for athletes entering 9–12 grades last Monday through Thursday.
The four days of afternoon workouts were part of a 2004 WIAA rule that allows coaches five supervised “contact days” with their players during the summer months.
The players will have a 10-day break before reporting to fall camp on Monday for team meetings and equipment handout. Two-a-day practices will begin statewide on Tuesday.
After two weeks of practice, Platteville will travel to River Valley on Aug. 16 for its annual scrimmage.
The Hillmen will open the regular season a week later at home with a non-conference game against Darlington on Aug. 23.
This rest of this year’s schedule will seem a bit strange to Hillmen fans. Because of the proposed conference realignment, that was ultimately shot down by the WIAA in April, Platteville and all teams in the SWC were left with three empty dates to schedule.
Moving forward the WIAA has proposed an arrangement that will require non-conference scheduling for football between schools of the SWC and Coulee Conference.
But for this year, all teams in the SWC must play three league opponents twice each. All games with SWC opponents will count toward the conference standings making for an eight-game conference schedule in a six-team conference.
All games with SWC opponents will count toward the conference standings making for an eight-game conference schedule in a six-team conference.
Platteville will host Dodgeville (Aug. 30) and go to Lancaster (Sept. 6) and River Valley (Sept. 13) in succession after the non-conference game with Darlington then again in the final three games of the season (at Dodgeville Oct. 4, vs. Lancaster Oct. 11, vs. River Valley Oct. 18). In between those home-and-home conference games Platteville will host Richland Center on Sept. 20 and travel to Prairie du Chien on Sept. 27.
Expectations will be high for the Hillmen this fall despite the loss of all-state linebacker and WFCA All-Star Mitch Fure and honorable mention all-conference quarterback Josh Bernhardt.
Platteville returns eight All-SWC selections from a team that went 7–3 last season including seniors B.J. Cooley (1st-team RB), Briar Shilliam (1st-team OL), Derek Schambow (1st-team DB/2nd-team WR), Adam Brogley (2nd-team OL), Mitch Niehaus (2nd-team DL), James Bailie (2nd-team K) and Logan Butson (honorable mention LB) and junior Ryan Weber (2nd-team TE).
Cooley will surely be the focal point of the Hillmen offense. As a junior he rushed for a team-high 1,526 yards and 18 touchdowns on 226 carries.
Schambow and Weber will provide excellent receiving options for whoever is named QB1 for Platteville.
Schambow hauled in 40 catches for 781 yards and 11 TDs in 2012. Weber made eight catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore, but figures to play a much larger role this season.
Schambow also led the team with seven interceptions and will again be a leader on the defensive side of the ball and in the return game.
Bailie connected on 42 of 45 extra point attempts (93.3 percent) and 3 of 5 field goals.