Varsity football falls to Venice in Kickoff Classic

Kate Caranante, Sports Editor

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Raising his helmet after the game, senior quarterback Tucker Gleason sings the Alma Mater.  The varsity football team was defeated 49-30 against Venice in the Kickoff Classic.

With the student section full of painted seniors and the band playing ‘On Wisconsin,’ the varsity football team took the field in Dad’s Stadium Friday, August 16 for the Kickoff Classic against Venice High School.  

“I think it was a wakeup call for the whole team, that just because we’re Plant, we’re not going to win games,” senior linebacker Jackson Hacker said. “There’s a couple core values of Plant every year that we didn’t follow through with and we’re taking this next week of practice really seriously and coach isn’t letting anything slide.” 

Venice scored first and then never let go of their lead, as they defeated the Panthers 49-30 in the preseason game.   

“We learned that how we prepare at the beginning of the season is critical,” defensive coordinator Greg Meyer said. “We did a couple of things differently trying to control the level of contact, keeping player safety as a priority, but I think we have to learn from this experience that we need a healthier balance. I think it’s incredibly important to take every measure we can to keep your kids safe, but you can’t replace the intensity required to beat a team like Venice.” 

Following the game, the team now has a better sense of the tempo of the game and where all the players fit in—something that cannot always be assessed when you are put up against your own teammates.  

“There’s certain things that you learn in a game that you won’t learn anywhere else,” Weiner said. “The opportunity to learning about our personnel and who fits where, where our real deficiencies are and where our strengths are is the opportunity in a preseason game.” 

The team has been in this situation before, however, three out of four times they have won a state championship, they have lost the Kickoff Classic by 14 points or more.  

We did learn exactly where some of those things are that we have to improve upon,” Weiner said. “Some of them are football technique things that are easily correctable and some of them are bigger philosophical pictures that are kind of major over halls and we’ve attempted to get started changing those in practice.” 

As they look towards the first game of the regular season Friday, August 23 at Armwood High School, the team continues to tweak their game plan for what they think will work best against a team with different strengths than Venice had.  

“Venice was a state champion two years ago and a really tough opponent,” Weiner said. “Armwood will be a reallyreally tough opponent as well, this is probably as talented as they’ve ever been so we are always going to stay within our system of what we do and then try to find the best things that will work against that team.”