Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 8/23/2013 10:40 AM

Don't be alarmed if Wauconda turns back the clock

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  • Among the returners for Wauconda is Elliott Hill, right, in last year's contest against Lakes as T. J. Edwards tries to fend him off.

      Among the returners for Wauconda is Elliott Hill, right, in last year's contest against Lakes as T. J. Edwards tries to fend him off.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer


Born in the mid- to late 1990s, most football players at Wauconda missed the "Back to the Future" trilogy of the mid- to late 1980s.

"I'm sure some of them have seen those movies on late-night cable, though," Wauconda coach Dave Mills said.

For those who haven't (spoiler alert), the theme involves time travel, which happens to be exactly what the Bulldogs want to do this season.

They want it to be just like 1992 this fall. That was the last time Wauconda went to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. After last year's berth in the playoffs, the Bulldogs are looking for a repeat performance.

"Our motto this year is 'Back to the Future,'" Mills said. "This team is trying to become only the second team in school history, after the '91 and '92 teams, to go to the playoffs in back-to-back years.

"That line has fueled off-season workouts, camps and practices."

Last season, the Bulldogs went 5-5 and lost in the first round of the playoffs to Marian Central.

"The kids put together a nice run to get into the playoffs and had a great experience and they're hungry for that again," Mills said. "It's been a motivation for them all through the summer.

"They want to get back to the playoffs and get something going here at Wauconda. They want to make it so that getting to the playoffs is a normal thing, not an occasional thing."

The Bulldogs are hoping that speed and strength will get them to the Promised Land this year. Mills said he has been impressed by how much stronger his team is this year.

"This team also might be the fastest team we've had at Wauconda in a very long time," Mills said. "We're going to use that."

Connor Mitchell and Nate Magiera quicken up the defense while wide receivers Alex Schwichrath, Joey Pausa and Josh Anderson will be speedy targets for sophomore quarterback Kevin Malisheski.

"Yeah, he's a sophomore, but he's looking really good," Mills said of the 6-foot-3 Malisheski. "He's got a tremendous arm and he can throw in some pretty tight windows. He falls right in line with some of the really good quarterbacks we've had at Wauconda over the years."

Malisheski, veteran running back Alex Payne and junior running back Ray Sadowski will operate behind a line that includes 6-foot-5, 265-pounder Mike Bianchi and 6-foot, 255-pounder Max Mattalino. Sophomore newcomer Logan Bulich (6-foot-6, 265 pounds) also gives some size to the line.

Defensively, the Bulldogs should be in good shape with the return of nine players who started at least 3 games apiece. Pausa, who also starts at safety, will be the vocal leader of the defense.

Linebackers Mike Prate, Ross Thee, Kasper Kulesza and Elliot Hill all return as well.

"For all the inexperience we have on offense, we're hoping that the experience of the defense can really carry us," Mills said. "But even our young guys, they expect success now and we have some pretty specific goals this year."

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