Luther Prep's football team rides a five-game win streak into its season finale, a WIAA Division 4 Level 2 bout with New Holstein at LPS on Friday at 7 p.m.
The top-seeded Phoenix (5-2) defeated fourth-seeded Wautoma 42-0 last week while the third-seeded Huskies (5-3) upended second-seeded and previously unbeaten Marshall 20-8 to secure their spot in the regional championship game.
New Holstein finished fourth in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference, averaging 33.4 points a game, and has won four consecutive.
"They are big, like to run the ball and run it well," Luther Prep football coach Justin Gregorius said. "Running back Michael Volz is the leading rusher. He’ll get it a majority of the time. Quarterback Henry Schnell will run it too. They have a big pounding fullback in Cody Abler who is 230 pounds."
Volz, a senior listed at 6-foot-1, 183 pounds, has 1,111 rushing yards on 121 attempts, good for 9.2 yards a touch, and 12 touchdowns. Schnell has 441 yards on 55 totes with seven touchdowns while Abler, who is a 6-1 junior, has rushed it 71 times for 379 yards.
"It’s a double wing. They will try to get Volz the ball with Abler leading as the fullback," Gregorius said. "They will pull a guard and a tackle. They will pull two guards to get bodies out in front and go."
Volz is 12th statewide in total rushing yardage.
Schnell, a junior listed at 6-2, 174 pounds, has attempted only 15 passes. Cameron Olson, who did not play in last week's game, has thrown it 40 times, competing 18 for 349 yards and four scores.
"We have to stop the run game," Gregorius said. "If we make them throw and get them behind the chains a little bit that will be a key for us."
The Huskies utilize a 42 or 43 defensively.
"It's an even-man front depending on the game," Gregorius said. "They are big up front and have nice athletic linebackers and cornerbacks."
Luther Prep is averaging 44.3 points per game in its last three outings. The defense has surrendered two touchdowns in the last five games, shutting out the team's last three foes.
"Offensively we want to take care of the ball and try to get that running game going to set up the passing game," Gregorius said. "If we need the passing game to set up the running game, we’ll do that do. We can use both or either to set the other up."
For Luther Prep's senior class, a unit that includes 21 players, the season culminates Friday. That group has a chance to close this chapter of their Phoenix careers with a six-game win streak and a regional championship, also playing on campus one last time in front of the LPS faithful.
"We told the guys on Sunday night that there are lots of great things that have happened over the course of this season," Gregorius said.
"But you are going to remember the last game. Being able to win the last game would be cool for these guys. It’s going to take some work and we are going to have to play well."