Tomah’s defense is ahead of its offense.

That’s what the Tomah coaching staff discovered — perhaps unsurprisingly — during a preseason high school football scrimmage between Tomah and Portage Friday at Tomah’s

E.J. McKean Field.

Timberwolves coach Brad Plueger was impressed by a defense that remained disciplined and physical against Portage’s option attack. Five starters and three key backups return from the 2017 squad.

“Defensively we were a pretty solid team,” Plueger said. “I thought the tackling was better than at this point last year, and we were pretty physical.”

The offense, which has just two starters coming back from last season, was a different story. Plueger said pad levels were too high and blockers had difficulty creating holes in the running game.

Plueger was more optimistic about the passing game.

“Passing-wise, we did decent,” he said. “We did OK with our quick passes.”

The scrimmage will prepare the Timberwolves for their opener Friday, Aug. 17 at Mauston. Tomah won last year’s contest 32-21, but the Golden Eagles figure to be a much improved football team in 2018. They got off to a 1-3 start last season but then ripped off four straight victories to qualify for the Division 4 playoffs. They scored 151 points in those four contests.

Even better for the Golden Eagles, their junior varsity team went undefeated.

Plueger expects to face an opponent with a talented offense led by an athletic and speedy backfield.

“It will be a challenge,” he said. “On pass plays we’ll need to keep the receivers in front of us and make sure their backs don’t get to the outside.”

Tomah, which posted a 3-6 mark last season, plays its varsity home opener Friday, Aug. 24 vs. Black River River Falls at 7 p.m.

The junior varsity, which also competed in the scrimmage, opens at home Monday, Aug. 20 against Mauston at 5:30 p.m. at E.J. McKean Field.

The freshmen begin their season with an Aug. 30 contest at Chippewa Falls.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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