Prairie View Elementary fifth-grade teacher Ev Wick starts his 17th season as De Soto’s head football coach in 2019.
Wick has had a good run: his Pirates have made the WIAA playoffs 33 times, with a current streak of 22 in a row and Wick’s teams have a record of 122-50. He’ll be the first to tell you that Pirate Football isn’t about him, though. Wick’s Pirates and their communities have fought through plenty of adversity on the field and off during his time, most recently and perhaps most considerable has been rain and flooding — lots of it, pounding homes and roads and carrying away the school’s football field. The school and community and area schools got behind Wick’s “road warriors” for several seasons coming up with places to play and practice and lots of time and money. The community put the pieces back after major repairs and in 2018 got the Pirates back on the grass of JC Gillespie Memorial Field, affectionately nicknamed The Pit.
As always, Wick’s Pirates will look to players to step up after the graduation of last year’s senior leaders: team Defensive MVP and Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Academic—All-State Jake Sikora, offensive lineman-of-the-year Zach Hermeier, Gillespie Award winner, running back/dback Brock Venner and tight end/dback Riggin Beck.
The Pirates’ battle is one of numbers — the score of course, but they only have 25 players out this fall. Wick says the secret for success for his team is staying healthy. “If we stay healthy, we can win some games.”
Wick says that senior running back and linebacker Trevor Rehban, senior quarterback Kaden Pedretti, senior Kyler Kuhnke, senior Caleb Logslett, junior Cezar Garcia, and sophomore Josh Boardman will form the core of his varsity squad.
Trevor Rebhahn, the Pirates Offensive MVP in 2018, and “hardest hitter” rushed for more than 100 yards four times last season and wound up with 774 yards and six touchdowns.
Speedster Kyler Kuhnke had 300 yards receiving in 2018 and made plays on defense including an interception in a game one victory, making him an integral part of the Pirates’ offense and defense.
Cezar Garcia was an important force on both sides of the ball in 2018 — in game one last season, the Pirate intercepted three passes. Garcia returned his for a touchdown in the 24-point first quarter.
“Quarterback Kaden Pedretti’s passing accuracy and running ability improved a great deal in 2018,” says Wick. Pedretti passed for 924 yards and rushed for 279. It should only get better in 2019. Wick added, “He — Pedretti — was able to get yards when we needed them and he’ll have to run the ball a fair amount this year too.”
Caleb Logslett and Josh Boardman were stalwarts on the line in 2018.
Wick speculates that top teams in our area and division include Ithaca, Highland, Potosi-Cassville, Black Hawk and Bangor.
“Steuben-Wauzeka-Seneca will be the top conference contender until someone beats them,” Wick says. The Pirates haven’t won the Ridge and Valley Conference since tying North Crawford at 5-1 in 2013.
Wick says that, “depth will be an issue us, especially at the skill positions. Guys are learning multiple positions.” The Pirates strengths include “team unity and attitude,” Wick says.
Assistant coaches are Nick Mooney, Dan Trussoni, Lucas Gilman, Leroy Emerson and Adam Emerson.