Posted by Sports Guy on June 14, 2011 at 11:17:01:
Football: Tough to mask Madison Mustangs' horsepower
by JIM POLZIN | Madison.com | Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2011 6:00 am
While in the company of his players, Madison Mustangs coach Adam Smith does all he can to deflect attention from the team’s run of 37 consecutive victories.
Yet Smith is realistic and understands there’s a certain value in spreading the word about the nation’s longest active winning streak in semipro football.
“It’s great as far as publicizing it and getting the Mustangs name out there,” he said.
Still, Smith likes to leave that part of the job to team owner Bob Gingras, who hopes promoting a streak that includes three consecutive Ironman Football League titles will help build a bigger fan base.
Gingras says he’s heard plenty of chatter from the players about the streak.
“Everyone,” Gingras said, “seems to be talking about it.”
Everyone, that is, except Smith, who isn’t looking any further than Saturday night's season-opener against the Wauwatosa Spartans at Breitenbach Stadium in Middleton. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“I’ve really downplayed the streak,” Smith said. “I don’t want to think about IFL championships. I just want them to worry about fundamentals and concentrate on winning the week. If we do that every single week, then the rest will take care of itself.
“... As far as a marketing tool, I think it’s good. It’s good to get people out and get people interested. So it’s great for the business side. But on the field side, I think any coach would tell you that it’s probably the last thing on their mind.”
Several core players are returning for another season with the Mustangs. That group includes area products such as quarterback David Pietrowiak (UW-Platteville), running back Kyle Brodd (Middleton), wide receiver Reggie Davis (Madison East), defensive end Dave Kraus (Madison Edgewood), linebacker Kenny Schillo (Verona, UW-Whitewater) and cornerback Will Davis (Oregon). Former University of Wisconsin athlete James Kamoku, a defensive end, also is back.
Key newcomers include wide receiver Hunter Burke, who played briefly at Iowa State, and cornerback LaRon Ragsdale.
The biggest rebuilding project will be on the offensive line, where former Madison Edgewood athlete Chris Canty is among the losses. Canty retired and will be part of the radio crew that will broadcast the team’s games on 92.1 FM.
“It’s really not the same team,” Smith said. “We have some of the same core guys, but we have a lot of new guys this year. I’m excited to see what they can do and see if they can keep on that path.”
Not only have the Mustangs put together an impressive winning streak in the past three seasons, they’ve rarely been challenged. Gingras explored joining a different league but believes the IFL stacks up with the best around the Midwest.
“It’s not that we’re in a non-competitive league,” Gingras said. “We have just become very, very good, we have become dominant, and I don’t think we get recognized for that.”
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