New leader for Freedom, but Irish looking for same results

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Frank Mattia is the new football coach at Freedom.

FREEDOM (WLUK) -- Frank Mattia is right where he wants to be.

After Clint Kriewaldt stepped down as Freedom's football coach after last season it became apparent to Mattia it was as good a time as any to try to become a head coach.

The offensive line coach under Kriewaldt, Freedom gave Mattia, 55, his chance to lead a team and he couldn't be more excited.

"I'm not going to pretend I'm not looking forward to it a lot, because I am," Mattia said. "But the truth is, and maybe it's the old offensive line coach in me, I still feel like part of the team, just a different part of the team. I can't wait for this opportunity and I am excited about it."

Freedom won 47 games and reached Level 3 of the playoffs in each of the five seasons under Kriewaldt, who will be a linebackers coach for Mattia. And as you would expect, the players have no problem with the coaching change.

"We like Mattia as an offensive linemen coach, so we knew we would like him as a head coach," senior lineman Gerrit Schomaker said. "Still a similar system. Practices still run the same, so I would say the coaching change has not had much of an impact. It's still football."

Mattia's insertion into the top spot means there is little transition for the players. Not only is Kriewaldt back, so if offensive coordinator Chris Greisen and former Green Bay Blizzard player B.J. Hill is leading the defense. That gives Mattia three former professional players on his staff, something that makes him smile when he says it.

Kriewaldt lifted the program in his five seasons and Mattia expects the same type of success with him in the lead.

"I think that's the kind of pressure you should embrace, and yes, we do expect to do well," Mattia said. "We have some kids who are on the field and they need to emerge as leaders in a different kind of way as more playmaker types, put it on me kind-of-types."


Aug. 18 Little Chute

Aug. 25 Clintovnille

Sept. 1 at Fox Valley Lutheran

Sept. 8 Oconto Falls

Sept. 15 at Waupaca

Sept. 22 Luxemburg-Casco

Sept. 29 Wrightstown

Oct. 6 at Marinette

Oct. 13 at Denmark

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay