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Papermakers are starting fresh, but have not forgotten

KIMBERLY PREVIEW.jpg
Kimberly enters this season coming off a loss in last year's Division 1 state title game. (WLUK)

KIMBERLY (WLUK) -- For the first time in a long time Kimberly is opening the season coming off a loss

The Papermakers had their run of five straight state championships snapped by Muskego in the Division 1 state title game last season, 24-21.

The Papermakers are starting fresh this season, but haven't forgotten their last game.

"The offseason was great, we're still thinking about that loss," senior wide receiver Conner Wnek said. "We're coming back with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder, especially in the offseason; just working our tails off and doing good things."

"Just keeping that chip on our shoulder, coming in every day to work; blood, sweat and tears,' junior defensive back Griffin Wiegel said. "Every day we just come in here, run our sprints, get our work, get out. It's all about the little things outside of the field. It's like going home, eating the right foods, hydrating, all kinds of stuff.

"We're just focused on the little things, doing that."

Helping those players focus on the little things is coach Steve Jones. He said for a coach this time of the year, before the first game is played, in one of the best times.

"I think it's the fun part of being a coach of trying to put the pieces together and trying to develop as many kids as you can," he said. "You have that anticipation, that excitement, the nerves. All those things that come into it.

"That's the fun part I think of being a coach is not knowing what the end is going to be."

Last year's end was not fun for the Papermakers. For the first time in Jones' tenure as coach a snap sailed over the punter's head and it was costly. It was in the fourth quarter and Muskego turned that into a 27-yard TD run on the ensuing play and that turned out to be the winning points.

Beyond that Jones said there were little things that mattered in the state title game so Kimberly has a new motto this season. It used to be "pressure's a privilege."

"Everything matters," Jones said. "That's kind of our theme this year. We're focusing on everything matters, the small details matter and in the end they catch up to you if you don't focus on those small things."

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KIMBERLY SCHEDULE

Aug 23: at Oshkosh West

Aug 30: Wisconsin Rapids

Sep 6: Fond du Lac

Sep 13: at Stevens Point

Sep 20: at Appleton East

Sep 27: Appleton West

Oct 4: at Neenah

Oct 11: at Kaukauna

Oct 18: Appleton North

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay

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