Papermakers not worried about seeking revenge

Kimberly plays Fond du Lac in a Level 4 playoff game Friday. (Doug Ritchay/WLUK)

KIMBERLY (WLUK) -- All that stands between Kimberly and a sixth straight trip to a state championship game is Fond du Lac.

The teams meet Friday in a Level 4 playoff game at Titan Stadium and since the last time these teams met -- a Week 1 31-28 Fond du Lac win which ended the Papermakers' winning streak at 70 games -- Kimberly feels it's much better.

And maybe the last two playoff games are proof. In Level 2, Kimberly edged Neenah 7-3, showing it can win a defensive struggle, while in Level 3 the Papermakers won at Bay Port 38-20, as the passing game behind Cody Staerkel took off (332 yards and two TD passes).

"We can win games in different ways," coach Steve Jones said. "Neenah game we had to rely heavily on our defense. Bay Port, we were relying on our pass game quite a bit, so I think great teams find ways to win and hopefully we can have that confidence going into Friday that we can win in different ways."

Both teams admit they are not surprised to see the other in the playoffs as this will be the fourth playoff meeting in five seasons, but the Papermakers are not using Week 1's loss as motivation. Winning and qualifying for the state title is enough motivation.

"To be honest, we don't talk about that revenge stuff," Jones said. "It's about can we play our best football now? I think you can get all whacked out on some of that other stuff and you don't play your best.

"We just got to focus on what we've been focused on the last 14 weeks and that's can we get better?"

Kimberly enters Friday having won 28 straight postseason games and it's possible all these extra practice weeks in the postseason is one reason why Kimberly has been so successful. That's a lot of extra practices for starters and starters-to-be.

"I'm extremely grateful for those extra wins because we get a lot of practice time," senior linebacker Tristan Argall said. "Those are 28 wins and that's 28 extra weeks of practice and that's helped to develop us all.

"Right now, we want to focus on keep on winning, so we can practice more, be more together and help the underclassmen out, too, as well as ourselves."

Move the postseason streak to 29 and another practice week it is.

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay