GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- It's a three-team race to win the Fox River Classic Conference title and on of those teams in the race is Green Bay Preble.
Despite suffering their first loss of the season last week at Notre Dame, first-year coach Dustin Gresen has Preble right where he wants it. With two more wins, including Friday at Pulaski, the Hornets at worst will share the Fox River Classic Conference title.
"The guys have definitely surprised me on their abilities on this team, but with expectations we set in place this is where we want to be moving forward," Gresen said. "In the future this is where we want to be year after year after year. So to be able to competing and if we beat Pulaski and then go onto Bay Port and play for the conference championship, that's what we want to be in, that's where we want to be every year."
The last time Preble (6-1) seriously contended for a conference title was 2012 when it placed second in the FRCC. Preble and Pulaski, which play each other Friday, are one game behind Bay Port (7-0).
Preble has to rebound from last week's loss at Notre Dame for another tough road test and the players know they can't afford another loss.
"We're just going to practice harder, we're going to forget that game and look past it, just move onto next week," senior wide receiver Anthony Veriha said. "Hopefully we can get a 'W' this week and keep it going."
"We have to work harder this week," senior lineman Bryan Boockmeier said. "We have to come into this game with a chip on our shoulder and we really haven't had it this year so it's going to be nice. Kind of practice a little harder than we have been the whole year."
Gresen said losing last week was tough, but at last it didn't end the season.
"Having a loss I say now in season is better than losing in the playoffs because you're done," he said. "If we can react and get on a roll into the playoffs, that is exactly what we want."
What Preble wants Friday is a win at Pulaski in a game which serves basically as an elimination game for the FRCC title with Bay Port still undefeated (Bay Port plays at De Pere on Friday).
"To stay alive in the (conference) race we most likely have to win this week," Boockemier said. "So going into Bay Port 7-1 would be a big deal."
Beat Pulaski and Preble gets its shot at a conference title.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay