The WFCA All-Star Game showcases some of Wisconsin’s most talented football players. They also showcase some of the best coaches in the country. One coach who is familiar with the game is Matt Schoeneman.
The Mercer/Butternut eight-man football coach was selected to be the head coach for the North Division’s eight-man team for their game against the South Division’s eight-man team coming up in Oshkosh this July.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Schoeneman explained. “This is going to be my third year of coaching at the All-Star Game.”
This is Schoeneman’s third year coaching in the game, but first as a head coach. He coached offensive line his first year and then coordinated the offense in last year’s game.
The game, which will be played at Titan Stadium on the campus of UW-Oshkosh, will feature the top outgoing seniors from man football.
“It’s like you’re recruiting college players but for a high school All-Star Game,” Schoeneman said. “You’re trying to get the best of the best to fit your system to win the game.”
Other coaches for the North eight-man include Siren’s Ryan Karsten, Dan Gilbertson of Clayton, Grant Russ of Wausaukee and Scott Wirth of Phillips.
As the head coach, Schoeneman will be the game manager. He will call the timeouts, decide when to go for it on fourth down, etc. He and the rest of the coaches will decide who will coach what positions.
“I have a staff that’ll be responsible for calling the offense and the defense. My role is the game management,” he said. “(I have the) final say if it’s a questionable call. The assistants are responsible for calling the offense, setting up the defense etc. My role coaching-wise is supervisional.”
One of the things Schoeneman has found invaluable are the relationships he has formed through this game. It has helped him become a better coach at Mercer/Butternut as he continues to build the program.
“I cannot put a dollar amount if I pay for the knowledge I’ve gotten in the last two and a half years in the state of Wisconsin from this game and the relationships I’ve created and continued to grow from my involvement in the game,” he said.
Those types of relationships has brought Mercer/Butternut from the bottom as Schoeneman learns the craft of the game better.
“And that’s the biggest benefit for Mercer/Butternut football. It’s made us a better program,” he said. “When I was first involved in this we were an 0-9 team. I came back a better coach and it helped us out my first year back.”
Not only does it help Schoeneman as a coach, but it’s an opportunity to represent the Mercer/Butternut communities.
“It’s a tremendous honor because it puts Mercer/Butternut football on the map again,” he said.
Eight-man football has a shorter field, scoring lots of points, making for exciting football, especially in the morning.
“It’s always a fun game. Eight-man is high scoring — lots of getting the ball around,” Schoeneman said. “We play first in the day at 10 a.m. and that game is always an exciting one.”
A lot of preparation will help Schoeneman get ready for the role. A lot of his job will come before the game as he prepares for the ins and outs of being the head coach.
“You do a lot of the work before you get there,” he said. “A lot of work on the rosters, contacts with the players and communicating with other head coaches within the North team to get her best roster available.”
One of Schoeneman’s favorite parts of the game is the money that goes for the Children’s Hospital. All the players and coaches raise money for Children’s Hospital as part of receiving the honor of participating in the All-Star Game.
“Ultimately besides the coaching and relationships, it’s the fundraising that goes for children’s hospital in Wisconsin,” he said. “It’s one of the most things I’m proud of.”
Now as the head coach, Schoeneman will certainly relish the role as he tries to lead the North eight-man football team to victory.
“Being the head coach is elite company in the state of Wisconsin,” he said. “It’s a tremendous honor and privilege.”
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]