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FOOTBALL PREVIEW - What's wrong with the Evergreens?

by Chris Conley

EVERYTHING EVERGREENS (FOX SPORTS WAUSAU-WSAU) Football practice starts today. Ever since I moved to Central Wisconsin I've heard about the storied history of the D.C. Everest football program. The state championships and conference championships are testaments to great teams and great players and are a source of community pride.

The Evergreens have not been as successful in recent years. Last year's team was 5-5 and didn't beat a single opponent with a winning record. A year earlier, Everest was 4-5. They've been above .500 only once in the last five seasons. Fans expect better.

So whats happened? Are today's players not as good? Is it the coaching? Is it something else?

I offer this explanation: the competition has gotten tougher. The biggest change impacting the D.C. Everest program has been the dissolution of the Wisconsin Valley Conference and the creation of the Valley Football Association. That change took smaller, easier schools off Everest's schedule and replaced them with larger, tougher schools from the Fox Valley.

The stats bear this out. Merrill, Rhinelander, and Antigo are no longer annual opponents. In the final five years of the old Wisconsin Valley Conference, the Evergreens were a combined 19-1 against those teams. They've been replaced by much more difficult opponents. In the first three years of the new Valley Football Association, Everest has a record of 8-7 against Fox Valley competition. Kimberly and Appleton-North -- two elite programs -- are now annual opponents. Non-conference games now come from the other division of the Valley Football Association, where other good teams like Marshfield and SPASH reside.

When someone asks Whats wrong with Everest? the correct answer is nothing . They play a much tougher schedule now. The biggest challenge for the football program rising to the challenge of playing better teams. Football is like life. You have to be better today than you were yesterday. Success goes to those who step up their game.

Chris Conley