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Kimberly fans praise character of football coaches, players

KIMBERLY, Wis. - On Friday night, the Kimberly High School football team beat out Sun Prairie 27-7 in the Wisconsin state championship game, but fans say the most valuable aspect of the team isn't the way they play, but the values that they embody.

Local 5 visited a sports bar in Kimberly and caught up with fans while they were watching the game.

"I said, why are they so good? Why do they keep winning?," Alan Kowaleski of Tampa, Flordia, said. "And everybody in Kimberly right away corrects me with, 'Dedication, dedication, dedication, and good coaching.'  And of course, the kids produce. So I'm quite impressed."

This was Kimberly's fifth consecutive championship win. Those who know the team and coaching staff say it boils down the the work ethic and the character that the coaches build in the players.

"You know, they just work hard," Michele Stefl, a Kimberly High School paraprofessional aide, said. "They're so driven, they're upbeat about everything, very positive, they show it throughout the day, on the field and in the hallways."

Families of current and former Kimberly High School football players crowded around televisions in Tanner's Sports Grill and Bar to watch the game, which was held in Madison. 

"I have a saying, once a Kimberly football mom, always a Kimberly football mom," Nicky Kiel of Kimberly said. "So it's just awesome to get together, and we know how well they do and play."

Other fans were impressed with the turnout on a Friday afternoon.

"It's an exceptional environment, there's a lot of support for the local teams here, and I've never seen, and it's only in Wisconsin, where they will basically close down the bar for a high school team, and turn on every TV for a high school football team," Jonathan Stavast of Appleton said.

Sun Prairie had taken an early lead, leaving fans on edge.

"Hoping for the winning streak number 70 tonight, hopefully another state championship," Jessie Laurent of Waukesha told Local 5 during the game. 

Kimberly did bring home the trophy, and their 70th consecutive win, sealing the school's reputation as an athletic powerhouse in Wisconsin. 

"It's Kimberly we're great everybody hates us, but they hate the best," Mandy Petrisko, of Kimberly, said. "I'm sorry we're good, our boys put in so much work and they deserve this so it's awesome."

The team returned to the Kimberly Field House on Friday night, trophy in hand, and were welcomed home by bleachers full of proud students and parents.

Kimberly High School's principal, Mike Rietveld, told Local 5 that the school doesn't have a planned celebration on Monday, and noted that the players and coaches are very humble about their big wins. 

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