The St. Norbert Green Knights won just their second Division III playoff game in program history last season. Now they’re looking to build on that success in 2019.
SNC returns some big time play makers on offense. Wide receiver Sam Staehling is a deep threat that could be considered one of the better wide outs in the country. Last season Staehling attracted more attention from the opponents secondary and was held to just six touchdowns, as opposed to 16 scores the year before.
“It feels great. It’s been a long summer off. We’ve been preparing all offseason really. It’s just exciting to be back out here for one last season. Once we get into it and we’re like ‘oh last first game of the season,’ and it just keeps going. Like last conference championship. It’s going to hit soon,” said Sam Staehling.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame grad Nate Ihlenfeldt is back for his second season with the Green Knights after transferring from Washington a year. Ihlenfeldt rushed for 362 yards in ten games a year ago, and like many of members of the Green Knights has big goals for 2019.
“Obviously we graduated a lot of people last year, but with the people we’re bringing in I believe we can be just as good, if not better than we were last year. Obviously our goals are national championship, conference title. Obviously you have to win every game up to that. So, take it one game at a time. Get through the regular season, get to the conference championship, and make our run at the title,” said Nate Ihlenfeldt.
One of the key pieces to replace this year for the Green Knights is the only player to rush for more yards than Ihlenfeldt last season, quarterback Drew Rhodes. The senior, Rhodes, accounted for over 1,500 yards of total offense and 18 touchdowns last year.
There’s now as many as six quarterbacks vying for the chance to throw to Staehling and company in the season opener.
The Green Knights have reason to be excited heading into the season, and the expectations are high in De Pere. They’re ranked 25th in D3football.com’s preseason poll, and very well could be the favorites to one again bring home the Midwest Conference title.
St. Norbert will open the season on the road at Aurora University on September 7th. Their home opener is set for a week later (September 14th) against UW-Eau Claire at Schneider Stadium.