Despite around half of the 20-plus players on last year’s roster having graduated, Gibraltar’s eight-player football team has a goal to win the Peninsula Conference championship for the second year in a row.
The Vikings went undefeated in conference play at 7-0, and in the regular season at 8-0. They were plagued by injuries as the 2022 campaign progressed and lost the opening playoff game at home against Peninsula foe Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas to finish 8-1 overall.
Gibraltar’s top players from last season who graduated include Jack Duffy and Emmett Moroney, both offensive linemen/defensive linemen; Hayden Reetz and Giuseppe Mercier, both running backs/defensive linemen; tight end/defensive lineman Will Friedenfels; and running back/linebacker Bela Salm.
Duffy made the All-Conference first team on both offense and defense; Mercier made the first team on defense and second team on offense; Moroney made the second team on offense; and Friedenfels received honorable mention on defense.
Mike Peck is back for his sixth season as head coach, with his list of top returning players including junior quarterback Brady Kita, senior wide receiver Braden Sitte, senior offensive lineman Marshall Maltby and junior wide receiver/running back Will Lecy on offense, and Maltby (linebacker), Lecy (linebacker) and Sitte (cornerback) on defense.
Last season, Sitte made the All-Conference first team as a placekicker and defensive back, and the second team as an offensive end; Maltby made the first team on defense; Kita made the second team at quarterback despite missing the end of the season due to injury; and Lecy received honorable mention on defense.
Peck said this year’s team is hardworking and talented at the skill positions, but it’s low on numbers, with a roster of slightly more than a dozen, meaning that everyone should see playing time during the varsity games.
As the team seeks to improve each week as the season progresses – with the first game being a Saturday-afternoon nonconference contest at home Aug. 26 against Montello – Peck said he’s the most concerned about the team staying healthy.
The Peninsula Conference will have the same eight teams for the second year in a row, with Peck expecting the Vikings’ top opponents to be Sevastopol, Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas, Algoma, Gillett, Suring and Oneida Nation/NEW Lutheran.
Gibraltar closes out its regular-season schedule at home with a Thursday-night game Oct. 12 against the Pioneers.
2023 Vikings Football Schedule
All games are played at 7 pm unless noted.
Aug. 26 Home vs. Montello (4 pm)
Aug. 31 Away vs. Suring
Sept. 8 Home vs. Algoma
Sept. 15 Away vs. Wausaukee
Sept. 22 Away vs. Gillett
Sept. 29 Home vs. Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas
Oct. 6 Away vs. Oneida Nation/NEW Lutheran
Oct. 12 Home vs. Sevastopol