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Galena Pirates

When you think of great teams that come from the NUIC, the Galena Pirates are one of those teams that you mention. With 521 wins in school history, the Pirates sit 2nd to only rival, Stockton. The Pirates have made 1 playoff appearance since the 2016 season, but from 1985 to 2015 they only missed the playoffs 3 times in 31 seasons. Their best run came from 1995 to 2000, where the Pirates compiled a 71-7 record with a state championship and a runner-up finish, while never missing the quarterfinals. They would add 2 more state titles between 2003 and 2007, but since that time they have 1 semifinal appearance.

Coach Ed Freed is entering his 21st season at Galena, where he has a career record of 114-78. His team goal remains the same as it has every year; to be a playoff team. Last season the Pirates finished 4-5, and they return quite a few players from that team that are eager to get back in the playoffs. Coming off a 2021 playoff appearance, last year's team had quite a bit of inexperience, but they return a good nucleus of last year's team for the 2023 season.

Coach Freed feels that he has the team that can improve from last season, but knows that the NUIC is the best conference in the state and it is hard to get back in the upper half of the conference. He is looking forward to the challenge, but like most teams he will need to keep his players healthy.

This year, the Pirates will be led by Jack Ries. Last season, Ries earned 2nd team all-conference honors after rushing for 530 yards and 9 TD's. Roman Romer also returns after putting up 133 yards receiving and 4 TD's to earn 2nd team all-conference. They will be looking at juniors Jose Hernandez and Myles Schumacher to help out in the run game. At the receiver spots the Pirates will have junior Alfredo Jimenez returning. He will be joined by senior Caleb McCartney, juniors Kaden Hauber and Braden Kevern, and sophomore Owen Hefel.

The Pirates will return a lot of experience on the line and at TE, with Will Anderson, Cooper Einsweiler, Nick Handfelt, and Josh McNett leading the way. Anderson was an honorable mention all-conference selection. Other lineman looking to help out will be seniors Lucas Duggan and Jaiden Hernandez, and sophomores Gus Nack and Juan Dorantes. Junior Rylan Miller will be called upon at the TE position with McNett.

On defense, Ries will lead the defense from his linebacker position, and will be joined by Zach Heller and Jaiden Hernandez. Other guys looking for some time at linebacker will be Gus Nack and Juan Dorantes.

The defensive line will be led by Will Anderson, Nick Handfelt, and Josh McNett. Lucas Duggan and Jaiden Hernandez will also fill the spots up front when called upon.

At the DB's, Roman Romer will be the leader. Myles Schumacher and Alfredo Jimenez also return. Looking to share some time will be Owen Hefel, Kaden Hauber, Caleb McCartney, and Braden Kevern.

Freed is going to rely on the starters on offense to lead out of the gates, as some positions will have some inexperience where they need those guys to step up right away. The defensive backfield returns Romer, and has some depth, but they will need to remain healthy here so they can develop some depth with their younger guys.

The pick to win conference by Coach Freed is Lena-Winslow. He feels there will be other teams right in the mix for a conference title as the NUIC looks to have a great balance of competitive teams once again.

Playoff History 49-27

1980 0-1

1985 2-1

1986 1-1

1987 1-1

1988 1-1

1989 2-1

1990 1-1

1991 0-1

1992 1-1

1994 1-1

1995 2-1

1996 3-1

1997 5-0 Class 1A State Champion

1998 2-1

1999 4-1 Class 1A State Runner-Up

2000 3-1

2001 0-1

2002 1-1

2003 5-0 Class 1A State Champion

2005 0-1

2006 1-1

2007 5-0 Class 1A State Champion

2008 2-1

2009 1-1

2010 0-1

2012 1-1

2013 1-1

2014 3-1

2015 0-1

2021 0-1


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