JANESVILLE — If you’re looking to find Jagger Ignaszewski in the summer, your first stop should be the weight room at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton.
If he isn’t there, your next best bet would be to head over to the football field. If that fails, it’s probably going to be one of the local gyms.
“Jagger is a really good hard worker,” JWP coach Jeff Wagner said. “We’re comfortable giving him 25 carries a game if need be.”
Ignaszewski, who was a receiver last season, is being moved to running back for his senior season, a duty he will assume along with his role on the defensive line.
After a year of learning the route tree of a receiver, he has put in more time and effort this summer to prepare for another change.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work to learn how to be a running back,” Ignaszewski said. “Just trying to learn the blocking techniques and footwork.”
The Bulldogs offense will return seven starters, but Ignaszewski isn’t the only key returner changing positions.
Senior Kobe Weimert will move from wide receiver to quarterback, a position he has never played before. Wagner tends to be more run heavy, which he hopes will ease the transition.
“He’s one of those kids who’s just a real natural athlete. It’s not going to be hard for him,” Wagner said.
Cody Gartner, Jaxson James, Logan Miller, Justin Goblirsch and Ben Schrom all return as starters on an offensive line that figures to be the Bulldogs’ strongest unit.
Wagner likes to run off tackle, and this group should allow him to do that. He also feels the guys up front will be key in helping Ignaszewski and Weimert succeed in new roles.
“We’re gonna lose and win games at the line of scrimmage.” Wagner said.
When it comes to the defense, the Bulldogs will feature a fair amount of man-free looks. The defense returns seven starters as well, with Schrom, James and Ignaszewski leading the way on the line. Jacob Cahill, Austin Westphal, Dainen Johnson and Jack Morsching will also play major roles on defense.
With the Bulldogs coming off a 1-8 season, there is room for improvement. While the record appears bad, JWP lost a number of close games. A pair of three-point losses to Wabasha-Kellogg and St. Clair/Loyola were difficult. The season then ended with a memorable 66-48 loss in the first round of the section tournament.
“I believe we have the talent to win more games this year,” Ignaszewski said. “There’s a lot of athleticism with this group.”
Wagner isn’t one to shoot for specific benchmarks. He’s more concerned with what’s happening at practice, and whether or not his players are improving each day. He wants his Bulldogs to compete in every game, and to expect to win every game.
“I don’t like goals about wins and losses,”Wagner said.
“We absolutely want to win every game we play, but I’m more concerned with the process it takes to get there.”