By Steve Peterson
Brian Wilken, a 1987 Akron-Westfield school alumnus, achieved a coaching milestone win when Newell-Fonda beat North Iowa Buffalo Center, 41-14, on Sept. 13 in eight-man football in Newell.
Wilken, son of Dallas and Clarice, won his 100th game as a football coach.
“It was the district opener against a very good North Iowa team and our focus was on winning the district opener. The honor is shared with a lot of people in the entire program,” said Wilken, taking a break from his physical education class teaching duties for the Mustangs.
Newell-Fonda, which played A-W in the football playoffs in 2008, has been eight-man since 2010. “We run the same offense, defense and special teams as an 11-man team. The important thing is you still have to block and tackle well and be two or three deep at every position because injuries do happen,” said Wilken.
An 11-1 record last year and a close loss in the playoffs to eventual eight-man class champion Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn in the quarterfinals, 42-38, only made the senior-led team more determined for a good N-F season.
“We’re very blessed to have hard-working, tough kids who are not afraid of hard work and much of what they accomplish goes back to the hard work. We have 11 seniors but also good juniors and sophomores who have stepped in. We don’t talk about wins and losses every week but getting better,” said Wilken.
Wilken, who played college baseball at Buena Vista University after A-W days, then sought a Master’s Degree in Athletic Administration before a coaching bug returned him to the sideline in Nevada, Iowa, then West Marshall, Iowa, before becoming the football coach for the Mustangs 14 years ago. An even 100 wins in 14 seasons. A great achievement and Wilken is quick to point to former Westerner mentors as well as his parents for giving him the strong base of values to have that success. He played football for Craig Parkinson as a Westerner.
Friday night’s result
The Mustangs battled Northeast Hamilton on the road in district play Sept. 20. Newell-Fonda won the district game 50-24, for a 2-0 Eight-Man District No. 2 record, 4-0 overall and career win No. 101 for Wilken. The Mustangs are tied for first in the district with West Bend Mallard and host Laurens-Marathon at 7 p.m. Sept. 28.