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John Hoch tells how BFS programs help Lancaster High School dominate its football conference
By Kim Goss
Published: Sep 10 2004 12:00AM

It’s an enviable record that almost any football coach would be proud to claim. John Hoch, head football coach at Lancaster High School in Lancaster, Wisconsin, has seen his team win three state championships and seven conference championships. Over the past three years his Flying Arrows amassed a 41-1 record and have made the playoffs 12 out of the past 13 years. Last year Hoch was named as the Wisconsin Football Coaches Conference’s Coach of the Year. Yes, Coach Hoch is sitting on the top of the hill now---but the climb to success has been a long one.
Lancaster High School competes in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA). The regular season consists of nine games, with the playoffs adding another five for teams that reach the finals. The WIAA began the playoff tournament series in 1976, with the first two championships consisting of four divisions. In 1978, the conference expanded to five divisions, then to six in 1981. Lancaster High School has an enrollment of 408 students and competes at the Division 4 level, with Division 1 being the largest.
Hoch became the head football coach for the Flying Arrows in 1982. Seven years later they won their first conference championship in 25 years and reached the state semi-finals. In 1993 they won the state championship, and in 1997 again made it to the semi-finals. In 1999 they lost the state finals, 21-34, to the Hornets of Cadott High School. In this game the Flying Arrows moved the ball, as evidenced by the fact that they were able to run 82 offensive plays, but big plays by the Hornets gave them the edge.
In 2000 Lancaster High School went undefeated to win the state championships 14-7 against the Cardinals of Prescott High School, then repeated their perfect season the following year with a lopsided 49-20 victory over the Indians of Kewaunee High School. This past season featured an unstoppable offense that piled up an average of 48.2 points per game during the season and 45.3 points during the playoffs. On the other side of the ball, his defense only allowed 15.3 points per game.
Lancaster is a rural town in southwest Wisconsin, approximately 80 miles west of Madison. The geography is characterized by striking rock bluffs, wooded valleys, and numerous creeks and streams. A head coach at Lancaster High School for the past 20 years, Hoch took time out from enjoying this small-town atmosphere to share his success story with us.

BFS: Coach Hoch, you’ve been at Lancaster about 20 years, and you’ve said the football team wasn’t very good at the time you started. What was the reaction from the Lancaster community when you signed on?
JH: When I came, Lancaster was primarily a baseball town, and in a small community you usually have just one sport to choose from. It took us a while to overcome that stigma, but the community has been very supportive.

BFS: How long did it take to build a winning team?
JH: It took us about six years to really become competitive, and I felt that in 1988 we finally turned the corner. In 1989 the school built us a good-sized weight room and wrestling facility---an 80 by 40-foot space. Before that, our weight room was only about 10 feet by 20 feet. That helped us tremendously.

BFS: When you assign a position to an outstanding athlete, do you fit the athlete into a position you need, or into a position that you think he would do best at in college?
JH: We fit the athlete to what we need, just because there are so few who go on to the next level.

BFS: Do you platoon your good athletes or do you have them play both ways?
VH: We platoon, but the kids pretty much have their choice as to what position they get to play.

BFS: What is your rationale for limiting them to one position?
JH: We think we get more out of our kids this way. We started platooning in 1996, and I think it’s one reason we had a big jump in the success of our football program.
BFS: How did platooning help?
BJ: Our offensive and defensive players don’t see much of each other, so if our athletes went both ways they would miss out on so many reps of what they could do. Also, platooning allows us to use all our good kids on special teams because we don’t have to rest them.

BFS: What type of offense do you run?
JH: On offense we run a wishbone offense, multiple
set---the backfield moves all over the place.

BFS: Is it similar to the flexbone used at the Air Force Academy?
JH: Yes, but ours probably has a little more freedom than the offense used at the Academy. We let our kids choose the motion they want---they can line up all over the field as long as they get there to make the plays.

BFS: Isn’t there a greater risk of fumbling when using such an offense?
JH: A low turnover margin is something we take a great deal of pride in at Lancaster---in our 14-game schedule last year we only lost 11 fumbles. Also, platooning has helped us in this regard, and it increases the players’ ability to focus.

BFS: How do you match up physically to your opponents?
JH: It depends---our starting nose guard is 155 pounds, and our offensive starting guard is 280. I’d say we’re usually a little bit smaller than most of the teams we play, but we’re exceptionally fast.

BFS: What type of defense do you run?
JH: It’s a 4-3 attack that’s designed to disrupt the fullback. We like to put our smaller, faster, more aggressive players on defensive.
BFS: Are there any exceptional seniors from your team last year you’d like to recognize in our magazine?
JH: There are four I’d like to mention. Zack Hampton is an excellent athlete who was voted Player of the Year for the past two years by two separate papers that service our area. He’s a three-time state qualifier in wrestling, winning the state championships this year, and a three-time state qualifier in track, with a best of 21’8” in the long jump. He’s also been all-conference in baseball. As a free safety and kick returner, he led our team in interceptions, punt returns---three that he ran back for touchdowns---and kickoff returns---four that he ran back for touchdowns. At the state championships this year he had two interceptions, one that he returned for a touchdown. Zack is 5’11”, 170 pounds, runs a 4.6 forty and has a 31.5” vertical jump.
Another outstanding athlete is Andy Hock. Hock is a punter, kick returner, and was a three-year starter at fullback. He has 3709 career yards rushing, which includes 58 rushing touchdowns and 15 games over 100 yards. At the state championships this year he rushed for 198 yards and made three rushing touchdowns. Andy was also two-year starter in basketball and a three-time state qualifier in track---he holds our school record in the triple jump at 43’5”. Andy is 6’0” and weighs 195 pounds.
Next is John Schmitz, who has been a 2-year starter for us at halfback. Last year he rushed for 1629 yards, averaging 16.5 yards per carry. In the state championships this year he made an 82-yard touchdown run, and in the second round of the playoffs he made a school record of 307 yards rushing on just 11 carries. He’s a three-year state qualifier in track, holds the school record with 38.7 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles, and had 24 wins in his senior year on the wrestling team. He’s 5’9” and weighs 170 pounds.
Finally, Nate Rolland did a great job for us as starting quarterback for the past two years. He threw for 2710 career yards and 39 touchdowns, against only six interceptions. He was a two-year starter in basketball and baseball, and a state qualifier in the pole vault. He’s 6’0”, 175 pounds, and is a National Honor Student with a 3.72 GPA.

BFS: Is there are player that you are especially excited about for this season?
JH: Junior Nick Kolb, who plays offensive guard, is already getting recruited by Division I schools. He’s 6’5, 280 pounds, and has great feet and good overall hip power. He’s been a start

Free saftey Zack Hampton led the Flying Arrows this year in interceptons and kick return yards.
Fullback Andy Hoch rushed for 198 yards in the game that dediced tha 2001 State Championship
Coach Massey spots Jon Schimtz, a two-year starter ar halfback
Coach Rolland fives a spot to Nate Rolland, a two-year starter at quarterback with a 3.72 GPA
Andy Hoch, who is also a three-time state qualifier in track, performs box jumps
Coach Hoch spots Steve Smith in the towel bench press
Beau boughton with Mike Koeller using the BFS Beat the Computer System
(Left to right) Doug Larsen, MIke Koeller, Steve Smith, Bob Obma
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