Kant-Hull (click for larger version)
June 18, 2013 | 03:27 PMWILLIAMS BAY — First, the team folded back in late January.
Then, it recovered to have a full tryout.
Now, the Lake Geneva Generals must overcome the loss of several big names and an entire offensive line in time for the season opener July 13.
Trevor York, a 2011 Badger High School graduate and the team's leading rusher last season, said Monday he is playing for the Wauwatosa Spartans, Lake Geneva's opponent this Saturday at Williams Bay High School.
"There won't be any bad feelings out there," York said. "It will be more so just to prove something to myself."
Generals co-owners Derek and Jeni Diehl said York, who lives in Lake Geneva, is welcome back any time, and the deadline for roster additions is by Week 4, or Aug. 3.
York, one of the team's brightest stars since the franchise's inception in 2011, ran for more than 700 yards last year.
"Trevor is a young man with tremendous talent, and he will be an asset for any team he plays for," Derek Diehl said.
With the Generals, York would sometimes have to practice out of position at wide receiver. He said he is looking forward to seeing what he can do this season with more practice time at running back.
The Spartans are the defending Ironman Football League champions.
They knocked off the former four-time league champion Madison Mustangs in last year's Iron Bowl.
Dan Kant-Hull, a Williams Bay graduate who plays fullback, said several players looked elsewhere when the team briefly stopped operations back in January.
"Right now we have four guys left," he said.
Kant-Hull, Badger graduate Alex Shaban, Ben Todd, Phil Palos and Jamal Jones are the only remaining original Generals.
Elkhorn native Shane Hinrichs, a former team leader on the offensive line, is playing with a different team this season. Also, James Watkinson, the team's best linebacker, won't be with the team this season.
Demetrius Butler and Ricardo Williams, last year's starting receivers, will not be with the team.
With players leaving and numbers dwindling, the Diehls, who have led teams to the playoffs in all 11 of their semi-pro seasons, are slowly picking up the pieces.
The roster is back up to 40 players, and it's business as usual.
Jeni Diehl said some players left to be closer to their hometown teams, and some left to get more playing time.
"It's OK," she said. "Some guys aren't willing to make the commitment and dedicate themselves at practice. Derek has made the playoffs every season, and we don't plan to change that."
The Diehls have kept busy in the offseason, opening the Walworth Lanes bowling alley in downtown Walworth. It will give players a place to have fun after games, and it will be a gathering place for local school kids, Jeni Diehl said.
Overall, she doesn't believe the new business will interfere with the Generals.
"We have a great group of guys that know how to ball," she said. "We have some veterans that continue to lead on and off the field, as well as 30 new players that want to know what's so special about playing here."
The new-look Generals lost to the Chicago Thunder, 42-0, in Saturday's preseason opener at Williams Bay.
"We don't play preseason to win," Derek Diehl said. "We see what we have and figure out adjustments we need to make."
The Generals host the Wauwatosa Spartans this Saturday at 7 p.m. at Williams Bay High School.