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West Bend Native Playing In Camelia Bowl

By Staff | Dec 17, 2015

Mitch Bonnstetter

A former West Bend-Mallard athlete will cap off his collegiate season this Saturday with an appearance in the Raycom Media Camelia Bowl. Mitch Bonnstetter, the son of Pam and Jeff Bonnstetter, will play for the Ohio Bobcats against Appalachian State in the Camelia Bowl, which will be played in Montgomery Alabama this Saturday, Dec. 19. The game will be televised on ESPN at 6:30 p.m.

Bonnstetter, a 5-11, 187 pound senior, is the punter for the Bobcats of Ohio, who finished the regular season this year with an 8-4 record in the Mid-American Athletic Conference. Bonnstetter, who came to Ohio after playing at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge and prep football at West Bend-Mallard, has punted 62 times in the 2015 season, for 2,408 yards, an average of 38.8 yards per punt. He kicked a long of 58 yards during the season, which saw his punts include four touchbacks, 24 fair catches and 24 punts landing inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. During the 2015 season, Bonnstetter had none of his punts blocked.

In the 2014 season, Bonnstetter was named the MAC East Special Teams Player of the week Oct. 27, 2014 and saw action in all 12 games. He finished the year with a punting average of 41.8 yards, amassing 2, 631 yards in 63 punts.

Bonnstetter tallied four punts in the Bobcats’ season opener against Kent State (Aug. 30, 2014, for 170 yards and recorded a season-best 46.8 yard average against Kentucky on Sept. 6. He had a season-high eight punts at Kentucky and against Akron on Oct. 18, while posting a career long 64-yard punt against Western Michigan on Oct. 25.

During his career as a member of the West Bend-Mallard Wolverines, Mitch was a three-year varsity letterwinner and three-time All State Honoree and three-time All District selection. He was the team captain during his senior season.

Mitch helped guide West Bend-Mallard High School to the Iowa State Playoffs in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. However, his athletic prowess also extended from the gridiron as he competed on the varsity basketball, baseball and track teams at West Bend-Mallard High School.

Bonnstetter also excelled in the classroom as he was named to the Honor Roll in high school and was a member of the National Honor Society..

After graduating from West Bend-Mallard, Bonnstetter played two seasons at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge for Coach Kevin Twait, where he earned All-America honors following the 2012 and 2013 campaigns… Posted a 45.6 average during the 2013 season. While punting for Iowa Central, he helped Iowa Central advance to a pair of bowl games.

He has received Academic All-America honors during his collegiate career and is a double major in Sports Management and Psychology.

Ohio is coming off a big 26-21 win over MAC West Champion Northern Illinois, it was the first win over NIU for the Bobcats since 2009 and first win in DeKalb since 2006. Entering the game NIU was on a 22-0 win streak in the month of Nov. extending back to 2009.

Under the guidance of Head Coach Frank Solich, the Bobcats of Ohio will meet Appalachian State in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Saturday.

“The way we finished the year I think is encouraging for all of us,” noted Coach Solich. “The momentum is there which is always huge at the end of the season when you’re preparing for a bowl game. I look at our team and we’re filled with leaders. They’ve done a great job at making sure that this season has ended up being the kind of season that they envisioned and didn’t let some things along the way take them out of the kind of year that they had hoped to have had in terms of getting wins and getting to a bowl game.”

Ohio’s last trip to a bowl game was in 2013 to the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl where they lost to Eastern Carolina 20-37.

Ohio is one of seven MAC teams to have accepted a bowl invitation, and kicks off the bowl season as the Camellia Bowl will be the first bowl game to be contested.

The game, played in the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, AL., will be the first meeting between the two squads and will officially open the 2015 bowl season. The game is scheduled to be telecast on ESPN with kickoff at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 19.