Actually got this one done pretty quickly. Not sure if I'll have any time to attempt any more until the weekend.
2018 Record: 5-5* (2-4) *Played and won NC game in Week 9 after receiving forfeit from HOPE
Notable Losses: FB/LB Michael Novacek
Notable Returnees: QB/DB Daniel Kim (Sr.), OL/DL Mark Gundrum (Sr.), OL/DL Michael Hoggatt (Sr.), WR/DL Isaac Schoenwetter (Jr.) RB/DB Jonathan Kim (So.), WR/DL Logan Kobliska (Jr.)
Outlook: An uneven year for a very young Blue Knights squad (just two seniors) saw forfeits both ways and underwhelming wins over poor competition. The positive though is that nearly the whole team comes back and with at least one of the league’s contenders from last year likely to fall way off, there will be chances to crack the top tier of the league and find a playoff berth. The elder Kim is the key player for this squad, and is always the case in small-school football, BA must avoid the injury bug to find success.
2018 Record: 0-7 (0-6)
Notable Losses: QB/DB Kemonttie Williams, RB/LB Marquis Hubanks
Notable Returnees: ATH Malcolm Gillie (Sr.), TE/LB Jaylon Banks (Jr.)
Outlook: I don’t know if people realize, but we’re only about five or so seasons removed from HOPE being a relatively competitive team in this league. Unfortunately, what’s happened since then has really hurt the quality of the league. The issues that plague MPS have found their way over to HOPE and numbers, lack of discipline and attendance hamper the program. They return Malcolm Gillie, who has provided most of their big scoring plays the last two years, but the loss of Kemonttie Williams, who at times was the only player keeping things organized and moving on the field will be felt. I have my doubts that HOPE plays out the full season, or is even ready for Weeks 1 (against North Division, that would be something to see, but don’t bet on it happening) and 2.
Lake Country Lutheran
2018 Record: 12-1 (6-0)
Notable Losses: QB/DB Ethan Wilkins, WR/DB Bryce Haertle, RB/LB Dane Vance, OL/LB Isaac Simons, OL/DL R.J. Frerking, OL/DL Tom Johnson, TE/DB Jonathan Buschke, RB/DB Nate Schumacher, RB/DE Aleks Krizans
Notable Returnees: WR/DB Zander Mueller (Sr.), OL/DL Noah Vanderberg (Sr.), WR/DB Will Brazgel (Sr.), OL/DL Tom Oberst (Sr.), OL/LB Steven Johnson (Sr.), RB/LB Jack Leverenz (Sr.), TE/LB Andrew Schumacher (Sr.), TE/DE Chase Caliendo (Jr.), QB/LB Luke Haertle (So.)
Outlook: Wilkins, Vance and Haertle move on, but the beat rolls on for the team that holds the state’s longest conference winning streak. I don’t see that ending this season (though the move to the Metro in 2020 will present a threat) as the Lightning return a plethora of all-conference players. Rising basketball star Luke Haertle likely steps in at QB and he will be behind the league’s best OL, giving him plenty of time to make things happen. A tough early non-conference slate gives way to a conference schedule that won’t likely provide any challenges, and so the question remains can LCL remain focused and sharp heading into the playoffs? Oh, and they are also inching closer to D4. The move to the Metro can’t come soon enough for a program that has outgrown its original home.
Living Word Lutheran
2018 Record: 7-3 (4-2)
Notable Losses: TE/DB Cade Miskimen, RB/DB M.J. Woods, WR/DB J.J. Wingo, QB/LB Sam Crook, OL/FB/LB Jonny Baumann, OL/DL Matt Krull, OL/DL Alex Kashevarof, OL/DL John Schirger
Notable Returnees: RB/DB Tate Rose (Sr.), TE/LB Ryan Haynes (Jr.), OL/DL Gavin Tietz (Sr.), RB/LB Logan Werner (Jr.)
Outlook: Numbers always an issue for the Timberwolves, but a deep senior class helped them to a third-place finish and a playoff berth a year ago. Graduation, however, takes approximately half the roster and the bulk of production with it. I expect Rose to take over at QB and Werner to become primary ballcarrier. Some size returns, but an utter lack of depth and being slight of vrsity experience leaves any notion of LWL approaching anywhere near the success of last season a very precarious thought. They will compete, however, and could throw a wrench into another mid-tier team’s playoff aspirations.
2018 Record: 7-2 (5-1)
Notable Losses: OL/DL Alex Poulakis, PK Manny Quezada, TE/LB Noah Calderon, RB/LB Dylan Baier, OL/LB Donovan Belles, RB/LB Alex Concepcion
Notable Returnees: OL/DL Derek Arns (Sr.), RB/DB Ismael Bastardo (Sr.), QB Jeremiah Burke (Jr.), RB/LB Alex Baltutis (Sr.), RB/DB Patrick Hauser (Jr.)
Outlook: A new era begins for the Mariners as long-time head coach Doug Sarver stepped down and was replaced by former Milwaukee Hamilton/Whitnall/Milwaukee Bay View head man Jeff Wallack. It will be interesting to see what changes this will bring about (particularly on offense), but there is certainly a solid returning core to build around with two-way stud lineman Arns, promising young QB Burke and the returning leading rusher in Bastardo. St. Francis should slot comfortably into second-place. I just don’t know if this is the year they challenge LCL however.
St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy
2018 Record: 2-5 (1-5)
Notable Losses: RB/LB Sean McHugh, RB/LB DiKim Teel
Notable Returnees: OL/DL Rolf Millan (Sr.), RB/OL/LB Ricardo Barnes (Sr.), RB/DB Gerald Gittens (Sr.), WR/DB Guy Sreenan (Sr.), WR/DB Nick Halyard (Sr.)
Outlook: The Lancers ended their season with two blowout wins over HOPE and Tri-County and will hope to carry that momentum into 2019. The Military Academy is always intriguing to me just because with such a worldwide student body, you never quite know what they are going to have from year-to-year. Furthermore with respected line coach Glenn Derby in charge and an experienced staff, you wonder if year two for them will see continued improvement. They do bring some decent players back, but I wonder if they haven’t tried to recruit that Podziemski kid to play football. With his basketball and baseball ability, he could be a nice little QB for them…just sayin’. A good sign is that SJNMA will be playing a full slate of games this season and will begin practice alongside everyone else. They’ve really been behind the eight-ball with the early starts as of late.
2018 Record: 3-6 (3-3)
Notable Losses: WR/DB Tripp Grebe, OL/DL Victor Simanonok, RB/LB Gordy Leech, TE/LB David Mock
Notable Returnees: QB/DB/P C.J. Boyd (Jr.), OL/LB Israel Powell (Jr.), RB/LB Connor Baumann (Jr.)
Outlook: U-School snuck into the playoffs but made a quick exit against Kiel. With just two seniors returning, one might think the Wildcats would be in for a long year, but there is plenty of reason for hope, namely the return of three-way all-conference selection junior-to-be C.J. Boyd, who figures to be one of the top offensive players in the league. They will have to replace a few core players up front, but a lot of young players saw action a year ago and that should speed along their readiness for every-down varsity football. With the conference the way it is, there’s no reason to think the Wildcats can’t improve on last year’s record and make their way back to the playoffs.
Prognostication: Spots 1 and 2 are pretty much locked down already. I just don’t see anyone challenging Lake Country Lutheran again. St. Francis will also be well ahead of the rest. Then it gets interesting. BA and USM are really a coin flip. I give USM the nod, but ever-so-slightly. LWL and SJNMA are both wild cards, unlikely to win too much, but could spring a surprise. HOPE languishes well back. It will be interesting to see if the middle-tier cannibalizes itself and costs the league a playoff berth or if things play out to chalk.
1. Lake Country Lutheran
2. St. Francis
3. University School
4. Brookfield Academy
5. Living Word Lutheran
6. St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy
7. HOPE Christian