2018 Record: 7-4 (6-2)
Notable Losses: OL Matthew Fried, OL Jalen Webster, WR Jacob Schleicher, WR Avan Prange, TE Jonathan Witter, ATH Davis Zeutzius, QB Nic Wohlfiel, PK Seth Fohey, DE Jake Hazod, DE Will Paulson, LB Robbie Lindemann, DB Jacob Boray
Notable Returnees: OL Loic Venon (Sr.), OL Mason Carnell (Sr.), WR/P Robbie Symdon (Sr.), RB Josh Nielson (Sr.), DL John Henry Schlager (Sr.), LB Brady Riphenburg (Sr.), LB Dalton Elrod (Sr.), LB Everett Fawley (Sr.), LB Johnny Orlando (Sr.), RB/DB Owen Arnett (Jr.)
Outlook: The Warhawks finally started to look like the Arrowhead of old towards the end of last year and nearly knocked off Fond du Lac in the playoffs. They have plenty returning, so thoughts of a return to the top-tier of the Classic 8 standings aren’t out of the question. One thing that has hurt them the last two years is starting the wrong QB to start the year. With Wohlfiel graduated, replacing him correctly is paramount to offensive success as they have struggled mightily without a competent QB. Defense should remain the Warhawks calling card. No reason to think this isn’t a top-3 Classic 8 team is things go as expected.
2018 Record: 13-1 (7-1)
Notable Losses: OL Joe Balistrieri, OL Brendan McKnight, FB/LB Alex Cyskiewicz, RB Tate Kopulos, DL J.C. Latham (Jr., Transferred to IMG Academy), DE Luke Hubley (Sr.), DB Joe Oechsner, DB Matthew Schultz
Notable Returnees: QB/PK Luke Fox (Sr.), OL Sam Bautz (Sr.), OL Rocco Pellegrini (Sr.), WR Joe Sikma (Sr.), DL Jason Guzniczak (Sr.), LB Ben Kreul (Sr.), LB Joey Goetz (Sr.), LB Cole Dakovich (Sr.), DB Dan Fynaardt (Sr.)
Outlook: CMH was pretty dominant on their way to a D3 title. A final-play loss to D1 Champ Muskego was their only blemish. Ironically, they only really struggled in the first half of the title game before turning it on to win rather easily. If all goes to plan, I would expect a very similar season. The Crusaders took a blow when J.C. Latham decided to transfer to Florida, but they still return the state’s top linebacking corps and one All-Conference player each on the D-Line and in the D-Backfield. Offensively, they just so happen to also have the state’s top-ranked QB back, plus a couple O-Linemen and a top receiving threat. They’ll have to uncover a RB, but that’s not something they’ve ever really had a problem doing. All remains well in Crusader-land…though the odd move to the Woodland is looming.
2018 Record: 6-5 (4-4)
Notable Losses: OL/DL Jake Rock, OL Jimmy Dowd, OL Michael Barker, WR Will Knutson, RB/LB Eli Weis, PK/P Blake Wilcox, LB Caleb Rife, LB Hunter Denor, DB Caleb Hotchkiss
Notable Returnees: OL/DL Trey Wedig (Sr.), DL Chandler Fontaine (Sr.), LB Lucas Spencer (Sr.), DB Nick Randgaard (Sr.), DB Logan Ohm (Sr.), DB Nolan Gende (Jr.)
Outlook: The Lasers have a good piece to build around in the state’s top-ranked O-Lineman Trey Wedig (who is also good on the other side as well), but offensively they will have to replace quite a lot of production. Defensively, Kettle Moraine remains in a pretty good spot. The loss of All-State kicker Blake Wilcox will be felt as he was a weapon offensively and field position-wise. There is such little margin for error in this league though, that I’m not sure the Lasers can repeat last year’s playoff appearance without someone really coming out of nowhere on the offensive side of the ball.
2018 Record: 6-5 (4-4)
Notable Losses: OL Brett Pladies, OL Tristan Klumb, WR/TE Wesley Juszczak, RB Josh Jendusa, TE Dalton Gillette, FB Michael West, DL A.J. Major, LB Mitch Magolan, LB Luke Siewert, DB Paul Vildberg
Notable Returnees: OL Tyler Pitcel (Sr.), DL Nate Wilcher (Sr.), LB Will Borchert (Sr.), DB Aaron Schmitz (Sr.)
Outlook: Mukwonago, who finished with an identical record to Kettle Moraine, doesn’t quite have the Lasers’ luxury of a great two-way lineman to build around although Pitcel is very solid in his own right. Mukwonago also has less returning with post-season accolades and thus probably faces an uphill climb to repeat last season, especially with the loss of every offensive playmaker. Mukwonago though, is a proud program, so expect the Indians to at least spring a surprise or two, and who knows, maybe even get back to the post-season.
2018 Record: 14-0 (8-0)
Notable Losses: OL Austin Burke, FB John Reiske, QB A.J. Makinen, PK Lucas Amaya, DL Nate Stewart, DE Lenny Roecker, LB Mitch Borkovec, DB Joe Mlachnik, DB Sam Chovanec, DB Mitch Kudronowicz, RB R.J. Bosshart
Notable Returnees: OL Jacob Leszczynski (Sr.), OL Ethan Jacquet (Sr.), OL Kyler Mason (Jr.), OL Terrin Hey (Sr.), RB Andrew Leair (Sr.), RB Alex Current (Jr.), LB Bryan Gruehn (Sr.), LB Richard Wauer (Sr.), DB Hunter Wohler (Jr.), PK/P Shane Dunning (Sr.)
Outlook: Muskego ascended to the mountaintop a year ago, ending Kimberly’s five-year title streak. Those hoping that the Warriors would just be a one-hit wonder are going to be sadly disappointed. In fact, it could be argued that anything short of a repeat will be a disappointment in itself. Muskego returns a large chunk of starters on both sides of the ball, including four O-Linemen and two of their RBs, meaning the Wing-T will continue to churn out yardage. They need to find a replacement for QB A.J. Makinen, but I don’t see that being an issue. Some key spots need to be refilled up front on defense, but the back-end remains pretty good.
2018 Record: 0-9 (0-8)
Notable Losses: OL Leif Engstrand, WR Ethan Burch, WR Miller Wallace, RB Alex Biddle, DL Theo Ringgold
Notable Returnees: OL Noah Zupke (Sr.), LB Rome Zupke (Jr.)
Outlook: From many standpoints, there is no reason to question Oconomowoc’s fit in the Classic 8, but much like their time in the Little Ten, the Raccoons fluctuate wildly from season-to-season talent-wise. The difference being, there isn’t the margin for error in the C8 that there was in the WLT. As such, Cooney isn’t likely to make a huge leap this year. Quite frankly, they may be in for something eerily similar to last year as they don’t have much in the way of All-Conference players returning. That said, they have “come out of nowhere” before.
2018 Record: 2-7 (2-6)
Notable Losses: OL Jared Thompson, OL J.R. Shiddell, RB Kai Lermer, RB Ben Sorge, DB Alex Lesperance
Notable Returnees: WR/DB Chimere Dike (Sr.), QB Johnny Kelliher (Sr.), PK/P Austin Peters (Sr.), DB Javeonta Brown (Jr.)
Outlook: North has been close for the last several seasons now, but as is the tale of the C8, you can’t just get one big win and expect to make the playoffs; you need two, three of them, and the reality is for programs that lack quality depth, that is a tall order. The Northstars also are still dealing with the untimely off-season passing of running back Kai Lermer who would have shouldered the load of the ground game. As it stands, North still has the combo of Kelliher/Dike to put up big numbers through the air, but they must replace several key linemen and improve by oodles defensively if they hope to have any shot of breaking their playoff drought.
2018 Record: 2-7 (1-7)
Notable Losses: OL/DL Spencer Vigo, WR/LB Isaiah Garcia, OL/DL Alex Vazquez, OL/DE Matt Garrity, RB/LB Manny Martinez, WR/LB Jacob Pilon
Notable Returnees: QB Jordan McNello (Jr.), WR/DB Zeke Diaz (Jr.), RB/DB Lavante Cleveland (Jr.)
Outlook: It isn’t for lack of trying, but South’s football struggles continue, and will likely continue as long as the league is made up as it is. Promising young QB Jordan McNello returns, as do fellow juniors Zeke Diaz and Lavante Cleveland on offense. The Blackshirts lose a bit from the line and on defense, which doesn’t bode well for a team that gave up 43.2 points per game, while only scoring 15.8 themselves.
2018 Record: 7-5 (4-4)
Notable Losses: OL/P Nick Hanke, WR/DB Trae Tetzlaff, RB Sam Mikulak, LB Max Peters, WR/DB Trent Remmers, DB Trenton Tucker
Notable Returnees: OL Jake Sobczak (Sr.), OL Zach Kluge (Sr.), FB Lucas Stray (Sr.), QB Brooks Blount (Sr.), DL Craig Hanson (Sr.), DL Nick Redding (Sr.), WR/DB Devon Townsend (Jr.)
Outlook: It was not a year from the Wolverines that we’ve become accustomed to them having. The record was one thing, but the first year without a MacCudden to ride in a long time was also a factor. Brooks Blount returns for his third-year as a starter, looking to finally have a true breakout season. Unfortunately, the Wolverines will have to develop some weapons and fast as most of the skill position production is gone. Keep an eye on junior Devon Townsend as a potential breakout star. The Wolverines are well-known for their great line play and that should continue, and as always that really does give you a leg up on the competition. Still, even as the most “affluent” of the directional Waukesha schools, you start to wonder if maybe they’re coming back to the pack just a bit? With CMH leaving in 2020, it’ll be interesting to see if that helps, or hurts the public Waukeshas (or even the conference as a whole for that matter) as well.
Prognostication: The Classic 8 is so good that I just don’t want to flat-out state that Muskego should repeat as champs, but the needle certainly points in that direction. Catholic Memorial also should be right there with the Warriors. Beyond that is where it gets tricky. I think Arrowhead will be in the mix, followed by Waukesha West. Kettle Moraine gets the nod over Mukwonago based on more contributors returning. The bottom three stays static, again simply based on amount and quality of contributors coming back.
2. Catholic Memorial
4. Waukesha West
5. Kettle Moraine
7. Waukesha North
8. Waukesha South