amped0808
Can anyone finally end Homestead's streak atop the North Shore this year before realignment makes the league a more manageable eight team configuration? Let's find out.

2018 North Shore vs NC Opponents (4yrs): N/A (13-20 (.394))
2018 North Shore Playoff Record (4yrs): 9-6 (.600) (28-20 (.583))

Cedarburg

2018 Record: 2-7 (2-7)
Points Forced-Allowed Average: 15.2-38.5
Notable Returns: Jake Leair (QB/DB), Jason Schultz (RB/LB), Drew Biber (WR/DB)
Notable Losses: Carson Biber (WR/DB)

Notes: The youth movement continued for the Bulldogs as they finished 2-7 in the league. on the offensive side of the ball they return most of their starters led by Jake Leair who was First Team All-NSC at QB. Jason Schultz who led the team in rushing. The key for Cedarburg in order to make a major push upward is improving a defense that only gave up less than 35 points twice (Both W's) last season.

Grafton

2018 Record: 6-5 (5-4)
Points Forced-Allowed Average: 25.3-19.3
Notable Returns: Zach Wier (QB/DB), JP Benschawel (OL/DL), Joey Giorgi (RB/LB)
Notable Losses: Brady Ward (QB/DB), Hawk Heffner (LB/TE), Kyle Profreck (LB/TE)

Notes: Grafton broke through the ceiling last year to end their playoff drought that went back to the mid-90's last year and won a playoff game for good measure. Things look up for the Black Hawks to make a repeat trip back to the postseason as several key players return back for the team led by Zach Weir who shared time with the now graduated Brady Ward at QB throwing for 846 yard and 11 TD's. They also return Joey Giorgi who led the team with 957 yards rushing and 12 TD's. JP Benschawel returns to man the Offensive and Defensive Line as well.

Hartford

2018 Record: 6-5 (5-4)
Points Forced-Allowed Average: 23.7-21.1
Notable Returns: Jacob Frantl (QB/DB), Joe Kasprzak (RB/LB), Steven Lazaris (LB/OL)
Notable Losses: Scott Savage (RB/LB), Jacob Pepin (WR/DB), Jason Patterson (WR/DB)

Notes: The Orioles along with three other teams manged to create a four way tie for 4th place in the North Shore last year and like Grafton, they managed to win a playoff game. The offense welcomes back QB Jacob Frantl who threw for 1,197 yards and 12 TD's last season. The biggest question mark on the offense is how to replace 1,500 yard rusher Scott Savage. Frantl and Connor Cummings are the top two returning rushers on that side of the ball. Steven Lazaris who is the top defensive player also returns for Hartford.

Homestead

2018 Record: 14-0 (9-0)
Points Forced-Allowed Average: 41.9-13.6
Notable Returns: Luke Konik (RB), Mason Resch (DT/NT), Jack Gresham (PK)
Notable Losses: Emory Weeden (QB/DB), Jake Raddatz (WR/DB), Howie Newbauer (WR/TE)

Notes: In typical Homestead fashion, the Highlanders won the conference title by running the table en route to a D2 Championship. A big challenge awaits Coach Keel as a heralded senior class leaves and there are major holes everywhere on the team. However with the tradition that of the Highlanders, it's usually next man up and they always find a way to be on top at the end of the season. 

Nicolet

2018 Record: 1-8 (1-8)
Points Forced-Allowed Average: 14.2-30.3
Notable Returns: Matthew White (QB/DB), Jashawn Austin (WR/DB), Jeremy Kobe (WR/DB)
Notable Losses: Carson Trimborn (QB/LB), CJ Kobe (RB/LB), Parker Keckeisen (OL/DL)

Notes: The Knights once again struggled to a 1-8 year highlighted by a 7-6 win over West Bend West in week four. If Nicolet wants to make a push up the league standings they must quickly replace the departed Carson Trimborn at QB who accounted for all but 33 passing yards last season. They also have to replace their top two rushers as they both graduated. If Grafton's rise in the North Shore as of late proves anything, it shows that if all put in the hard work and time, results will eventually show in the long run.

Port Washington

2018 Record: 5-5 (5-4)
Points Forced-Allowed Average: 28.3-27.5
Notable Returns: Ethan Baierl (QB), Mitchell Neimeyer (WR/DB), Hunter Kanneberg (LB)
Notable Losses: Adam Baierl (QB), Deron Spicer (RB/LB), Jacob Lippe (WR/DB)

Notes: The Pirates continued their recent run of success in the league with another postseason bid last year. To extend it again this year the Pirates must hope that Ethan Baierl can ease the blow of losing brother Adam to graduation this year at QB. Deron Spicer who ran for 1,085 yards which was good to lead in the team in rushing, returns at RB. While Hunter Kanneberg along with Spicer return to bolster the defense which lost Jacob Lippe to graduation.

Slinger

2018 Record: 9-3 (7-2)
Points Forced-Allowed Average: 26.3-14.7
Notable Returns: Logan Homberg (RB/LB/P), Connor Goodwin (WR/DB), Hunter Acton (DE/TE)
Notable Losses: Danny Breuer (QB/DB), Jeraed Lighthizer (RB/KR/PR), Nathan Newberg (DB)

Notes: The Owls managed for the most part to avoid the chaos in the mid-tier of the league to finish second behind Homestead last year. The bad news is that Slinger has to replace significant amounts of talent that graduated last season starting with the QB position as Danny Breuer moved on leaving Payton Beisbier to fill the gap. Jeraed Lighthizer who  ran for 1,380 yards last season also graduated but Logan Homberg who rushed for over 800 yards should be able to take the reins just fine but depth will be thin at that position. The Defense must be retooled a bit as their top four players graduated leaving holes that need to be filled.

West Bend East

2018 Record: 6-4 (6-3)
Points Forced-Allowed Average: 28.3-20.0
Notable Returns: Dawson Rendorf (QB/S), Brady Schmidt (RB/LB), Keshan Tishe (WR/LB)
Notable Losses: TJ Simpson (QB/S), Matthew Clark (RB/LB), Mason Kink (WR/DB)

Notes: East ran a balanced offensive attack en route to a third place finish in the North Shore but was upset by conference for Hartford ending their year at 6-4. There is a major hole that need to be filled at QB as TJ Simpson is gone leaving two pass attempts combined between the other two players. However Brady Schmidt who was their top rusher last season returns at the RB position. Another question mark is in the receiving corps as the top three players at that department have moved on.

West Bend West

2018 Record: 0-9 (0-9)
Points Forced-Allowed Average: 7.0-35.8
Notable Returns: Landon Dott (QB/DB/K), Jacob Princl (RB/LB)
Notable Losses: Michael Lang (RB/DB), Eli Tranel (RB/DB), Ethan Hadler (OL/LB)

Notes: The Spartans finished winless last year behind an offensive attack that only generated 63 points all season while giving up over five touchdowns per game. Landon Dott returns to run the offense while Jacob Princl should be getting the most of the carries at RB. However it remains to be seen if what progress could be made towards being competitive against the rest of the league this year.

Whitefish Bay

2018 Record: 5-5 (5-4)
Points Forced-Allowed Average: 18.4-19.0
Notable Returns: Jack Stecker (QB), Drew Garcia (RB/DB), Patrick Muth (RB/LB)
Notable Losses: Patrick Nau (RB/LB), Ian Moret (TE/DB), Cameron Cox (TE/LB)

Notes: Whitefish Bay wasn't that far away from being 7-2 as two opening losses to Slinger and Port Washington were by one score each. They return the most talent among the conference and should be a major factor in the North Shore this year. Among the returnees, Drew Garcia who rushed for over 1,200 yards last year is the top player. Jack Stecker returns to run the offense at QB. The key for the Blue Dukes is how fast can they replace Ian Moret and Cameron Cox who were the top two players on the defensive side of the ball.

Predictions: The North Shore tends to throw out a few interesting results and standings since they went to ten teams in 2017. Homestead should fall back to the back with their losses but should remain the favorite. Whitefish Bay should be the major threat to the Highlanders this season. Then the picture muddles itself opaque as their isn't much of a difference between spots three through eight. Nicolet and Grafton should round out the league again this year.

1. Homestead
2. Whitefish Bay
3. Grafton
4. Hartford
5. Slinger
6. West Bend East
7. Port Washington
8. Cedarburg
9. Nicolet
10. West Bend West

Playoff Spots: Homestead, Whitefish Bay, Grafton
On The Bubble: Everyone minus the top three plus Nicolet and West Bend West.
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db11
Not like I'm going out on a limb here, but I don't see anyone touching Homestead.

Beyond that, it does seem a bit stratified, but this league has sprung surprises before. I really think Grafton is poised for a jump and could nip a Whitefish Bay team that is going to be real young this season (only five returning seniors). Hartford and Slinger may also have a say for those second and third spots as well.

I also was impressed with West Bend East last year and several of those guys are back (plus they have a huge senior class). Definite darkhorse candidate there.

Port Washington loses a lot and did not exactly bleed a lot of underclassmen on varsity a year ago. The Pirates could be in for a rather large drop-off.

I see Cedarburg being the best of the bottom tier, followed by PW. Nicolet took the bigger off-season hit than West Bend West did, so my money is on the Spartans to nab the win in that showdown.
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amped0808
Considering the talent that graduated from Homestead, they will fall back a bit. But as proven in this league before, beating the Highlanders is one thing but staying ahead of them in the standings is another. Will they get pushed a few times in league play? I think so but I pegged them as the favorites until otherwise proven.

I wanted to put Grafton ahead of Whitefish Bay, but I want them to prove it to me that they could be the second best team in the league that has been a minefield recently.

Otherwise I think this league could send a few 4-5 teams to the playoffs if things fall right, and that's a crazy indication how even the middle part of the league has been.
2013 WSN HOF Inductee, 2014 Derek Lendosky Poster of the Year
Wissports HOF Coordinator
Once a Warrior, Always a Warrior
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WLC Men's Tennis: 2013-14 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Tournament Champions (13-10)
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