Note: HOPE Christian has opted for the alternate season in the spring.
2019 Record: 5-5 (4-2)
Notable Losses: RB/LB Daniel Kim, OL/DL Mark Gundrum, OL/DL Michael Hoggatt
Notable Returnees: QB/DB Jonah Jensen (Jr.), WR/DB Joe Schmidt (Sr.), WR/DL Isaac Schoenwetter (Sr.) RB/DB Jonathan Kim (Jr.), WR/DL/P Logan Kobliska (Sr.), RB/LB Brian Jacob (Sr.), OL/LB Jonathan Strange (Sr.)
Non-Conference Opponent: vs. St. John’s Military Academy (11/6)
Outlook: Gone is multi-year leading rusher Daniel Kim (who was also one of their top defensive players), but the Blue Knights return just about all other contributors from a playoff team, and with Lake Country Lutheran no longer in their way have eyes on the top of the re-aligned Midwest Classic. Jonah Jensen (958 passing yards, 11 TDs, 9 INTs; 512 rushing yards, 6 TDs) returns after a solid debut year at QB and he’ll have plenty of weapons returning to throw to and improve on those numbers. The defense will be spearheaded by Isaac Schoenwetter (86 tackles, 3 sacks) and Brian Jacob (73 tackles).
2019 Record: 6-5 (4-3)
Notable Losses: OL/DL Chas Miles, OL/LB Bennett Robson, WR/LB David Doerflinger, QB/DB Brandon Pum, OL/DL Matt McDonald
Notable Returnees: RB/LB Reid Muellenbach (Sr.), OL/DL Murphy O’Brien (Jr.), RB/DB Neal McCourt (Sr.), RB/LB Henry Amborn (Jr.), TE/LB Cal Miles (Jr.) RB/LB Gabe Stitch (Sr.)
Non-Conference Opponent: vs. St. Francis (10/9)
Outlook: The Hilltoppers, who not that long ago were the king of the Midwest Classic/Metro Classic mountain, are probably glad to be out of the “big schools” division of that private school split. They should settle in nicely in the re-aligned Midwest Classic. Leading rusher Reid Muellenbach returns after going for 842 yards and 9 TDs a year ago. Neal McCourt returns as a #2 option out of the backfield, although McCourt may slide under center to replace Brandon Pum. Defensively, BCC will have to replace the bulk of their tackling production from a year ago, as well as David Doerflinger who nabbed 7 INTs. Another concern will be depth and a very small number of upperclassmen. They also return just three players listed at 200 lbs. or heavier. A lot of spots appear like they will be filled by sophomores. Still, this league should be kinder to their situation than the Metro had been recently.
2019 Record: 3-6 (2-5)
Notable Losses: WR/DB Sean Dlugopolski, OL/DL Ben Jelacic, RB/DB Phillip Jones, RB/LB Justin Daniels, OL/DL Donitelo Carroll
Notable Returnees: TE/DL Delone Austin (Sr.), WR/DB Eferin Burns (Sr.), WR/DB Lee Barnes (Sr.), RB/ DB Jeremy Timmons (Sr.), QB/DB Ian Stefaniak (Jr.), RB/LB Phillip Simpson (Jr.), RB/LB Martez Donson (Jr.)
Non-Conference Opponent: @ Shoreland Lutheran (10/30)
Outlook: Not seeing a Dlugopolski or Jelacic on the roster for what might be the first time in a decade is a bit of a culture shock, but Dominican has gotten themselves in a nice spot over the past few years as far as interest and talented kids in the program that at least somewhat offsets their always low numbers. The Knights will have to develop some linemen, but if they can do that, the amount of experienced skill position guys should be able to put up gaudy numbers in the new conference. QB Ian Stefaniak is going into his second full year as a starter after putting up good numbers (1,799 yards, 20 TDs, 13 INTs) through the air as a sophomore. Three of his favorite targets are back in Eferin Burns (28 receptions, 593 yards, 6 TDs), Jeremy Timmons (24 receptions, 290 yards, 1 TD) and Lee Barnes (25 receptions, 210 yards, 2 TDs). Defense though as always will likely remain an issue.
Kenosha Christian Life
2019 Record: 2-7
Notable Losses: QB/DB Austin Eifert, RB/LB Jacob Shaffer, OL/DL Jimmy Santarelli, OL/DL Evan Grubbs, WR/DB Travis Lucas
Notable Returnees: RB/LB C.J. McDaniel (Sr.), RB/LB Logan Houston (Sr.), QB/DB Erik Decker (So.), WR/LB Carl Travis (Jr.), OL/DL Joel Flores (Jr.), OL/DL Jack Helzer (So.), RB/DB Marcus Ramirez (Jr.)
Non-Conference Opponent: vs. St. John’s Military Academy (10/2)
Outlook: KCL’s return to full-time 11-man football started off well-enough a year ago, but quickly turned into rough outing after rough outing for the young, undersized and varsity-inexperienced group. Things should go a little better this year, but I wouldn’t expect the results to necessarily follow suit with the loss of several players who made up most of the varsity-ready players from a year ago.
Kenosha St. Joseph
2019 Record: 5-4 (3-4)
Notable Losses: RB/DB Jake Gessert, OL/DL Kyle Matrise, PK/WR Patrick Connolly, OL/DL Bradley Jankowski, RB/LB Anthony Scroggins, WR/DB Dominic Stancato
Notable Returnees: QB/DB Jacob Ashmus (Jr.), WR/DB Max McCarville (Sr.), TE/LB John Skurski (Jr.), WR/DB Jack Davidson (Sr.), WR/DB Xavier Neave (Sr.), RB/LB Caden Tolefree (Jr.), RB/DB Calvion Hunter (So.)
Non-Conference Opponent: vs. Watertown Luther Prep (10/23)
Outlook: The Lancers are another program who should benefit from the change of scenery. They’ll have to replace three-year offensive leader Jake Gessert, but there is some young talent behind returning QB Jacob Ashmus, plus leading receiver Max McCarville (33 receptions, 371 yards, 4 TDs) on the outside. Kyle Matrise must be replaced on both sides of the ball, but second-leading tackler Cade Tolefree returns to anchor the defense. St. Joe’s will have to reconfigure a bit along the lines, but there appears to be some size in the program, and numbers in general seem pretty solid across each class.
Living Word Lutheran
2019 Record: 0-9 (0-6)
Notable Losses: QB/RB/LB Tate Rose, OL/DL Gavin Lillyroot, WR/QB/DB Michael Prasch, OL/DL Zach Graff
Notable Returnees: RB/LB/OL Logan Werner (Sr.), WR/LB/RB Jaron Crowder (So.), WR/DB Elijah Flowers (Jr.), WR/DB Roland Gutknecht (Jr.), OL/DL Reid McGraw (So.), OL/DL Trevor Trepte (Sr.)
Non-Conference Opponent: @ Saint Thomas More (9/25)
Outlook: Living Word Lutheran took it on the chin last year, finishing 0-9 and being outscored 434-94. The Timberwolves were young and inexperienced, coming off a banner year in 2018, and it showed. The bright side is 2020 is a new year and a lot of faces who saw the field last year come back with that much more experience. They will have to settle the QB position, but Crowder and Flowers will give the team some quickness out of the backfield and on the edge. Trepte is big body to build around in the trenches. I won’t say brighter days are ahead just yet, but 2020 should be a bit more enjoyable for the Timberwolves.
2019 Record: 11-1 (7-0)
Notable Losses: RB/DB Tyler Tenner, OL/DL/PK David Voss, RB/LB Jaylen Houston, OL/DL Sully Stanke
Notable Returnees: OL/DL Seth Hultman (Jr.), QB/DB Nolan Kraus (Sr.), WR/DL Nathan Zawicki (Sr.), TE/DL Michael Jacobsen (Sr.), OL/LB Tim Nelson (Sr.), WR/LB Noah Schoff (Sr.), WR/DB Gavin Zawicki (Jr.), RB/DB Terrence Suggs (Sr.), RB/LB Isaiah Folsom (Jr.), OL/LB Henry Hoeft (Sr.)
Non-Conference Opponent: @ Watertown Luther Prep (10/16)
Outlook: The Crusaders lose a small, but incredibly successful and productive senior class from a year ago. Gone is Wisconsin prep football’s all-time leading rusher Tyler Tenner who ran for 2,315 yards and 31 TDs a year ago as well as #2 back Jaylen Houston. David Voss and Sully Stanke were multi-year standouts along the lines. While those are some big shoes to fill, RaLu has no shortage of experience and talent returning. Nolan Kraus returns under center, and Camdin Jansen also showed well filling in there last year. Terrance Suggs seems likely to be the #1 back. They’ll be behind a sizable and experienced line anchored by junior Seth Hultman, who enters his third year as a starter. Defensively, they’ll be anchored by leading tackler Noah Schoff at LB, and Kraus. Nathan Zawicki also returns at DE where he registered 7.5 sacks a year ago. The MWC presents an easier path to a conference title than the Metro Classic and there’s no reason to think they won’t repeat as conference champs.
Bonus Preview (area team now part of Trailways Conference):
St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy
2019 Record: 6-4 (4-2)
Notable Losses: OL/DL Rolf Millan, RB/OL/LB Ricardo Barnes, RB/DB Gerald Gittens, TE/DL DC Jensen, WR/DB Nolan Fritsche
Notable Returnees: WR/DB Brandin Podziemski (Sr.), RB/LB Donald Austin (Sr.), QB/DB Philip Austin (Sr.), QB/RB/DB/PK Haydn Bensch (Sr.), RB/DB Josual Rodriguez (Sr.)
Non-Conference Opponent: @ Kenosha Christian Life (10/2); @ Brookfield Academy (11/6)
Outlook: SJNMA moves out of the MWC into what should be an across-the-board more competitive league, but the Lancers remain in a good position to compete with the return of the Austin twins. It’s unclear at this time if Podziemski (indications are he isn’t) will return to the gridiron as he has become a high-major basketball recruit, but if he does, he instantly becomes the biggest playmaking threat in the league. The Lancers will have to replace all-around weapon Gerald Gittens, defensive stalwart Nolan Fritsche and multi-time two-way all-conference linemen Rolf Millan, none of which will be an easy task given roster size, but the program, first under Glenn Derby and now as they transition under former assistant Mike Fink, has developed into a consistent and functional outfit after years in the wilderness of prep football.
1. Racine Lutheran
2. Brookfield Academy
3. Kenosha St. Joseph
5. Catholic Central
6. Kenosha Christian Life
7. Living Word Lutheran
-Racine Lutheran should run away with this thing…just too much talent and experience back. I think Brookfield Academy and Kenosha St. Joseph are a clear-cut #2 and #3. I’ll give a slight edge to Brookfield Academy, who I think is gonna have a good year. Dominican and BCC are the next tier with Dominican getting the edge due to returning playmakers, whereas BCC has struggled generating big-play offense for a few years now. Kenosha Christian Life and Living Word Lutheran will bring up the bottom. Not sure what to expect from either to be honest, but I have to believe they’ll both be improved from a year ago.