Arrowhead (2-0): Well it sure was interesting for most of Friday night. Though it was happening hours away, there was some drama in the Milwaukee area when host Hudson took a 27-7 lead in the second half on Arrowhead, but the Warhawks rallied back for a win to remain one of the kings in Wisconsin. But it appears the Warhawks are, at least, human. The team's opening-week win over Homestead came in a fairly convincing performance, an illustration that this year's team should have lofty expectations. Pictured: University of Michigan recruit Ben Bredeson.
Catholic Memorial (2-0): Memorial is officially at "powerhouse" level. Shutting out back-to-back opponents to start the year, including a quality Germantown squad, the Crusaders showed they're going to be tough on teams of any division. That's good news heading into the D1-heavy Classic 8 schedule.
Franklin (2-0): A convincing opening win over Hamilton showed just how good the Sabers can be, but it was the 37-0 win over Greendale on Aug. 27 that really should have our attention. Franklin has gone from a team to watch and become a team to fear. With quality skill position players, linemen and defenders, it's hard to imagine them losing in the regular season at this point. Pictured above: Gavin Boeck.
Muskego (2-0): Holy smokes, Muskego. It comes with the caveat that the nonconference schedule is not loaded, but Muskego notched greater than 12 yards per play in the opening week win over Racine Park, then exceeded that with 17.7 yards per play in a win over Bradley Tech on Aug. 27. The Warriors were up 60-0 at halftime in that game. The Classic 8 is much harder, but Muskego didn't wilt last year against those teams.
Waukesha West (2-0): Playing without injured quarterback Conor Blount, the Wolverines nonetheless came away with a win over Carmel (Illinois), a quality squad that couldn't slow down running back Jair Scott. Circle all the games between the league's Big Four: Arrowhead, West, CMH and Muskego.
Brookfield Academy (2-0): The Blue Knights have eight starters on offense and nine on defense back, including almost the entirety of both lines. Ian Francis threw for three touchdowns and 177 yards in a blowout Week 1 win, and the defense proved stingy in a 26-0 win over Milwaukee Reagan in Week 2.
Brookfield Central (1-1): Central got back on the horse following a Week 1 loss to Whitefish Bay, 35-14, with an easy win over Milwaukee Riverside. Dominic LaBellarte threw two touchdowns and ran for two more in the latter contest. Pictured: Mitch Meaves
Brookfield East (2-0): After going 7-3 last year and tying for second, East brings back some key pieces, notably quarterback TC Swittel (son of coach Tom), running backs Sam Santiago-Lloyd and Mitch Mikulsky, and offensive lineman Mike Caliendo (headed to Western Michigan). Santiago-Lloyd,Mikulsky, Swittel and Santiago-Lloyd (199 yards) all cleared 100 yards in the opener, and all three ran wild again in a Week 2 win over Beaver Dam.
Greendale (0-2): This is still a playoff team in the Woodland and possibly a league favorite, but it's starting to look as if the re-tooled Panthers won't be at the same level they've been in the recent past. A 37-0 loss to Franklin is entirely forgivable for most smaller schools, as Franklin has a very good team this year, and opening-week opponent Menomonie is routinely one of the best in the state. But this is Greendale, a team that has beaten Franklin in the past and expects to be at that level every year.
Homestead (1-1): New turf, same approach. Homestead couldn't replicate the feat of beating Arrowhead, which it has done the past two years, in a Week 1 loss. But the Highalanders eased past Kenosha Indian Trail in Week 2, and Indian Trail came into the year as one of the favorites in the Southeast Conference. The victory marked the first showing on the new field turf in Mequon. Pictured: Matt Winters.
Lake Country Lutheran (1-1): After a shutout win over Racine St. Catherine's, Lake Country Lutheran showed it had momentarily slipped behind Burlington Catholic Central, a team LCL had defeated each of the past three seasons. Still, LCL should still contend in the Midwest Classic in the first season of its new lights at its home stadium.
Oak Creek (2-0): The Knights have moved from "Could Go Either Way" to "Conference Heavyweight" after two things became clear in the nonconference season. One is that the Knights are legit, as an overtime win in Mukwonago demonstrates following another impressive win over Menomonee Falls. Two: the Southeast will provide only limited resistance this year (Franklin, mostly). The Knights look like a surefire playoff team at this point.
South Milwaukee (2-0): The Woodland East Division champs graduated a ton but retain Joey Nelson, a tight end and fullback who will pose problems for the rest of the conference, and four offensive linemen. Quarterback Flynt Kocherer and running back Clay Westrum had strong Week 1 showings, and the Rockets did prevail against West Allis Hale in Week 2 but had to earn it with a 20-14 win in overtime. Lawrence Turner caught the game-winning pass.
Whitefish Bay (1-1): Quarterback Jake Fisher is back, as are skilled backs Van Bassindale and Macklin Kortebein, who combined for more than 1,200 yards last year. Kortebein had one of the biggest showings of Week 1. But Bassindale hasn't seen the field yet this year, and a 12-6 loss to Slinger in Week 2 told us we have to temper expectations just a bit. Pictured: Macklin Kortebein.
Brown Deer (1-1): Brown Deer found itself shut out in Week 1 by Pewaukee and turned around to spin a shutout in Week 2 over Milwaukee Morse/Marshall. TJ Woods threw three touchdowns in the latter victory.
Germantown (1-1): Graduation losses took 29 players from the Warhawks after last year’s 9-2 season, including quarterback Dwayne Lawhorn, Jr. and four other All-Suburban choices. Receiver Conner Edmonds and linebacker Austin Mozdzen are the top returnees. Perhaps we're foolish to doubt Germantown's ability to reload quickly after a Week 1 win over Kenosha Indian Trail, but the Warhawks were shut out in Week 2 against a smaller school (though basically a state power) in Catholic Memorial.
Menomonee Falls (0-2): It counted as a little bit of a surprise when Falls was shut out by Oak Creek in the opening week, and Falls ceded 27 fourth-quarter points against Superior in a 37-20 loss in Week 2. They aren't the type of outcomes that inspire confidence in a potential GMC title run.
Mukwonago (1-1): Much closer to "conference heavyweight" than "sleeper," but Mukwonago did face some dicey moments in the quest to reach the playoffs last year, needing a win over chief rival Arrowhead to get it done. MHS almost staged a big-time comeback against Oak Creek in Week 2 before falling in overtime, and the biggest question remains: can MHS beat one of the Classic 8's "Big Four?"
New Berlin Eisenhower (2-0): The Lions have been notably absent from the postseason since 2011, and this should be the year the Lions return, with numerous offensive weapons returning to the fold. This was a "sleeper" team last week and moves up a category after a resounding win over traditionally strong Plymouth, 31-7, and a 35-0 win over Mauston does nothing to quell new expectations. But can the Lions really boost their profile against Greendale next week?
Oconomowoc (2-0): Oconomowoc is officially back on the map. An opening-week win over Kettle Moraine was no fluke, as it showed with an offensive spectacle against Waukesha South to move to 2-0 (after a one-win 2014). Quarterback Ben Nienhuis and receiver Zach Clayton, both juniors, are two of the biggest playmakers to note in the early season. The Wisconsin Little Ten will be a different, potentially harder challenge, but these are Classic 8 teams that OHS has beaten -- that definitely says something. Pictured: Ben Nienhuis
Pewaukee (1-1): With many new faces on both sides of the ball, Pewaukee is a bit of a Wild Card in the Woodland Conference, but the Pirates aren't the only league team that lost a lot. The Pirates gave Wisconsin Lutheran a strong push in Week 2 before the Vikings went on a late scoring surge, and that bodes nicely for what's ahead. A battle with Wauwatosa West in Week 3 could pay serious dividends for the winner down the road.
St. Francis (2-0): The Mariners have a huge returning 1-2 punch in quarterback Jake Wiedower and running back Evander Craft (1,144 yards and 21 touchdowns last year). Craft ran for 200 yards in a win over St. Thomas More in Week 2.
Sussex Hamilton (0-2): An opening loss to Franklin is entirely forgivable, as was a close loss to Cedarburg in Week 2. It was a tough nonconference schedule, and now the Chargers must work to translate those lessons to the Greater Metro, where Hamilton had to rally late in the season to acquire a playoff berth in 2014.
Greenfield (2-0): Second-year coach Joe Koch said among his team's strengths are an experienced secondary led by senior Tre-Vaughn Craig and junior Donny Reasby and a strong running back in junior Ezekiel Banks, who had five touchdowns in the season-opening win over Career Academy and three more in a big win over Milwaukee Pius, including one in the final two minutes that tipped the scales in a 26-22 victory.
Kettle Moraine (1-1): The graduation loss of first-team All Conference quarterback Mitch Pfeifer is a key blow for a team that came within a heartbeat of the playoffs last year. The Lasers do have some talented pieces on defense, but it's going to take some upsets to make the playoffs out of the Classic 8. KM took a loss to Oconomowoc in Week 1 and rebounded to down Watertown in Week 2.
Messmer/Shorewood (1-1): With coach Drake Zortman back at Homestead as an offensive coordinator, the reins belong to longtime assistant Chad Hofmann in the program’s second year back in the Woodland Conference. DeAngelo Stewart logged an eye-popping 315 yards rushing to down Nicolet in Week 2, an emotional win for the Greyhounds.
University School (1-1): Shamaj Williams ran for 139 yards to help the Wildcats take down Racine Lutheran in Week 2.
Waukesha South (1-1): Speedy running back Anthony Johnson is one of the best offensive weapons in the area, and the Blackshirts demonstrated they could rack up some serious points on top-flight competition last year. The defense could be improved, and that means some eyes could be opened, but it's going to take multiple big-time upsets to reach the playoffs. A loss to Oconomowoc (allowing 52 points) showed that the defense still has some concerns.
Wauwatosa West (2-0): With the Woodland West not appearing as loaded as it has been in years past, there is major opportunity here, especially if the defense plays like it did in the opener against Tosa East. A follow-up win over Grafton in Week 2 should give the Trojans a boost of confidence heading into a key Week 3 battle to start the Woodland season against Pewaukee.
West Allis Hale (0-2): Hale fell to a couple strong programs in Waterford and South Milwaukee in the nonconference season, but the Huskies nearly pulled the upset in Week 2 before falling in overtime.
Cudahy (1-1): Rusty Murphy announced his arrival as a dangerous athlete in the Woodland Conference when he ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in a blowout win over St. Thomas More to open the season. He was 10 for 11 with 155 yards passing. But the Packers came back down to earth with a lopsided loss to talented Wilmot in Week 2.
New Berlin West (0-2): The team’s quarterback, Jonathon Kozlowski, returns after leading the team in both rushing and passing last year, but New Berlin West still has to show it can hang with other Woodland West programs. The Vikings couldn't get past Milwaukee Lutheran in Week 2. Pictured: Jon Kozlowski
Martin Luther (1-1): The Spartans will fight a battle to reach the playoffs in the Metro Classic under first-year coach Rick Hoppert, with Matt Rohleder returning as one of the top offensive weapons. The Spartans opened with a win over Palmyra-Eagle before falling in lopsied fashion to Kettle Moraine Lutheran.
Nicolet (0-2): After canceling the 2014 season, citing lack of numbers, the rebuilding Knights will take heart in their 10-2 record as a JV/varsity reserve unit last year. A strong junior class (19 players) and senior quarterback Adam Plotkin and senior running back JT Zurawski will provide the leadership as Nicolet looks to rise again.
St. John's Northwestern (1-1): Low on numbers and experience, the Lancers will need to pull some surprises to reach the postseason under second-year coach Tim Vice. The Lancers did rack up 52 points in a win over Milwaukee South in week 2, backed by 122 yards and three touchdowns by Matt Grotkiewicz.
St. Thomas More (0-2): The Cavs went winless in Metro Classic play last year and remain on a rebuilding course.
Waukesha North (2-0): One of the best teams in this category has the misfortune of being in the Classic 8, where the majority of teams are amazing. Keep an eye on wideout Kendall Gould, who caught two touchdowns in a 35-0 win over Elkhorn and notched 112 yards receiving in a win over Whitnall. Brendan Demark threw for 120 yards and three scores and ran for 141 and another touchdown in the first game and was on point again in Week 2. Tony Tromblay ran for five touchdowns in the win over Whitnall.
Wauwatosa East (0-2): East did play well defensively in its opening loss to Tosa West and then fell by a 12-7 count to Union Grove in Week 2, so it appears it will limit the output of opponents this year. But it'll need to find some points, too.
West Allis Central (1-1): The Bulldogs lost a tough one to Whitnall in Week 1 but bounced back for a 44-0 victory over Milwaukee Washington in Week 2, the first win under new coach Keith Ringelberg. Brent Hunter and Stacey Andress both ran for two touchdowns in the victory.
Whitnall (1-1): The Falcons started the year with a thrilling win over West Allis Central but fell back to earth a bit with a loss to Waukesha North in Week 2. Even then, the Falcons showed they could still move the ball through the air, with quarterback Kyle Radavich racking up 238 passing yards and two scores. Whitnall was tied with North at halftime, 14-14, before falling by a 48-28 score. Pictured: Austin Brault.
Asking area football coaches their anonymous thoughts on the greater issues of coaching at the prep level:
The advent of social media has created ample opportunity for "trash talk." Is that still something that needs to be guarded against? Do you believe "bulletin board material" can be an incentive that genuinely improves a player's on-field performance? Is there a point where you can be too careful trying to prevent your players from using "trash talk?"
Coach 1: I don't know if it improves performance, but we use it as a piece of motivation if necessary. Anytime there is a real or perceived lack of respect from your opponent, you can and should use it to motivate to whatever level needed. Our athletes react in lots of ways to it, and some pay it no attention at all, while some take it to heart. We warn our kids all of the time that teams and players are already motivated to beat us, so let's not give them anything else. However, it's not like we are the Facebook/Twitter police. At some point, the team has to be more important than anything a kid thinks he wants to say.
Coach 2: I think it is something to think about. We mention it once or twice but don't make a huge deal of it. Bulletin board stuff is overrated as far a motivator. It might work once a year.
Coach 3: Yes, it's too easily accessible and nonsese. It's distracting and watered down anyway. Initially in a game, yes (it can make a difference), but after the initial rush, then it's all about momentum. Like anything, this can be a fine line.
Coach 4: As with everything, we as coaches can only control what we can control. If my players are trash talking, it slaps in the face what we preach in our program. I believe that if a coach needs bulletin board material to fire up his team, then his team is already dead.
Coach 5: I think all of us who coach know that we can’t hide from social media nor can we remove it completely from our kids' lives (even if we wanted to). To me, the best approach on handling this is educating kids on the permanency of social media posts and placing rules specifically on communicating negatively with opposing players. I think in-week trash talk is out the window after the first play of the game.
Coach 6: At times the trash talk on social media can get out of hand. We warn our players to stay away from that stuff. I don’t think bulletin board material plays a huge factor. It may pump a kid up a bit more but not that much. We teach our players to respect everybody but fear nobody.
Coach 7: Can't stand trash talk. Typically, at least at the high school level, those who can, do. Those who can't, talk. Not so worried about bulletin board material as about competing in the right way.
Coach 8: We don't pay attention to what others say or do. We can only control what we do and we don't want our kids talking trash of any sorts. Our job as coaches is to develop character in our student-athletes.
Photo by Scott Ash
Lake Country Lutheran players compete under newly installed stadium lights during their home game against Catholic Central on Aug. 28. Full gallery of Week 2 photos.
Ben Nienhuis and Zach Clayton had something special cooking for the TV cameras in a Thursday-night win over Waukesha South, 52-31. The junior reciever Clayton caught 12 passes for 204 yards and four touchdowns. The fellow junior Nienhuis now has 10 touchdown passes in the first two games after five against South and 359 yards on 28 completions. He also ran for a score, and Oconomowoc (2-0) has more wins than it did all of last year.
Past Players of Week
Macklin Kortebein, Whitefish Bay
How well do you now Wisconsin prep football? Take our specially-crafted Sporcle challenges to find out.
WIAA state titles
Consecutive playoff berths (through 2014)
Franklin has established itself as one of the great teams in the area (and state), so a win over Greendale wasn't a surprise on its own. But a 37-0 victory over the host Panthers in a Thursday showcase game was quite the statement in its margin of victory, especially given that Greendale has had the upper hand in the nonconference series thus far. Greendale may have graduated some top players from last year, but it's still a threat, and the Sabers demonstrated they're ready for the big time.
Germantown surprises Indian Trail
Keep tabs on the former stars of the NOW/Lake Country coverage area as they suit up on Saturdays and Sundays:
Cleveland Browns: Joe Thomas (Brookfield Central) has been a rock in Cleveland, as depicted in this lengthy profile from Grantland. He also had some biting things to say about Deflategate.
Houston Texans: Being considered the No. 1 player in the NFL, as J.J. Watt (Pewaukee) has been anointed, comes with tons of attention, including a breakdown of your diet and a starring role on HBO special "Hard Knocks."
Cincinnati Bengals: There is some buzz that Waukesha native Kevin Zeitler, a Wisconsin Lutheran graduate, might be ready to take a star turn this year on the Bengals' offensive line.
Dallas Cowboys: Injury cost Ben Gardner (Homestead) his rookie year in the NFL, but he could be part of a special defensive unit in 2015. He's turning heads.
Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys know what the metrics say, but they realize Nick Hayden (Arrowhead) brings a lot to the table.
Wisconsin: Joel Stave (Whitnall -- pictured) is the unquestioned starting quarterback for the Badgers in the first year under new coach Paul Chryst.
Wisconsin: TJ Watt (Pewaukee) has switched to outside linebacker after a pair of injury-riddled seasons in the Badgers program.
Wisconsin: Drew Meyer (Arrowhead) looks to bounce back after a rough 2014 as Badgers punter.
Wisconsin: Chikwe Obasih (Brookfield Central) and Alec James (Brookfield East) will need to take a step forward for the Badgers on the defensive line in 2015.
Wisconsin: Joe Schobert (Waukesha West) has become a defensive playmaker for the Badgers, and he can also dunk.
South Dakota: Ryan Saeger (Arrowhead) has been named the starting quarterback at South Dakota.
Sports director JR Radcliffe and Time Warner Sports Channel's JP Cadorin discuss local sports. Latest episode: Where you'll find JP's panic meter on Jordy Nelson, plus a full week of high-school football to kick off the 2015 season.
Mark Stewart and JR Radcliffe discuss high school sports in this weekly video.
Waukesha West (2-0)
Catholic Memorial (2-0)
Others receiving consideration: Homestead (1-1), Oak Creek (2-0), South Milwaukee (2-0)
(updated Aug. 29)
Bite-sized tidbits on area high-school football within the Lake Country and Now Newspapers coverage zone.
While Oconomowoc's quarterback-receiver tandem served as our Player of the Week for Week 2, there were several other eye-popping local performances in the second week of the prep football season. Here's a sampling.
Test your knowledge of the high school football rule book with help from Patrick Miles, a member of the Executive Board of the Milwaukee Officials Association and an official who has worked WIAA state championships, the NCAA Division III national championship and other NCAA contests, including the Big Ten.
Scenario: The holder for Team A takes a snap on a point-after attempt, then rises for a fake and tries to advance toward the end zone. In the process, the holder is tackled and fumbles the ball, though his teammate pounces on it and advances it into the end zone. Is it a successful conversion?
(records portrayed are league, overall)
|West Allis Central||0||0||1||1|
|West Allis Hale||0||0||0||2|
|Kenosha Indian Trail||0||0||0||2|
|New Berlin Eisenhower||0||0||2||0|
|New Berlin West||0||0||0||2|
|West Bend West||0||0||2||0|
|West Bend East||0||0||1||1|
|Living Word Lutheran||0||0||1||1|
|Lake Country Lutheran||0||0||1||1|
|Kenosha Christian Life||0||0||1||1|
|Racine St. Catherine's||0||0||1||1|
|Kenosha St. Joseph||0||0||0||2|
|St. Thomas More||0||0||0||2|
Area statistical leaders (through Week 2)
A look at area teams in the state polls:
Wisconsin State Coaches Poll (Week 1)
2. Arrowhead (1-0)
3. Franklin (1-0)
7. Oak Creek (1-0)
8. Muskego (1-0)
10. Mukwonago (1-0)
1. Waukesha West (1-0)
4. Germantown (1-0)
8. Whitefish Bay (1-0)
1. Catholic Memorial (1-0)
4. Pewaukee (1-0)
10. New Berlin Eisenhower (1-0)
Associated Press Poll (Aug. 24)
2. Arrowhead (1-0)
5. Waukesha West (1-0)
Others receiving votes: Muskego (1-0), Homestead (0-1), South Milwaukee (1-0), Greendale (1-0), Germantown (1-0)
1. Catholic Memorial (1-0)
Others receiving votes: Pewaukee (1-0)
6. Lake Country Lutheran (1-0)