Lake Mills

Last season’s recap: The L-Cats finished 10-2 last season and lost to Catholic Memorial in a Division 4 level 3 playoff game. The team won its first Capitol Conference title since 1988.

Coach’s resume: Tyler Huber — a former UW-Whitewater receiver — will enter his first year as a head coach at Lake Mills. He was previously was an assistant for Johnson Creek.

Top returners: Lake Mills returns a talented senior class, none more than the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year in the Capitol Conference North Division, Adam Moen.

Moen eclipsed the state record for most combined passing and rushing yards with 4,477. He threw for 3,517 yards and 39 touchdowns and ran for 960 yards, scoring 21 times on the ground. His 60 combined touchdowns were thought to be second-most in state history behind Cedar Grove-Belgium’s Josh Weiss’s 65 in 2016.

Other key returners include Charlie Cassady, Charlie Bender, Grant Horkan, Josh Lescohier, Tyler Theder and Jaxson Retrum. Cassady (ILB), Horkan (OLB), Lescohier (DL) and Theder (DE) were all named to the conference’s first team last season. Brayden Ciesiolka was a first-team kicker last season for the L-Cats.

Departing players: Lake Mills lost three starters on offense and two on defense. A talented junior class and a deep sophomore class will look to fill those spots, according to Huber.

Season thoughts: “Looking forward to this season and watching these boys play,” Huber said. “The last nine weeks the boys have been working hard in the weight room and are ready.”

Cambridge

Last season’s recap: Cambridge won its third-straight Capitol South Conference title in 2019 as the Blue Jays finished 9-2. Cambridge defeated Palmyra-Eagle in a wild Division 6 level 1 playoff game, before running into Tyler Tenner and losing to Racine Lutheran for the second straight year.

Coach’s resume: Mike Klingbeil comes back to Cambridge for year 15. Klingbeil has collected an 88-57 record in his first 14 seasons with the Blue Jays.

Top returners: Cambridge returns four-year starter Ryan Lund. The senior OL/DL was a first-team selection in the Capitol South last season on both offense and defense. Erza Stein also returns as the Blue Jays’ quarterback from last season. The dual-threat was a first-team conference selection last season and also was a first-teamer at linebacker and a second-team selection at kicker.

Departing players: The Blue Jays lose six seniors from last year’s team.

“We have a very strong class of juniors willing to step up,” Klingbeil said. “Some of them played one way last year and will play two ways this year.”

Klingbeil specifically noted junior Trey Colts should be an impact player for the Blue Jays this season at running back and defensive back.

Season thoughts: “We’re hoping to be able to play,” Klingbeil said.

Lakeside Lutheran

Last season’s recap: Lakeside Lutheran was tied with Spring Green in the fourth quarter of a Division 4 level 3 playoff game, but the Warriors ended up falling in the road game to end its season. Overall, Lakeside finished 7-5 on the season.

Coach’s resume: Paul Bauer enters his 20th season with the Warriors, collecting a 126-70 record so far.

Top returners: Key returners for the Warriors include Tersony Vater, Micah Cody, John O’Donnell, Nathan Chesterman and Will Jorgensen. Vater was second on the team in receiving yards last season with 466, while Cody was third on the roster in rushing yards with 433.

Chesterman was second in tackles on the team with 87, while Vater and Cody also were top five in tackles.

Departing players: Lakeside loses nine seniors, including three starters. The Warriors lose quarterback Matt Davis, who was a second-team Capitol North selection last season. Other key departures include Carter Schneider, Logan Pampel and Ian Olyzewski.

Season thoughts: “It won’t be a normal season, but we’re glad to be trying to give the boys a fall football experience,” Bauer said.

Johnson Creek

Last season’s recap: Johnson Creek upset No. 3 seeded Winnebago Lutheran in the first round of the Division 6 tournament. The Bluejays went on to lose to eventual Division 6 champion St. Mary’s Spring Fond du lac in level 2.

Johnson Creek finished the season 8-3.

Coach’s resume: Head coach Tim Wagner has been at the helm in Johnson Creek for over three decades, making this season his 34th year. He enters the season with a 183-139 mark.

Top returners: Howie Olszewski takes over as Johnson’s Creek leader as well as the feature back this season. Olszewski averaged 7.1 yards per carry last season for the Bluejays.

Bow Hartwig — who Wagner described as a tremendous athlete — will be a two-way contributor for Johnson Creek. Wyatt Owen returns as a tight end threat and a mobile linebacker for the Bluejays, while Sam Toebe will be a leader on both the offensive and defensive lines.

Departing players: Johnson Creek loses two-time Trailways Player of the Year, Justin Swanson. Braden Walling is the man set to take Swanson’s place under center this season.

The Bluejays also lose all-conference lineman Nick Hoffmann.

Season thoughts: “We obviously are very excited about the opportunity to play,” Wagner said. “We should be really competitive this year. Our goals are always the same in regards to competing for a conference championship and advancing into the playoffs. We lost an outstanding group of seniors from last year, but we are excited about the upcoming players in our program.”

Palmyra-Eagle

Last season’s recap: Palmyra-Eagle’s air raid matched up with a stout Cambridge defense in level one of the Division 6 playoffs last season, but the Panthers came up short. Palmyra-Eagle finished 7-2 and second in the Trailways Large.

Coach’s resume: Carey Venne enters his first season as the Panthers’ head coach. He has collected an overall head coaching record of 103-35. He took Cudahy to a state title in 1994.

Top returners: Seniors Casey Webber, Aiden Calderon, Ryan Carpenter, Tony Jrolf and Christian Eddy are back as the Panthers impact players.

“They will lead a group that looks to be very versatile and football savvy,” Venne said.

Calderon — an-all state basketball player — and Eddy look to be some of Palmyra-Eagle’s biggest threats on offense at tight end and wide receiver, respectively.

Departing players: The Panthers lost one of the state’s top passers — Brandon Wilde — and his favorite target Danny Hammond. Wilde passed for 2,932 yards last season, while Hammond was second in the state with 83 catches. He will play wide receiver at DIII powerhouse UW-Whitewater.

The Panthers also lost key contributors on their line.

Chance Scheel and Joey Brown will look to take over Wilde’s duties this season at quarterback. Levi Carpenter, Ryan Carpenter and Jacob Hammond will be impact players out of the backfield for the Panthers as well.

Season thoughts: “I am so happy that our seniors as well as those on other teams will get an opportunity to play this fall,” Venne said. “The WIAA has given all schools a chance to compete.”

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