The core of the Lakeside Lutheran for the past season plus has been the 2019 class, with a half-dozen players in the group that have been starting since they were sophomores. Now, that class is preparing for their senior seasons, looking to take the next step in the postseason for the Warriors this year.
Much like the other sports that the Warriors' athletes play in, last year's successes came with the wonder of what this group could do as seniors, and that's what the upcoming season will prove.
A major threat on the basketball court as well, quarterback/defensive back Jack Monis will be back to help direct Lakeside's run-powered offense last year, which will be minus one of the Warriors' 1,000-yard rushers next season. The other, Monis, will have new backfield tandems to operate with for a team that piled up over 3,300 yards and 40 touchdowns on the ground in 2017.
Those backfield mates will likely include running backs Casey Ponyicsanyi and Brevin Jegerlehner, who each got carries in the majority of games last season, but there will be opportunity for other backs to step up, such as Carter Buchta or backup quarterbacks Isac Veers and Matthew Davis.
A big spot to fill will be in the pass catching department, with last year's leading receiver Dustin Pampel now graduated, but another basketball starter, Will DeNoyer, was second on the team in most receiving categories. DeNoyer is the only returning player who caught a pass in 2018. Cameron Paske, the team's starting left tackle for the past two years and yet another basketball starter, will move to tight end to fill the spot vacated by Pampel's graduation.
Defensively, Ponicsanyi and Monis were the second- and third-leading tackles on the team last year. They'll be joined by Jegerlehner, Veers, Buchta, and DeNoyer as some of the returning defensive contributors, behind a solid defensive line packed with experience and playmaking. Cameron Paske, Caleb Raymond, Tyler Holzhueter, Austin Meyer, and Charlie Miller all return to man the front lines.
Offensive line should be a boon as well, even with Paske changing positions. Raymond and Holzhueter started at right tackle and center, and with Paske lining up on either side of the line as a tight end, the three should pack a good punch up front for a team that ran the ball very well in 2017. Jacob Ulrich, the team's long snapper, and 273-pound lineman Jonah Rupnow are also back in the fold for the Warriors, and for the most part, anyone listed to play defensive line is on the offensive line depth chart as well.
Jegerlehner was the secondary punt and kick returner last year, so it figures he may see a bump up in yardage totals in 2018. In the kicking game, Noah Gartner has graduated, but the team listed senior Ryan Preskar and sophomore Tersony Vatter as kickers on last year's depth chart and Carter Buchta as a punter. The team will also be searching for a new kick holder, although they will return Ulrich as a long snapper for 2018.
On the field, the Warriors have a pretty diverse non-conference schedule. In their four non-conference games, battles against South Central Conference foes Adams/Friendship (road, Week 1) and Wautoma (home, Week 4) sandwich a pair of games against Elkhorn on the road in Week 2, but then a big test in Week 3 on August 31 when Lake Country Lutheran, the Division 5 runner-up finisher last season, makes the trip to Lake Mills.
Capitol North play begins with the first of three conference home games on September 14, when Columbus is in town. The Warriors play at Luther Prep before returning home for the cross-town showdown with Lake Mills in Week 7, then bring in Poynette for a Week 8 battle. The season wraps up with the state's champion in Division 4, Lodi, at Lodi.
Thanks to Lakeside Lutheran head coach Paul Bauer, who made available all of the information The Big 1070 requested for this preview available and answered all the questions that we had.
Lakeside Lutheran Warriors (Lake Mills) - Capitol North
Head Coach: Paul Bauer, 18th year; 108-63 Overall (7-13 Playoffs) - 6 Conference Championships
2017 Result: 6-4 (3-2), 3rd in the Capitol North (Lost in Level 1 of the Division 3 playoffs to Lake Mills, 42-26)
Three-Year Record: 16-12 (0-1 Playoffs)
2017 All-Conference Honors: 4 First-Team, 5 Second-Team, 2 Honorable Mention (11 total)
Three-Year All-Conference Totals: 10 First-Team, 13 Second-Team, 12 Honorable Mention (35 total)
Returning All-Conference Players (6): LB Casey Ponyicsanyi [🏈 WSN] (1st Team-LB and 2nd Team-LB in 2016), Sr.; RT/DT Caleb Raymond (1st Team-OL) [🏈 WSN], Sr.; WR/LB/ST Will DeNoyer (1st Team-WR) [🏈 WSN], Sr.; QB/DB Jack Monis (2nd Team-QB and HM-DB in 2016) [🏈 WSN], Sr.; C/DL Tyler Holzhueter (2nd Team-OL), Sr.; DB/RB/ST Brevin Jegerlehner (HM-DB and ST in 2016), Sr.
Other Players To Watch: TE/DE Cameron Paske, Sr.; LB/QB Isac Veers, Sr.; OL/DL Charlie Miller, Sr.; LB/RB/P Carter Buchta, Sr.; OL/DL Austin Meyer, Sr.; LB/TE Ethan Neumann, Sr.; DL Jared Milbrath, Sr.; OL/DL/LS Jacob Ulrich, Sr.; WR/DB Caleb Kuepers, Sr.; OL/DL Jonah Rupnow, Sr.; K/WR/CB Ryan Preskar, Sr.; QB/DB Matthew Davis, Jr.; K/WR/CB Tersony Vatter, So.
BIG Games:: vs Lake Country Lutheran, August 31; at Luther Prep, September 21; vs Lake Mills, September 28; at Lodi, October 12