In 2017, Monroe was coming off of a conference championship, but with a big wave of seniors graduating, the Cheesemakers took a step back (but still made the playoffs). 2018, however, is notable in that Monroe brings back a large group of players with experience as they push for another Badger South title.
In the Cheesemakers' offense, the bread and butter is the run game. Six different ball carriers rushed for over 250 yards last season, and a trio of those players are back, led by second-team all-conference running back Jordan Montgomery. He'll be joined by Nick Bansley (honorable mention all-conference) and Ethan Kleckler to form a trio of experienced backs to power Monroe's offense.
Directing the flow of traffic could be up to either of the quarterbacks they used in 2017, Anthony Hernandez or Alex Witt. Monroe only threw for 297 yards in ten games, however, but both players scored rushing touchdowns in 2017. Nobody on the team caught more than five passes last year, but the only receiving touchdown was caught by Bansley, who returns.
Up front, there should be a good mix of experience and youth, with a big wave of linemen coming up in the 2020 class. Jacob Setterstrom earned honorable mention all-conference honors last year on the offensive line.
Defensively, four of the five leading tacklers from last season are gone, but honorable mention all conference linebackers Jacob Amacher and Jordan Montgomery are back, as is second-team all-conference pick Nick Bansley in the defensive backfield. The defense might not have as much experience back, but several players saw action in 2017 that will see a step up in roles for the upcoming season.
Dempzy Foley's graduation leaves holes in all three phases, but also at kicker and punter. In the return game, pretty much everyone who fielded a kick last year is back, and the Cheesemakers have plenty of upperclassmen who touch the ball enough to rely upon to help bringing back kicks.
Monroe begins their 2018 campaign by hosting Reedsburg in the first of two crossover games. They'll get another big test in Week 2 when the Cheesemakers head to DeForest. Badger South play begins with back-to-back home games against Milton and Watertown, but then Monroe plays four of their final five games on the road.
The tough stretch begins with a trip to Stoughton, followed by a road game against defending conference champion Monona Grove. The Cheesemakers' lone home game in the back half of the schedule is against Fort Atkinson on September 28, before finishing the regular season with big road games at Edgewood and Oregon.
Cheesemaker touchdown 7-0 pic.twitter.com/2dNLZozZvU— Monroe_AD (@MHSCheesemaker) September 10, 2016
Monroe Cheesemakers - Badger South
Head Coach: Toby Golembiewski (3rd Season), 15-7 (2-2 Playoffs); 18th Overall, 78-96
2017 Result: 4-6 (3-4), 4th in the Badger South (Lost in Level 1 of the Division 3 playoffs to New Berlin Eisenhower, 34-6)
Three-Year Record: 19-12 (2-2 Playoffs)
2017 All-Conference Honors: 0 First-Team, 5 Second-Team, 6 Honorable Mention (11 total)
Three-Year All-Conference Totals: 3 First-Team, 10 Second-Team, 14 Honorable Mention (27 total)
Returning All-Conference Players (4): RB/DB/ST Jordan Montgomery (2nd Team-RB and HM-LB), Sr.; OL/DL Jacob Setterstrom (HM-OL), Sr.; LB/RB Jake Amacher (HM-LB), Sr.; RB/DB/ST Nick Bansley (2nd Team-DB and HM-RB), Jr.
Other Players To Watch: QB/DB/K/ST Anthony Hernandez, Sr.; RB/DE Ethan Kleckler, Sr.; RB/LB Wade Sweeney, Sr.; TE/DE Kade King, Sr.; OL/DL Jacob Brennan, Sr.; WR/DB Gabe Witt, Sr.; QB/LB Alex Witt, Jr.; RB/DB Aidan Sweeney, Jr.; WR/DB Judson Rikkers, Jr.; TE/LB Jared Dillon, Jr.; OL/DL Julian Gruber, Jr.; OL/DL Bodie Minder, Jr.; OL/DL Darien Hargrove, Jr.; OL/DL Brandon Blum, Jr.; OL/DL Alan Whitehead, Jr.; LB/RB Patrick Rielly, Jr.; LB/RB Tyler Matley, So.
BIG Games: at DeForest, August 24; at Monona Grove, September 21; at Oregon, October 12