2018 High School Football Preview: Badger South

posted by Jimmie Kaska - 

Monona Grove regained the conference crown last season, going 11-1 and lighting up scoreboards along the way. Despite graduating a small but outstanding senior class, the Silver Eagles are still the favorites for 2018, but will see all sorts of challenges along the way in the talented and deep Badger South.

Monona Grove will send Alec Ogden, Jackson Thomsen, Lucas Gerlach, and others on to life beyond high school, while Stoughton graduated one of the state's best players in Brady Schipper after last season. With perhaps a little more parity at the top, the conference should be a little more balanced than it was last year. Oregon appears primed for a big year, two years after an injury-marred one-win campaign and one year after bouncing back into the playoffs. Monroe and Watertown feature explosive offenses in contrasting styles (run and pass, respectively), while Milton was a few close losses away from the playoffs in 2017. Edgewood and Fort Atkinson are under new management for 2018, making the conference even more unpredictable.

With five playoff teams last year, the Badger South flashed its depth and that will be on display again in 2018. The South also dominated the crossover games, 10 games to six, against the Badger North.

The WFCA's football-only conference realignment proposal directly impacts the Badger South, as under the proposal, both Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker enter the Badger South, while Edgewood and Monroe are sent to the Rock Valley. There's also discussion of dividing the Badger into large/small, further muddying the long-term outlook for which teams will be in what division after next season. Below is our preview of the Badger South 2018 season. The Big 1070's Jimmie Kaska and WFCA Hall of Fame and state champion head coach Mike Stassi talk to the coaches and preview the upcoming season:

Badger South Conference

2018 Full Schedule

Conference Champions: Monona Grove - 2017; Monroe - 2016; Milton and Monona Grove - 2015; Milton and Monona Grove, 2014

State Participants: Monona Grove - 2016 (D2 Runner-up)

2017 Combined Playoff Record: 3-5 (Monona Grove 2-1)

2017 Combined Non-Conference Record: 10-6 (Monona Grove, Stoughton, and Milton 2-0)

BIG Games: DeForest at Oregon, August 17; Oregon at Monona Grove, August 31 🔊Madison Taxi Game of the Week; Stoughton at Oregon, September 21 🔊Madison Taxi Game of the Week; Stoughton at Monona Grove, October 5

WSN Top Seniors: LB Trenton Herber, Monona Grove; LB John Klus, Oregon; DB Jalen Ostrowski, Monona Grove; P Cade Spilde, Stoughton; OL Michael Williams-Davis, Monona Grove

2018 Badger South Preseason All-Conference Team

QB: Thomas Hartlieb (SR), Edgewood (H)

RB/FB: Jordan Montgomery (SR), Monroe (2); Keion Szudy (SR), Oregon (2); Nick Bansley (JR), Monroe (H)

WR: Jack Haufle (SR), Oregon (H); Sam Hepp (SR), Monona Grove (H)

TE: Daniel Denault (JR), Watertown (2)

OL: Jack Nelson [🏅OLY] (JR), Stoughton (1); Michael Williams-Davis [🏈WSN] (SR), Monona Grove (1); Nathan Wilcox (JR), Monona Grove (1); Eric Hessenhauer (SR), Milton (H*); Tyler Bartz (SR), Watertown (H); Matt Brewster (SR), Watertown (H); Max Hengst (SR), Monona Grove (H); Alex Nachtigall (SR), Watertown (H); Jack True (SR), Stoughton (H); Jacob Setterstrom (SR), Monroe (H)

DL: Jordan Flodin (SR), Fort Atkinson (H); Sam Gronski (SR), Monona Grove (H)

LB: Trenton Herber [🏈WSN] [🏅DPY] (SR), Monona Grove (1); John Klus [🏈WSN] (SR), Oregon (1); Jake Amacher (SR), Monroe (H); Ethan Beenher (SR), Monona Grove (H); Jordan Montgomery (SR), Monroe (H); Drew Pasold (SR), Stoughton (H)

DB: Jalen Ostrowski [🏈WSN] (SR), Monona Grove (1); Nick Bansley (JR), Monroe (2)

K: Paul Kujawski (SR), Watertown (H); Jack Haufle (SR), Oregon (H)

P: Cade Spilde [🏈WSN(SR), Stoughton (2)

All Selections Are Returning 2017 All-Conference Picks - 1=1st Team, 2=2nd Team, H=Honorable Mention; *indicates multiple-time selection at the position

Edgewood Crusaders (Madison) - Badger South

Head Coach: Jesse Norris (1st Season) 0-0 (2nd Career Season, 2-8)

2017 Result: 1-8 (1-6), 7th in the Badger South

2017 All-Conference Honors: 1 First-Team, 3 Second-Team, 6 Honorable Mention (10 total)

Returning All-Conference Players (1): QB/DB Thomas Hartlieb (HM-QB), Sr.

BIG Games: vs Mount Horeb/Barneveld, August 17; vs Stoughton, August 31; vs Monona Grove, September 7; vs Oregon, September 28

Fort Atkinson Blackhawks - Badger South

Head Coach: Brady Gravold (1st Season)

2017 Result: 3-6 (2-5), 6th in the Badger South

2017 All-Conference Honors: 2 First-Team, 3 Second-Team, 7 Honorable Mention (12 total)

Returning All-Conference Players (1): OL/DL Jordan Flodin (HM-DL), Sr.

BIG Games: vs Waunakee, August 17; at Monona Grove, September 14; vs Milton, October 5

Milton Red Hawks - Badger South

Head Coach: Matt Lee (3rd Season), 6-12 Overall

2017 Result: 3-6 (1-6), 7th in the Badger South

2017 All-Conference Honors: 1 First-Team, 2 Second-Team, 4 Honorable Mention (7 total)

Returning All-Conference Players (1): T/DT Eric Hessenhauer (HM-OL in 2017 and 2016), Sr.

BIG Games: at Reedsburg, August 24; vs Oregon, September 14; vs Monona Grove, September 28 (Homecoming)

Monona Grove Silver Eagles - Badger South

Head Coach: Brandon Beckwith (4th Season), 31-6 Overall (7-3 Playoffs; 2016)

2017 Result: 11-1 (7-0), 🏆1st in the Badger South (Lost in Level 3 of the Division 2 playoffs to Waukesha West, 28-7)

2017 All-Conference Honors: 12 First-Team, 3 Second-Team, 7 Honorable Mention (22 total)

Returning All-Conference Players (8): LB/RB Trenton Herber [🏈 WSN] (🏅co-Defensive Player of the Year) (1st Team-LB), Sr.; DB/WR Jalen Ostrowski [🏈 WSN] (1st Team-DB), Sr.; T/NT Michael Williams-Davis [🏈 WSN] (1st Team-OL), Sr.; LB/RB/ST Ethan Beenher (HM-LB), Sr.; WR Sam Hepp (HM-WR), Sr.; G Max Hengst (HM-OL), Sr.; DL Sam Gronski (HM-DL), Sr.; G Nathan Wilcox (1st Team-OL), Jr.

BIG Games: vs Oregon, August 31 (🔊Madison Taxi Game of the Week); vs Monroe, September 21; vs Stoughton, October 5 (Homecoming)

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)

2017 All-Conference Honors: 0 First-Team, 5 Second-Team, 6 Honorable Mention (11 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.

BIG Games: at DeForest, August 24; at Monona Grove, September 21; at Oregon, October 12

Oregon Panthers - Badger South

Head Coach: Dan Kissling (9th Season), 26-51 (1-3 Playoffs)

2017 Result: 6-4 (5-2), 3rd in the Badger South (Lost in Level 1 of the Division 2 playoffs to Stoughton, 28-7)

2017 All-Conference Honors: 4 First-Team, 4 Second-Team, 5 Honorable Mention (13 total)

Returning All-Conference Players (3): LB/RB/P John Klus [🏈 WSN] (1st Team-LB), Sr.; RB/LB Keion Szudy (2nd Team-RB), Sr.; WR/DB/K Jack Haufle (HM-WR), Sr.

BIG Games: at Monona Grove, August 31 (🔊Madison Taxi Game of the Week); vs Stoughton, September 21 (Homecoming) (🔊Madison Taxi Game of the Week); at Edgewood (Breese Stevens), September 28

Stoughton Vikings - Badger South

Head Coach: Dan Prahl (4th Season), 17-13 Overall (1-2 Playoffs)

2017 Result: 9-2 (6-1), 2nd in the Badger South (Lost to Waukesha West 35-0 in Level 2 of the D2 Playoffs)

2017 All-Conference Honors: 5 First-Team, 5 Second-Team, 9 Honorable Mention (19 total)

Returning All-Conference Players (4): OT/DL Jack Nelson (1st Team-OL; co-OLY), Jr.; RB/LB/P Cade Spilde [🏈WSN] (2nd Team-P), Sr.; G/DL Jack True (HM-OL), Sr.; RB/LB Drew Pasold (HM-LB), Sr.

BIG Games: at Oregon, September 21 [🔊 Madison Taxi Game of the Week]; vs Watertown, September 28 (Homecoming); at Monona Grove, October 5

Watertown Goslings - Badger South

Head Coach: Benji Kamrath (10th Season), 44-46 Overall (3-7 Playoffs)

2017 Result: 4-6 (3-4), 4th in the Badger South (Lost in Level 1 of the Division 2 playoffs to Menasha, 49-21)

2017 All-Conference Honors: 2 First-Team, 2 Second-Team, 7 Honorable Mention (11 total)

Returning All-Conference Players (5): K/LB/QB Paul Kujawski (HM-K), Sr.; OL/DL Alex Nachtigall (HM-OL), Sr.; OL/DL Matt Brewster (HM-OL), Sr.; OL/DL Tyler Bartz (HM-OL), Sr.; TE/LB Daniel Denault (2nd Team-WR), Jr.

BIG Games: vs Beaver Dam, August 17; at Waunakee, August 24; vs Oregon, October 5 (Homecoming)

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