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Capitol football preview: 3 things you need to know this season

Capitol football preview: 3 things you need to know this season

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In a realigned Capitol Conference, the competition is expected to be fierce in the race for playoff spots. 

In addition to Columbus, Lake Mills, Lakeside Lutheran, Lodi and Watertown Luther Prep, the conference includes Walworth Big Foot, Horicon/Hustisford and Beloit Turner. 

Here are three key things to watch for area teams with the first games right around the corner:

Can Watertown Luther Prep and Lakeside Lutheran build off last fall?

Both Watertown Luther Prep and Lakeside Lutheran played during the normal time of football season last fall, and each team proved their prowess.

Lakeside Lutheran won each of its first six games by an average of 21 points before losing to Lake Mills by two in the season finale. Luther Prep won its final six games after losing the first two, notching shutouts in the final four. 

However, both teams will have to overcome key losses to repeat those performances. 

Lakeside Lutheran lost top rusher Micah Cody (759 yards, 11 TDs), who also was the team’s fourth-leading receiver (seven receptions, 74 yards). The Warriors lost their top three receivers — Brendan McKenna (nine/141), tight end John O’Donnell (12/183/two touchdowns) and Tersony Vater (15/210/two). 

Meanwhile, Luther Prep lost quarterback Elijah Shevey (36-for-59, 415 yards, four passing TDs, three rushing TDs), in addition to lead running back Jon Holtz (450 yards, seven TDs), who also was the team’s top receiver (seven/95/one TD).

Will Lodi and Columbus playing last spring prove to be advantageous?

Lodi and Columbus didn't compete in the fall season in 2020, but both teams made the most of their respective slate of games in the WIAA's alternate fall season in the spring.

Lodi ran the table, winning all six games by double digits except for a 17-14 victory over Columbus, which won its other five games and scored at least 35 points in each one. Furthermore, each side has returning stars and should have expectations to win the conference as a result. 

Senior running back Lucas Heyroth leads Lodi’s offense as one of the top players in the state, and he’ll have all-state honorable-mention offensive lineman Mitchell Lane anchoring the unit blocking for him.

For Columbus, the Cardinals' leader in tackles-for-loss and total tackles, Malani Aragon, returns along with tight end and linebacker Colton Brunell, who played well beyond his years as a freshman. 

It’s only been a few months since each of these teams played their most recent game in the spring season. Will that make it easier to carry their momentum into the fall? Or will it cause players to wear down more than normal as the season trudges on? 

How will Lake Mills move on from Moen?

Moving past the loss of key players is a natural part of high school football, regardless of how good or bad a team is. But not all losses are equal, and Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Small Schools offensive player of the year Adam Moen has left a gaping hole at the quarterback position for Lake Mills.

Junior Caden Belling got a sideline view to Moen’s performance last season and should be prepared for his opportunity to quarterback the offense.

Having star slot receiver Michael Stenbroten (31/347/four touchdowns) will help, but the L-Cats will have to overcome losing their top two receivers in Charlie Bender (24/358/three TDs) and all-state honorable-mention pick Jaxson Retrum (55/889/11). 




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