Coach: Matt Kleinheinz, 18th year (87-78).
Last year: 2-8; 2-2 Capitol South; lost 48-18 to Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau in first round of WIAA playoffs.
Returning starters: Seven on offense; seven on defense.
On offense: The graduation loss of do-it-all standout Dylan Horstmeyer — last year’s leading rusher, passer and tackler who also handled punting duties — leaves a lot of gaps for Kleinheinz to fill. One key player will be two-time All-Capitol South lineman Kelby Petersen (6-4, 245), a senior who might move from the line to a different position on the offense. Junior Craig Ward (6-2, 160) saw action at quarterback last year, completing 19 of 41 passes. Top receiver Cole Denniston (5-11, 155, jr., 12 catches, 166 yards) is back. Other returning linemen are seniors Alejandro Ugalde (6-0, 250), Mitchell Gomez (6-4, 270) and Davonte Holmes (6-0, 215) and sophomore Taylor Michalak (6-2, 215). Junior receiver Canon Siedschlag (6-1, 165) also returns.
On defense: Petersen also earned his second straight all-conference honor as a defensive lineman last fall, making 32 tackles and four sacks. Other anchors of the defense will be cornerbacks Siedschlag (18 tackles, eight pass break-ups) and Denniston (15 tackles, two interceptions), who both earned second-team All-Capitol South honors last year. Other returning starters are senior lineman Holmes, junior linebacker Mason Collins (6-0, 175), sophomore linebacker Ramon Campos (6-0, 175) and junior defensive back Bryce Frank (5-10, 165).
Notable: Mason Schroeder suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of the 2019 season, but Kleinheinz said he has worked through a rehabilitation program and should be ready to take the field for his senior season.
Quotable: “While the stats won’t wow anyone from the returning players, many players have seen the field (in the past) and performed well,” Kleinheinz said.