A quarter-century-long playoff streak was snapped in 2017, so the Brodhead/Juda Cardinals set out to begin a new playoff streak in 2018, with nearly everyone coming back from last year's team and a focus on bouncing back from last season.
"Our senior class has played a lot of football the past two seasons, so their leadership will be important for our younger guys," said head coach Jim Matthys. "Our depth overall should be better than 2017."
While the Cardinals do lose their starting quarterback and their top backup running back from last year, the entire offensive line is back, as is second-team all-conference running back Jeffrey Williams. Williams ran for 804 yards and seven touchdowns last year. Marco Bueno added 313 yards and a pair of scores as well. On the outside, their top receiver from a year ago is out, but plenty of experienced players are back, including Justice Tway and Seth Allen, who combined for 15 catches and five touchdowns.
Defensively, Williams is back after racking up 60 tackles (45 solo, tops on the team), eight for a loss, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery last season. In fact, all but two regulars are back, so like the offense, the defense returns in pretty good shape as well.
Special teams-wise, Williams took two kick returns to the house, and Seth Allen led the team in return yardage. The Cardinals will need a new punter, and after four players attempted extra points last year, possibly a kicker as well.
In the always-difficult Rock Valley Conference, there are no non-conference games. So, Brodhead/Juda will get right into it, hosting Evansville/Albany in Week 1 and defending conference champion Clinton in Week 2. On August 31, the Cardinals will head over on Highway 59 to Edgerton, to take on the rising Crimson Tide. Brodhead/Juda returns home for a Week 4 game against Jefferson.
Another tough road game awaits on September 14, when the Cardinals visit Beloit Turner. Brodhead/Juda's fourth home game in six weeks is against a loaded East Troy team, that much like Brodhead/Juda brings back plenty from a year ago.
Week 7 is a road game at Whitewater, before hosting Big Foot in Week 8 and a regular-season finale at McFarland on October 12.
Here is The Big 1070's interview with Brodhead/Juda head coach Jim Matthys:
Brodhead/Juda Cardinals - Rock Valley
Head Coach: Jim Matthys (11th Season) 76-38* (also coached 2004-11) - 18-9 Playoffs
*Matthys is 79-38 in his coaching career based on the season-ending record of each year that he coached, but have chosen to use here the information provided to us by Coach Matthys.
2017 Result: 2-7 (2-7), 7th in the Rock Valley
Three-Year Record: 11-18 (0-2 Playoffs)
2017 All-Conference Honors: 1 First-Team, 2 Second-Team, 3 Honorable Mention (6 total)
Three-Year All-Conference Totals: 8 First-Team, 10 Second-Team, 9 Honorable Mention (27 total)
Returning All-Conference Players (2): RB/LB/ST Jeffrey Williams (2nd Team-RB; HM-FB in 2016), Sr.; G/LB Nick Noonan (HM-LB), Sr.
Other Players To Watch: WR/DB/ST Seth Allen, Sr.; G/DE Jon Elsner, Sr.; T/DE Matt Mordhorst, Sr.; DE/OL/TE Jeremiah Darwin, Sr.; DB/QB Quinton Kammerer, Sr.; OL/DL Jacob Mahlkuch, Sr.; FB/LB Marco Bueno, Jr.; C/LB Dayton Oliver, Jr.; DT Jake Miller, Jr.; RB/CB Max Harding, Jr.; LB/G Shannon Condon, Jr.; DB/QB Dalton Naramore, Jr.; RB/S Nick Naramore, Jr.; DT Dakota Naramore, Jr.; WR/CB Justice Tway, Jr.; LB/FB Theo Policastro, Jr.; WR/DE Cesar Salgado, Jr.; G/LB Lucas Davidson, Jr.;
BIG Games: vs Evansville/Albany, August 17; vs Clinton, August 24; vs East Troy, September 21