Jefferson notched the school's 11th-straight playoff appearance in 2017, but to extend that streak, they'll need to do it with a host of new players, as graduation losses affected virtually every position on the Eagles' depth chart.
"People will look and see that we graduated a bunch of seniors," said head coach Steve Gee, "but that's high school football."
Nolan Klawitter will be the notable returning starter to the skill positions on offense, after running for 1,1,24 yards and 14 touchdowns alongside Evan Anfang (who ran for nearly 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior). He'll be surrounded by new starters pretty much everywhere, including at quarterback and at spots on the offensive line. Returning receivers, including Klawitter, combined for 11 of the 45 receptions in 2017.
Defensively, Nathan Hebbe had nearly 100 tackles last season, and he will anchor the front seven of the vaunted Eagles defense. Also at linebacker, Christian Chesmore was fifth on the team in stops last year, and added in a couple of turnovers and a pair of forced fumbles. Ben Sukow, Ryan Brost, Cory Kaiser, and Klawitter all had more than 20 tackles last year, and Sukow and Brost combined for five interceptions and 84 tackles.
"We will be a young team this year," said Gee, "but we have multi-sport athletes, that have competed at varsity [in other sports."
Special teams should be fine in the return game, as several players fielded returns in 2017. Brost, Sukow, Chesmore, and Klawitter were among the players who fielded kicks. Brost also had one punt in 2017, but there's nobody on the roster with any other kicking or punting experience.
Rock Valley Conference teams play nothing but conference games, so it'll be a home game with Big Foot to start the season for the Eagles. Jefferson will get a neutral site for their Week 2 game with McFarland, to be played at UW-Whitewater. Jefferson then returns home for a big August 31 clash with Evansville/Albany.
September begins with a road trip to Brodhead/Juda, and then it's two straight home games for the Eagles. First, it's Edgerton on September 14, and then defending conference champion Clinton makes the trip to Jefferson in Week 6 for Homecoming.
Speaking of Homecoming, Jefferson will play at Beloit Turner for the Trojan's version of it, before coming home one last time in the regular season to face East Troy. The regular season finishes with a road game at Whitewater on October 12.
Here is The Big 1070's interview with Jefferson head coach and athletic director Steve Gee, in which we only spend two minutes talking about concession offerings:
Jefferson Eagles - Rock Valley
Head Coach: Steve Gee (13th Season), 82-41; 16th Overall, 99-54 (6-14 Playoffs)
2017 Result: 8-2 (8-1), 2nd in the Rock Valley (Lost in Level 1 of the Division 3 playoffs to Pewaukee, 41-21)
Three-Year Record: 18-12 (0-3 Playoffs)
2017 All-Conference Honors: 6 First-Team, 4 Second-Team, 3 Honorable Mention (13 total)
Three-Year All-Conference Totals: 16 First-Team, 14 Second-Team, 9 Honorable Mention (36 total)
Returning All-Conference Players (2): RB/LB Nolan Klawitter [🏈 WSN] (1st Team-RB), Sr.; LB/RB Nathan Hebbe (HM-LB), Sr.
Other Players To Watch: OL/DL Jakob Parent, Sr.; DB/RB Ryan Brost, Sr.; TE/DE Cory Kaiser, Sr.; QB/LB Christian Chesmore, Sr.; QB/DB Ben Sukow, Sr.; OL/DE Noah Heine, Sr; DB/TE Sam Hrobsky, Sr.; LB/RB Dean Neff, Jr.
BIG Games: vs McFarland (at UW-Whitewater), August 24; vs Clinton, September 21 (Homecoming); vs East Troy, October 5
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