2017 High School Football Preview: Edgerton

Edgerton Crimson Tide - Rock Valley

Coach: Mike Gregory (19th Season), 72-82 Overall

2016 Result: 1-8 (1-8), 9th in the Rock Valley

Three-Year Record: 8-19

2016 All-Conference Honors: 1 First-Team, 3 Second-Team, 2 Honorable Mention (6 total)

Three-Year All-Conference Totals: 7 First-Team, 11 Second-Team, 8 Honorable Mention (26 total)

Returning All-Conference Players (2): QB/DB Jaden Johnson (Honorable Mention-QB), Jr.; FB/LB Mason Simmons (Honorable Mention-LB), Jr.

Other Players To Watch: OL/DL Noah Albers, Sr.; FB/LB Dan Zeimet, Sr.; RB/LB B.K. Sanders, Sr.; OL/DL Tyler Bavery, Sr.; RB/DB Zander Gonzalez, Sr.; RB/LB Kody Finco, Sr.; OL/LB/K Cesar Ochoa, Jr.; OL/DL Jordan Leitz, Jr.; QB/WR/DB/KR Skyler Gullickson, So.

2017 Schedule: Go Here

BIG Games: August 25 at McFarland, September 8 vs Whitewater, September 15 at Evansville/Albany, September 22 vs Brodhead/Juda (Homecoming)

Edgerton's football program has long been in good hands.

Current Edgerton Head Coach Mike Gregory, who is a member of Wisconsin's high school baseball Hall of Fame (WBCA), took over the program after his father, Jack Gregory, finished his career with 207 victories. Jack is in the WFCA Hall of Fame.

While Edgerton will keep most of its linebackers, defensive linemen, and offensive backfield intact, they will see plenty of new faces at wide receiver, defensive back, and sprinkled along the lines. The experience and talent of some of the underclassmen from last year will begin to show this year and next.

That's why there's plenty of optimism for a program that could only manage one victory last year.

For starters, two of Edgerton's top players, Jaden Johnson and Mason Simmons, earned honorable mention all-conference recognition last season as sophomores. Both of those players return a year more experienced. 

A group of seven returning seniors also is back in action. Two-way lineman Noah Albers leads the way. Albers led the team in tackles a season ago. Fullback Dan Zeimet, who also plays linebacker, also will return as a senior for Edgerton. The Crimson Tide also retain the services of leading rusher B.K. Sanders, who was fourth on the team in tackles defensively. Seniors Tyler Bavery, Zander Gonzalez, and Kody Finco figure to see larger roles after solid contributions in 2016.

Along with Johnson and Simmons in the junior class, Cesar Ochoa returns to the linebacker group on defense, and Jordan Leitz will be back in the mix as a two-way lineman as well after the lines suffered heavy graduation losses.

Skyler Gullickson played several positions, including special teams, as a freshman on varsity in 2016 and will compete for playing time with several defensive backs and wide receivers graduating.

While Edgerton will keep most of its linebackers, defensive linemen, and offensive backfield intact, they will see plenty of new faces at wide receiver, defensive back, and sprinkled along the lines. The experience and talent of some of the underclassmen from last year will begin to show this year and next.

On the schedule, because the Rock Valley is a closed conference (the 10 teams play nine games, all against other Rock Valley opponents), Edgerton will see the same schedule of teams as they did last year.

The Tiders fared pretty well in their first four games of 2016, despite playing on the road for three of the games (and dropping three of the four contests). In 2017, the home fields reverse, so Edgerton will see three of those four teams at home, who they collectively were only outscored by 16 by one year ago while going 1-3 to begin the season.

It all starts with a home game against Turner, who Edgerton lost 26-13 to a year ago in the 2016 opener. From there, it's a road game at McFarland, only a ten-point loss last year.

Back-to-back home games have the Crimson Tide battling East Troy, who shut out Edgerton last season 26-0. Edgerton's lone victory of last year's campaign came against Whitewater, 39-6, also their opponent for Week 4 this season.

Much like 2016, 2017's closing stretch figures to be very difficult, facing five 2016 playoff teams and three of them on the road. A quick jaunt down Highway 59 will take them to Evansville/Albany in Week 5, before returning home to take on Brodhead/Juda for Homecoming on September 22.

Last year, Edgerton lost by two scores to Big Foot at home, but have to face the Chiefs on the road in Week 7. The Crimson Tide will wrap up the season by facing Clinton at home on senior night before the regular-season finale versus Jefferson, on the road. 

It's typical in the Rock Valley that the race for conference championship is a bit muddled, but there aren't any clear-cut favorites in 2017. Jefferson features a very strong defense and figures to be one of the favorites in the conference this year. Turner looks to bounce back behind a strong offensive line led by Brandon Malkow. East Troy will rely on a strong offensive line to pave the way towards the playoffs and conference title contention this season. Brodhead-Juda's run game looks to power the Cardinals to another postseason. Big Foot features one of the top athletes in the state in Jackson Enz. McFarland will have experience at most of its skill positions, with the strength of its team in the junior and sophomore classes. Whitewater returns one of the top players in the state in Jimmy DuVal.

Of the defending conference champions, Clinton looks poised to be at or near the top of the conference again behind seven returning all-conference players, one year following a run to the state semifinals. Evansville/Albany loses 13 players that earned all-conference honors last season, but have a fourth-year varsity quarterback in Zach Mielke, and another large, talented group of upperclassmen set to increase their roles.

Edgerton figures to slot in to the group of four teams that last year did not earn a trip to the playoffs. If they can reach four or five wins, a three-year-long playoff drought would end for the Tiders. The key stretch will be the first four or five games to open the season, with no real long road trips and chances to win against some of the other teams who missed the playoffs last year.

--Jimmie Kaska @jimmekaska

Information from WisSports.net was used in this preview. Visit WisSports.net for everything you need to gear up for the high school sports season.

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