This edition of the Germantown football team is not the biggest, nor the fastest, nor the most talented, but coach Jake Davis senses a certain energy in the Warhawks that may carry them far this season.
"A sense, a similar mentality to what we had a few years ago when Higgy (all-state defensive lineman Hunter Higginbotham) was a senior," he said. "These guys want to leave a legacy. They want to get after it."
The Warhawks, who finished 6-4 last season and spoiled the christening of eventual D2 state champion Homestead's new field last September, scrimmaged out at Pewaukee on Aug. 12 and will open the season at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, with nonconference opponent Kenosha Indian Trail. They will be working about 80 varsity and junior varsity players this fall.
"Friday (the scirmmage) went OK," Davis said. 'We got a lot of reps in, and we came out healthy, and that was the most important thing. Right now we're working with a lot of guys who had some game experience last year, but who didn't neccessarily start. We're just figuring out a lot of roles right now."
The Warhawks will have to without all-everything quarterback Nate Seymour, who graduated in June, but will still have some tools on offense, including senior Now All-Suburban linebacker/running back Austin Mozdzen (5-10, 200) and state track long jump Shon Pratcher (6-0, 151), who will get his hands on the ball a great deal.
Both were on the state-qualifying 4x100-meter relay in track last spring.
The quarterback position is still up for grabs between senior Collin Sathe (6-2, 175) and junior Jake Potvin (6-1, 156).
"We're going to figure that out soon," Davis said.
Receivers include senior Dan Lakich (6-1, 181), senior Josh Acker (6-0, 177), senior Connor Stoming (6-2, 186) and junior Colten Thomas (6-3, 198). Senior Jack Brzkala (6-3, 203) will be the tight end.
This group will be working around a youngish but large offensive line that will be led by veteran seniors Joe Block (6-4, 240) and Ahmed Kharoub (6-2, 260).
"Right now, it's looking like the smallest guy we'll have up there will go about 230," said Davis of the size of this group. "We'll have a little different mentality this year. We want to get the run game going a bit, take it to the next level. We want to make sure we have that element available to us."
Defensively, the Warhawks will have some tools, too. Mozdzen was a force all over the field, and he will get help from fellow all-conference returnee and lineman Dan Colvin (6-3, 240), who will move from tackle to end. Stoming is also a third-year varsity linebacker and will be a great aid.
"Linebackers will be a major strength for us," Davis said.
The secondary will have some speed, he added, and will be anchored down by senior Waymon McNeal (5-10, 158), who was another part of that state track 4x100 relay. Lakich and Pratcher will also see some time back there.
Graduation losses were steep across the board in the North Shore, said Davis, who wants to be in the mix with defending champ co-champs Homestead and Whitefish Bay and regular contender Cedarburg.
GAME OF THE SEASON: Sept. 9 at home against Homestead. People may watch this one with nostalgia because if the proposed WIAA realignment goes through in the fall of 2017, this could be the last game between these two storied rivals for quite some time as Germantown is slated to head into the Greater Metro Conference.
THE TRIGGER MAN?: The Warhawks have had a series of great quarterbacks, including Josh Mongan, Dwayne Lawhorn, Jr. and Nate Seymour, all in succession. Can either Potvin or Sathe step up and fill some very big shoes?
WE SAY: There are a lot of question marks for the Warhawks this season but also some sizable talent. If they can keep people like Mozdzen and Pratcher in one piece and productive and if the young lines come about fairly quickly, there is no reason why they shouldn't be in contention for an NSC title.
First team: Dan Colvin (DL), Austin Mozdzen (ILB)
Second team: None
Honorable mention: None
First-team losses: Connor Edmonds (TE), Brad Zachowski (SE), David Nilles (OL)
Coach: Jake Davis
Overall: 6-4; Conference: 5-2
Outcome: Lost in Level 1 to Homestead, 36-6
Last year (home in bold)
Kenosha Indian Trail W 28-14
Catholic Memorial L 28-0
Nicolet W 36-0
Homestead W 34-29
Grafton W 33-7
Whitefish Bay L 24-21
Cedarburg L 24-7
Port Washington W 46-28
Milwaukee Lutheran W 35-21
Homestead L 36-6
Aug. 19 Kenosha Indian Trail
Aug. 26 at Catholic Memorial
Sept. 2 Nicolet
Sept. 9 Homestead
Sept. 16 at Grafton
Sept. 23 Whitefish Bay
Sept. 30 at Cedarburg
Oct. 7 Port Washington
Oct. 14 at Milwaukee Lutheran