The country can only hope the upcoming presidential transition goes as smoothly as the leadership change of the Greenfield football team this fall.
The Hustlin' Hawks welcomed Shane Covington as their new head coach after Joe Koch, the man who started to turn around the program, left for a new position in Texas.
Complicating matters was the fact that Covington took the job early this summer, less than two months before the first practice. That allowed him precious little time to assemble a staff, get to know the players and formulate his plans for the season.
None of that seemed to matter, though, with the Hawks winning their second straight Woodland Conference East Division championship at 5-0 and then picking up their first WIAA playoff victory in years to finish 7-4.
"I think the season was good, especially considering I got the job so late and had a short time to prepare and put a staff together," Covington said. "I got some good guys on board, some former teammates of mine and some people I knew from the football community. We did what we could every day, and we were efficient."
Greenfield enjoyed the most successful season of any of the local squads, with West Allis Central, West Allis Hale and Whitnall all finishing below .500.
The Hawks started with a loss to powerful Hudson in a game shortened by lightning and then rolled through five Woodland East games in which the smallest winning margin was 17 points. They lost their Woodland crossover games but bounced back to beat Bay View in the playoffs and then fell to a strong Whitefish Bay team in the second round.
They were led by senior quarterback Rayvon Bartlett Jr., a transfer from Wauwatosa West, who passed for 2,300 yards and 24 touchdowns and ran for 824 yards and 12 more scores. He was first-team all-Woodland East and earned all-region honors as well.
Bartlett had two solid targets in senior tight end Jared Davis with 21 catches for 295 yards and sophomore Elijah Rosario with 30 receptions for 538 yards. Both were first-team all-division, and Davis also received all-region.
Senior running back Ezekiel Banks put together a fine all-around season, running for 761 yards, catching 11 passes for 220 yards and returning kickoffs for 369 yards and four touchdowns. Overall, Banks accounted for 24 touchdowns in earning first-team all-division and all-region honors.
The defense was paced by senior end Tyler Ahlborn (64 tackles), senior linebacker Elijah Valero (70 tackles) and senior back Donnie Reasby (45 tackles, three interceptions), who all were first-team all-division.
The Hawks will lose plenty of talent to graduation, but Covington believes they can be successful again next season.
"The (returning) players just have to keep doing what they have done," he said. "We want to build on this and get ready for next season. We now have a whole year to sit down with the guys on the lower levels of the program and work with them more than we could this year. I'm excited about that."
West Allis Central
The Bulldogs made some strides in winding up 4-6 overall and 3-4 in the Greater Metro Conference, just missing the playoffs.
"On all accounts, it was a successful year," coach Keith Ringelberg said. "You look at the teams we played and where they went in the playoffs. Our kids had belief in the team, and the interest was up among the other kids at Central. They are excited about what is happening."
Senior quarterback Griffin Johnson hit 67 percent of his passes for 1,452 yards and 15 touchdowns and ran for 344 more yards in earning first-team all-GMC honors.
Senior wide receiver Xavier Mullins did a little bit of everything and was recognized for it, claiming first-team honors at linebacker and all-purpose and second-team at receiver. Mullins tallied 529 yards receiving, 288 rushing, 176 in punt returns and 452 in kickoff returns as well as totaling 52 tackles and six interceptions.
Sophomore running back Glenn Martin added 579 yards and senior tight end Jared Welsch 446 yards and seven scores on 40 catches.
The Bulldogs will move to the Woodland Conference next season, which should help with their building efforts.
"The difference (with the GMC) is the depth of the rosters," Ringelberg said. "The top 15 or so players on every team are good, but when you lose a starter, the question is who is behind him. I feel we should compete better in the Woodland."
The Falcons started out 3-1 but lost their last five games to finish 3-6 overall and 2-4 in Woodland action.
Injuries played a key role, with junior quarterback/running back Andrew Mallmann and others in and out of the lineup or hampered in some way. Mallmann was limited to 224 yards on the ground.
Junior Jacob Flores stepped into the quarterback spot and passed for 1,230 yards and 12 scores, with junior Danny Alexopoulos making 30 catches for 503 yards and eight scores to earn first-team all-division honors.
Senior Marcus Arteaga became the featured running back and collected 712 yards and 10 touchdowns to also be named first-team all-division.
Also capturing first-team honors were junior guard Cole Greco, senior defensive end Niko Perez (47 tackles), junior linebacker Jacob Klatkewicz (76 tackles), senior cornerback Mitch Knapp (five interceptions) and senior kicker Ryan Korpal (four of five field goals).
Mallmann, Flores and Alexopoulos will lead a solid group of returnees next season.
West Allis Hale
The Huskies never got things started, struggling to records of 1-6 in the GMC and 2-7 overall.
"We faced a lot of adversity in the off-season and throughout this campaign," coach Brandon Ehret said, "but continued to stick together. We certainly didn't win as many games as we would have liked, but our kids continued to compete, which I am very proud of."
Senior quarterback Michael Johnson earned first-team all-GMC acclaim after completing 61 percent of his passes for a school-record 1,441 yards and 14 touchdowns with just five interceptions.
Another senior, linebacker Justin Kontny, was named first-team all-GMC once again after collecting 87 tackles to raise his career total to 175. Kontny was also academic all-state.
Sophomore Zack Paddock paced the running game with 314 yards, and junior Thomas Hines caught 27 passes for 360 yards.
Defensively, senior Aaron Schmidt tallied 65 tackles and senior Alex Ramirez 60 tackles.