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Newcomer Milwaukee Lutheran is a bit of a wild card in the Woodland East chase, but Greenfield should still be the team to beat as it pursues a third straight Woodland East title. Both crossover games count in the standings this year, including the randomly assigned battle at some point in the regular-season schedule and the true crossover in Week 9 assigned by place-finish.

Greenfield

Last year: 7-4 (5-1 in conference)

Outcome: Last in Level 2 of Division 2 playoffs to Whitefish Bay, 48-31

Coach: Keith Ringelberg

ALL-CONFERENCE RETURNEES

First team: Elijah Rosario (WR)*, Sam Streeter (WR), Rajveer Singh (OL), Billy Pitroski (DB)

Honorable mention: Jonas Woods (OL), Sam Wolfgram (OLB)

First-team losses: Jared Davis (TE), Ryan Wazielewski (OL), Rayvon Bartlett Jr. (QB), Ezekiel Banks (RB), Tyler Ahlborn (DT), Elijah Valero (OLB), David Smith (ILB), Donnie Reasby (DB)

Outlook: Sam Streeter will return to quarterback, where he had some success as a sophomore two years ago, and the lines are both going to be a strength for a team that also has a wealth of skill players. First-year coach Keith Ringelberg inherits a talented team that will be in play for a third straight East title. The lone loss on last year's conference schedule came against state semifinalist Pewaukee in a crossover, and the team's playoff win was the first since 2002.

Whitnall

Last year: 2-4 (3-6 in conference)

Outcome: Did not make playoffs

Coach: John Quinlan

ALL-CONFERENCE RETURNEES

First team: Dan Alexopoulos (WR), Stephan Flores (WR), Cole Greco (OL), Andrew Coulture (DT), Niko Perez (DE), Jacob Klatkewicz (OLB)

Honorable mention: Lucas Merritt (OL), Jacob Flores (QB), Ian Davies (P)*

First-team losses: Marcus Arteaga (RB), Ryan Korpal (K), Mitchell Knapp (DB)

Outlook: The Falcons were crushed by injuries last year when top returning running back Andrew Mallmann, who had switched to quarterback, was out for the year after the first game. Marcus Arteaga switched to QB and was solid before himself getting hurt. The silver lining is that Stephan Flores was able to learn the ropes at QB and will stay there this year, with Mallmann healthy and back to running back. John Quinlan took over the program late in the offseason last year; this year, he has had more time to implement his philosophies. 

South Milwaukee

Last year: 3-7 (3-3 in conference)

Outcome: Lost in Level 1 of Division 1 playoffs to Whitefish Bay, 56-21

Coach: Mike Bertok

ALL-CONFERENCE RETURNEES

First-team: Aengus White (OL)

Honorable mention: Ty Spaltholz (OL)**; Tristan Schaefer (RB); Noah Mesa (IL); Austin Januchowski (IL); Dashawn Williams (DB); Ethan Arndt (OLB)

First-team losses: Austin Zbikowski, OL; Jake Simuncak, QB

Outlook: In his second year, coach Mike Bertok has a fair number of returnees on the lines, even if record-setting quarterback Jake Simuncak is gone. It was a cruel twist of fate for the Rockets, who snuck into the playoffs despite just three overall wins last year but didn't have an injured Simuncak available for the playoffs.

Messmer/Shorewood

Last year: 5-4 (4-2 in conference)

Outcome: Lost in Level 1 of Division 1 playoffs to Germantown, 49-8

Coach: Chad Hofmann

ALL-CONFERENCE RETURNEES

First team: Jake Nation (OL), Jathon Turner (DT), Eli Rivera (DE)

Honorable mention: Sean Williams (DB)

First-team losses: Will Lanphere (OL), Grant Brown (RB), Kendrick McGahee (DE), Ben Grabowski (ILB), Grant Brown (DB)

Outlook: Messwood loses one of the league's best linemen in Kendrick McGahee and two-way talent Grant Brown, but the squad only had 10 seniors last year. If we're being honest, the team took advantage of close calls last year, winning just one game by more than 10 points, but wins are wins. Still, this team will be on the fringe of a playoff berth and will need to capitalize on every opportunity it gets.

Cudahy

Last year: 2-7 (1-5 in conference)

Outcome: Did not make playoffs

Coach: Max Wasikowski

ALL-CONFERENCE RETURNEES

Honorable mention: Austin Eichstaedt, TE**; Oscar Arroyo (IL)

First-team losses: Rusty Murphy (QB, OLB and P); Mykael Ignaszak (DB)

Outlook: Even when they were struggling, the Packers still boasted one of the area's best players in Rusty Murphy, a first-team All Conference choice at three positions. Cudahy has a large junior class.

Brown Deer

Last year: 0-9 (0-6 in conference)

Outcome: Did not make playoffs

Coach: Rob Green

ALL-CONFRENCE RETURNEES

Honorable mention: Tejhaun Palmer (WR/DB)

First-team losses: Thomas Kelly (WR/OLB), Eric Freuler (ILB)

Outlook: The Falcons just weren't competitive last year, and it doesn't help that this year's random crossover is with Pewaukee. Don't count on the downward trend to last forever; this is the same program that made the playoffs every year from 2009-14.

*Junior in 2017-18
**Sophomore in 2017-18 (rest are seniors)

The wild card

Milwaukee Lutheran has struggled to compete against larger schools in the North Shore Conference, but its arrival in the Woodland East adds an intriguing new element. Quarterback Josiah Hedrington is back after passing for more than 1,400 yards last year, and Colton Vanderberg netted second-team accolades last year at linebacker in the NSC. It's not unreasonable to think of the Red Knights as the second or third best team in the Woodland East.

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