An already-experienced Greenfield offense gained a new playmaker for the 2016 campaign.
The Hustlin' Hawks will welcome senior quarterback Rayvon Bartlett Jr., a transfer from Wauwatosa West High School. Last season, Bartlett passed for 494 yards and seven touchdowns and ran for 201 yards and five scores for the Trojans.
Bartlett, who stands 6 feet 5 inches and 212 pounds, took over the starting quarterback spot from junior Sam Streeter, who directed the Hawks to the Woodland Conference crown last season. Streeter will be moved to wide receiver this year.
"Bartlett has a good throwing arm, is athletic and makes good decisions," new Greenfield head coach Shane Covington said.
Banks is back
The Greenfield offense also features explosive running back Ezekiel Banks, who averaged 106 yards last season and scored 16 touchdowns despite playing only six games due to injuries. Banks is a two-time first-team all-Woodland East performer who is a threat to score any time he touches the ball.
Joining Banks in the offensive backfield is junior Dennis Boyko, and helping Streeter at wide receiver are senior Donnie Reasby and sophomore Elijah Rosario. Jared Davis will be another pass-catching weapon at tight end.
The Hawks' offensive line includes center Ryan Wasielewski, a first-team all-division choice last season, and tackle Rajveer Singh, who earned honorable mention last year.
The defense is led by seven players who earned spots on the all-division team in 2015. Reasby returns to the backfield after collecting 47 total tackles, with four tackles for loss, and linebacker Elijah Valero is back after accumulating 84 total tackles, including 14 tackles for loss.
Tyler Ahlborn and Erik Malone are back on the defensive line, and other linebackers are Sam Wolfgram, Antonio Esquivel and Billy Pitroski.
Michael Zamora is also a part of the defensive line, and Drew Kassel will man the secondary.
"We have good senior leadership, and I am looking for a strong season," Covington said.
Open against Hudson
The Hawks open the season at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, against Hudson at Middleton High School. They then meet Pius XI in a nonconference contest Thursday, Aug. 25, at home.
They will begin defense of their Woodland Conference championship on Friday, Sept. 2, at South Milwaukee. The Woodland East is expected to be particularly competitive this season.
Player to watch: Ezekiel Banks, a senior running back who racked up 16 touchdowns in just over half a season. Banks is back, 100 percent healthy and poised for a big season.
Keep an eye on: new quarterback Rayvon Bartlett Jr., who comes in from Wauwatosa West and can run and pass. One of his targets will be last year's quarterback, Sam Streeter.
We say: The Hawks have some weapons with Banks in the backfield, Bartlett at quarterback and Streeter at receiver. They also return defensive starters and appear equipped to defend their Woodland title.
First team: Ryan Wasielewski (OL), Sam Streeter (QB), Zeke Banks (RB), Tyler Ahlborn (IL), Elijah Valero (OLB), Donnie Reasby (SB)
Honorable mention: Rajveer Singh (OL), Zach Foshey (RB), Erik Malone (IL), Sam Wolfgram (ILB), Antonio Esquivel (ILB), Billy Pitroski (OLB)
First-team losses: Sharon Singh (OL), Tre’Vaughn Craig (SB)
Coach: Shane Covington
Outcome: Lost in Level 1 to Union Grove, 27-6
Last year (home in bold)
Milwaukee Career & Tech W 63-8
Pius XI Catholic W 26-22
Shorewood/Messmer W 46-20
South Milwaukee W 20-7
Brown Deer L 33-22
Cudahy W 28-14
Whitnall W 35-28
New Berlin Eisenhower L 30-20
Greendale W 35-28
Union Grove L 27-6
Aug. 18 Hudson (Middleton HS)
Aug. 25 Pius XI Catholic
Sept. 2 South Milwaukee
Sept. 9 Brown Deer
Sept. 16 Cudahy
Sept. 23 Whitnall
Sept. 30 Shorewood/Messmer
Oct. 7 Woodland Crossover
Oct. 14 Woodland Crossover