Realignment took place without actually happening. There are no more North and South divisions because everyone agreed to form a single 11-team league after Shorewood/Milwaukee Messmer departed to play as an independent.
Brown Deer and New Berlin Eisenhower shared the top spot in the old North with 7-1 records, while Pewaukee was only one step behind. Eisenhower's lone defeat was a 28-27 decision at Greendale in a crossover meeting, while the Lions defeated Brown Deer by nearly the identical score, 29-28, on the road.
Meanwhile, Greendale blitzed the field with an 8-0 record, outdistancing Cudahy by two games, to win the South league title.
The Falcons finished 8-1 overall in the regular season. Then they reached Level 3 in the D-3 competitions, beating Woodland foes Cudahy (21-20) and Eisenhower (41-0) before losing to Watertown Luther Prep (40-26), a rude turnaround after defeating the Phoenix, 40-7, in the season opener.
Among Brown Deer's key returnees are three seniors who earned first-team North honors: wide receiver Cory Smith and defensive backs David Kuczynski and Justin Gordon. The latter also made the second team at tight end.
Also back is senior honorable mention defensive back Zach Schimenz.
The Falcons will miss such standouts as quarterback-kicker and league most valuable player Kevin Wild, running back John Schimenz, offensive lineman Joe Wetzel, end Andy Byxbe and linebackers William Sherard and Chuck Keomanyvong, all of whom gained first-team honors last year.
Wild and Sherard were named to the Journal-Sentinel's all-area honorable mention team. Wild topped the Falcons with 1,182 yards on 199 carries (5.9) and 29 touchdowns while completing 83 of 147 pass attempts (56.5 percent) for 1,687 yards with 17 TDs and only nine interceptions. Sherard is heading to D-II Winona State.
Schimenz was second with 1,116 yards rushing on 179 attempts (6.2) and scored 11 times.
New Berlin Eisenhower
The Lions also wound up 8-1 overall in the regular season, shutting out their first four opponents and holding five in single figures before dropping the regular-season finale.
They made their eighth consecutive and 21st overall appearance, getting through the first round for the first time since 2003 with a 63-6 thrashing of Milwaukee North before falling to Brown Deer (41-0).
Eisenhower returns plenty of experience and talent to contend for a playoff berth and the league crown because wide receiver Austin Selvick, offensive lineman Andy Gaber, defensive linemen Kevin Marr and Nick Ewer and linebackers Cole Klotz and Nick Reinicke are back after receiving first-team laurels as juniors.
Selvick was the squad's top receiver with 32 catches for 480 yards (15.0) and eight scores in 10 contests, while Klotz was a mainstay and the defense's leading tackler.
Senior running back Mike Lyles and senior offensive lineman Marcus Werner return after gaining honorable mention status.
However, settling the quarterback position and finding replacements for first-team performers in signal caller Tristan Tobin, running back Chad Lugo, defensive linemen Sam Wittig and Killian Gould and defensive back Jim Root, an all-state performer who played in the WFCA All-Star game.
Lugo topped the Lions with 216 carries for 1,323 yards rushing (6.1) and 22 scores. He was an honorable mention all-area performer, while Root was named to the all-area second team.
The Pirates finished 6-2 in Woodland play and 7-2 overall after closing the regular season with a strong kick, scoring 42 or more points in every victory during a 4-1 run before participating in their third straight D-3 postseason and ninth in 10 years. They lost in the opening round to eventual state champion Wisconsin Lutheran, 40-14.
Pewaukee will feature senior first-team tight end and defensive end Ben Landry, senior first-team linebacker Thomas Decker, senior second-team wide receiver Andrew Kissner and senior honorable mention linebacker Josh Mohr.
The Pirates will miss first-team players in running back Matt Jaskowiak, defensive lineman Nick Torrez and defensive back Alex Barr, the latter finishing as the No. 2 rusher on the team and gaining all-league honorable mention status at the position.
Jaskowiak led Pewaukee with 181 carries for 1,361 yards (7.5) and 16 scores, an effort that earned him honorable mention all-area accolades.
Pewaukee also must replace honorable mention North performers in quarterback Brad Warner and offensive lineman Adam Lepine. Warner completed 61 of 105 pass attempts (58.1 percent) for 936 yards and an 8-1 TD-to-interception ratio in 10 games.
New Berlin West
The Vikings managed a 2-6 record in league competition and went 3-6 overall a year after making the school's 10th playoff appearance.
They will rely heavily on senior first-team tight end and honorable mention defensive lineman Andy Wargin, senior honorable mention quarterback Tony Smith and senior honorable mention defensive lineman Mike Lum.
Smith must make progress for West to move up after completing 49 of 121 attempts (40.5 percent) for 589 yards, although he finished with nine TD tosses and only four interceptions.
They must replace first-team players in running back Rick Reusch and defensive lineman Aaron Walsh and honorable mention picks in wide receiver and defensive back Kyle Kalkopf, running back Mark Treptow and punter Ken Stock.
Reusch accumulated 1,067 yards on 205 attempts (5.2) and eight scores, while Treptow added 561 yards and six scores through seven contests.
The Trojans avoided the cellar with a 1-7 conference mark and went 2-7 overall a year after making their first postseason appearance since 1984.
They must replace first-team defensive back Tony Gumieny and offensive lineman Tom Barton, honorable mention blocker Spencer Lameka and honorable mention defensive linemen Peter Ssempijja and Kyle Halvorson.
Wauwatosa West does return junior first-team kicker Mark Wesson and junior honorable mention linebacker Barry Ballinger.
The Panthers lost a slugfest to Waukesha West (44-31) in their opener and didn't taste defeat again until the second round of the D-3 playoffs, finishing the regular season 8-1. They high-powered Panthers, who scored 27 or more points in every game, ousted Catholic Memorial (35-28) before losing to Wisconsin Lutheran (48-27) a year after playing in the state title contest. It was the school's 14th postseason berth.
Greendale should be right back at or near the top as it returns a bevy of talent at multiple positions, including senior first-team offensive lineman Lucas Pohlmann and senior first-team defensive back and honorable mention receiver Mike Picciolo.
Plus, they get back a bunch of honorable mention selections in senior receiver Ben Ericksen, sophomore offensive lineman Jordan Campbell, senior offensive linemen Joe Hansen and Andrew Thompson, junior kicker Travis Kahl, senior defensive end Chris Ridgway and senior defensive lineman Eric Grau.
The high-powered Panthers got 46 receptions for 456 yards from Picciolo and 34 catches for 818 yards (24.1) and 11 touchdowns from Ericksen.
However, if the machine wants to roll again it must fill three gaping holes in such standouts as all-state wide receiver and defensive back Kyle Mabry, second-team all-state quarterback Mike Hennessy and leading rusher Dan Prindiville, a first-team South choice.
Hennessy completed 161 of 275 passes (58.5 percent) for 2,350 yards and 20 TDs against 12 interceptions and was the team's second-leading ground gainer with 592 yards and 11 scores. Mabry caught 53 balls for 814 yards (15.4) and eight touchdowns in nine games, joining Hennessy on the all-area first team while making the second unit on defense. Prindiville rushed for 875 yards (5.9) and reached paydirt 14 times.
Greendale must also replace Vince Sciano, who was a second-team end/outside linebacker and honorable mention offensive lineman on the all-area team.
The Packers started 2-3 but bounced back to finish 6-2 in league action and 6-3 overall, making their first playoff trip since 2004 and 18th overall. They fell in the opening round to Brown Deer (21-20).
Senior defensive lineman Matt Roehsler and senior linebacker Abe Sanchez were first-team picks, while senior wide receiver John Dishinger was an honorable mention selection and they'll be counted on heavily to keep Cudahy from falling back because the Packers lost a lot of talent through graduation.
Among those players Cudahy must replace include first-team running backs Soua Xiong and Ryan Post, first-team tight end Jake Wahl, first-team linemen Mike Seefeld and Mike Watkinson and honorable mention picks in quarterback Scott Sekach, receivers Nick Abbrederis and Matt Lopata, defensive end Andy Reyes, defensive back Justin Macias and punter Robert Hill.
Xiong ran for 822 yards and nine touchdowns, while Post gained 783 yards and scored 12 times. Sekach completed 64 of 126 attempts (50.8 percent) for 1,026 yards and 11 TDs in seven games. And the threesome of Abbrederis, Lopata and Wahl combined for 69 receptions, 1,081 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Seefeld is headed to I-AA Illinois State after making the all-area second team, while Wahl will play at D-II Concordia-St. Paul.
The Mariners earned a postseason berth due to their 5-3 league mark. They entered the playoffs at 5-4 overall, participating for the seventh time in eight years. St. Francis dropped its opener to Walworth Big Foot, 35-0, in D-4.
However, they have several building blocks returning in the likes of first-team choices in senior quarterback Corey Knapp, senior wide receiver Tyler Bostedt and senior offensive lineman Nate Studer and honorable mention picks in senior running back Will Frisch and senior tight end Joe Edwards. Bostedt also was an honorable mention selection in the secondary.
Knapp tossed 12 touchdowns and threw seven interceptions among his 192 attempts, of which he completed 106 (55.2 percent) for 1,291 yards. Bostedt grabbed 37 of them for 467 yards (12.6) and six TDs.Still, St. Francis must replace all-South first-teamers in kicker Chris Hemmer, defensive lineman Mike Paquette, defensive end Mario Scianni, linebackers Tom Fera and Justin Hiltunen and defensive back Jamin Chilsen.
The Falcons pulled out a 4-4 league record but failed to snag a postseason berth for the sixth consecutive year, finishing 4-5 overall.
Senior quarterback Bennett Kaye returns after being an honorable mention selection, as was senior wide receiver Nick Kollauf and junior offensive lineman Scott Erickson.
Kaye completed 96 of 164 attempts (58.5 percent) for 924 yards and 12 scores, although he was picked off 10 times. Kollauf took five of his 19 receptions to the end zone, gaining 323 yards (17.0), while senior Shayne Chelminiak is back after latching onto 30 balls.
However, the Falcons' task is tougher because of those they must replace, including two-way first-team lineman David Witkiewicz. He is headed to I-AA Drake after making the AP all-state second team and the all-area first unit on defense, recording 67 solo stops, including 21 tackles for loss and seven sacks while forcing three fumbles.
Whitnall also must fill the hole left by Tyler Swessel's graduation. He led the team with 875 yards rushing (6.3) and seven scores in eight games.
St. Thomas More
The Cavaliers ended 2-6 in league action and 2-7 overall, failing to qualify for the playoffs for a second straight time after reaching the postseason five out of six years.
They return senior first-team wide receiver Aaron Loferski and senior first-team punter Ryan Borkowski. Also back are senior honorable mention picks in quarterback Lucas Swider and running back Brian Klamecki.
Loferski was an all-area honorable mention choice after grabbing 50 balls for 676 yards (13.5) and five TDs. Swider turned in a fine season, hitting on 110 of 196 passes (56.1 percent) for 1,293 yards and 10 scores. And Klamecki led the team with 145 attempts for 751 yards rushing (5.2) and four scores.
St. Thomas More must replace some key contributors, including first-team tight end Alex Beaudry, who caught 26 passes for 309 yards four TDs, and first-team offensive and defensive lineman Jon Koszuta.
The Hustlin' Hawks were shut out of the conference victory column at 0-8 and finished 1-8 overall and haven't made the postseason since 2002.
However, they have numerous pieces coming back to be competitive, including senior first-team offensive lineman Billy Wellman and honorable mention choices in senior defensive linemen Mike Lipinski and Jesse Kulp, senior running back-linebacker Raymond Grafwallner and senior defensive back J.R. Lewis. Wellman also made honorable mention along the defensive line.
For improvement to occur, the Hawks must make progress offensively as its running game struggled mightily and its passing attack often sputtered as returning senior quarterback Jake Hansen should get better from the seasoning after completing only 32.7 percent of his tosses and throwing 15 interceptions to only three TD passes.
Greenfield must replace honorable mention offensive lineman Justin Van Wieringen.