John Damato has all the confidence in the world in his entire coaching staff, including his new offensive coordinator, Dan Howard.
In all reality, Howard's not so new. A former Hamilton player, Howard's been a fixture in the program at the freshman, junior varsity and varsity levels, but this season he'll hold the playbook for the Chargers varsity football team. This team looks to mimic or even improve on an outstanding 10-2 season last year, which featured a piece of the Greater Metro Conference championship and an appearance in the WIAA Level 3 playoffs
Howard replaces Justin Friske, who took the head coaching job at Pewaukee High School.
"Dan's an intelligent coach and a sponge," Damato said. "I have no doubt he'll do a great job working with the offense and all the hard working kids we have in this program."
Chris Botsford remains the defensive coordinator.
Nine players named at least honorable mention last year in the GMC are back, but as is the case come August, every prep football team has holes to fill.
Running back Nick Patterson, last year's GMC Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-conference choice at all-purpose, has graduated and is the most glaring loss.
"We lost some very good players but return some very good players," Damato said. "We're evaluating some of our younger talent, and those players are expected to contribute as well."
Brother Drew Patterson, a first-team all-GMC pick at fullback last year as a sophomore, returns along with senior Tony Gumina, the first team all-GMC tight end. Senior Sufyan Hamouda was voted second-team at center. On defense, senior Joe Eggert was first team on the defensive line. Senior Joe Michaelson was honorable mention at that same position, senior Dan Demler was honorable mention at defensive back along with senior Jake Knueppel, and senior Aaron Zagorski was honorable mention at outside linebacker.
Another senior, Aaron Mushall, was voted honorable mention by the league coaches at all-purpose.
"The kids have come in with that same work ethic they've had in the past," Damato said. "We're all excited about this football team. They have a lot to work on but at the same time they have a lot of potential."
Surely, the team will be in the conversation to repeat as champs, joining fellow tri-champions Brookfield Central and Marquette as contenders for the title. The league may be one of the deepest in the state.
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