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Under Ken Krause, Muskego has established a culture in which the program is able to reload from year to year.

The Warriors have won 42 games with five playoff appearances over the past six seasons, including Classic 8 Conference championships in each of the past two years.

But after losing its starting quarterback, top three running backs, four offensive lineman and two first-team All Conference defensive players, Muskego will be relying on a lot of new faces in order to continue its run of success.

"We've told the kids that it is an expectation," said Krause, entering his ninth season at Muskego. "We've had years over those last six years where we've lost a lot of kids but still made the playoffs. We've been here before. This is nothing new."

Muskego's vaunted rushing attack will have to replace the three-headed monster of Colin O'Neill, Ayden Malcomson and Brett Finke. The three combined for 3,011 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2015.

Krause expects six or seven kids to compete for the three main running back spots in the Warriors offense, which has averaged 35 points per game since 2010.

Senior Michael Madia is the team's leading returning rusher but ran for just 102 yards on 16 carries last season. Junior Justin Kotarak should be in the mix after spending 2015 as the starting running back on the junior varsity. Junior Cody Krause, senior Renee Calvetti and junior Austin Kaltenbrum will also compete for carries.

"Mike Madia was our fourth back last year," Krause said. "He's probably pound for pound the strongest kid in the state. Justin Kotarak was arguably the top JV running back in the conference. If he wasn't stuck behind three good seniors last year, he would have started as a sophomore."

The Warriors will use All-Conference tight end Alex Kalisnig as a hybrid offensive player at running back, wide receiver and tight end.

"I'm always up for doing new things," Kalisnig said. "They just want to utilize me. I'm pretty big for a running back, so I can down block. At tight end, they can use me for blocking and catching passes."

Senior Riley Clemence and junior Frankie Cistaro will compete to replace quarterback Caleb Wagner, who threw for 928 yards and 14 touchdowns and ran for 194 yards and four scores in his lone season as Muskego's starter.

The Warriors offensive line will also have a different look in 2016, as starters and All-Conference selections Joe Zvonar, Jake Zvonar, Ryan Tobin and Ryan Albee graduated.

Muskego will be led on defense by defensive lineman Jorin McGuire, linebackers Mitch Suderland and A.J. Spychala and defensive back Bryce Schure. The Warriors graduated defensive lineman Sam White and linebacker Austin Lambrecht, both first-team All Conference selections.

"Every year, seniors will graduate," said Suderland, who tied for the team lead with 83 tackles in 2015. "It is up to the next group to step up and do the job."

Player to watch: DT Jorin McGuire was named second-team all conference after recording 43 tackles and three tackles for a loss. The 6-foot-5, 295 pound McGuire recently received his first Division 1 offer from Valparaiso.

Keep an eye on: Who will step up and grab the available carries in Muskego's backfield? Senior Michael Madia, junior Justin Kotarak and converted tight end Alex Kallisnig will likely get first crack.

We say: Muskego has provided plenty of evidence to prove it is an established power in the area. The Classic 8, which had three programs play for state championships in 2015, will be loaded once again. Expect Muskego to once again finish in the top half of the league and be in position for a playoff run.

"I think every coach in our league wants to win four games," Krause said. "After that, you set your goal for the conference championship. Right now it is winning four games and making the playoffs."

All-conference returnees 

First team: None
Second team: Alex Kalisnig (TE), Jorin McGuire (IL)
Honorable mention: Mitch Suderland (LB), A.J. Spychala (LB), Bryce Schure (DB)
First-team losses: Brett Finke (RB), Sam White (IL), Austin Lambrecht (LB)
Coach: Ken Krause (ninth season at Muskego, 45-36)

Glance back

Overall: 10-2
Conference: 6-1
Outcome: Lost in Level 3 to Franklin, 42-15

Last year (home in bold)

Racine Park W 48-14
Milwaukee Bradley Tech W 74-8
Waukesha West L 28-21
Mukwonago W 27-21
Catholic Memorial W 23-14
Kettle Moraine W 31-13
Waukesha South W 58-24
Waukesha North W 56-20
Arrowhead W 27-20
Janesville Parker W 35-8
Oak Creek W 38-14

Franklin L 42-15

Schedule

Aug. 19 Racine Park
Aug. 26 Milwaukee Bradley Tech
Sept. 1 Waukesha West

Sept. 9 Mukwonago
Sept. 16 Catholic Memorial
Sept. 23 Kettle Moraine
Sept. 30 Waukesha South
Oct. 7 Waukesha North

Oct. 14 Arrowhead

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