In its final season in the Woodland Conference, Wauwatosa West wants to leave the conference with a bang.
The Trojans have 12 starters back from last year's team that went 7-3, finished third in the Woodland West and returned to the playoffs after a year hiatus from the postseason.
"In talking with our kids and our staff, our goal is to bring the first Woodland Conference championship to Tosa in a long, long time," Wauwatosa West coach Matt Good said. "We're setting our goals high, but we have a good team and think we can do it."
Wauwatosa West plans to lean heavily on its offensive line, which is led by returning first-team All Conference selections Cameron Rosario and Austin Ertl. First-team running backs Kobe Vines (939 yards, nine touchdowns) and Truman Tyson (673 yards and eight touchdowns) have graduated, leaving senior Paris Howell (844 yards, five touchdowns) as the lone remaining member of the Trojans three-headed rushing attack.
"We have a real big, strong and physical offensive line," Good said. "We're going to lean on them a lot and ask them to do a lot for us."
With two-year starting quarterback Rayvon Bartlett Jr. now at Greenfield, Wauwatosa West will start junior Jamil Razza under center.
"Hopefully he can develop over time," Good said. "I think he will. He's really improved from summer to now with the decisions he makes and what we're asking him to do.
"We're always explosive in the backfield. We finally have the lineman to complement those guys. We're real, real strong on the offensive side."
The Trojans will also be a physical group on the defensive side of the ball. Division 1 prospect Javaree Jackson anchors the defensive line, first-team All Conference pick senior Jake Cieszynski leads the linebackers and first-team defensive back Logan Scharf is a play maker in the secondary.
Wauwatosa West will have to replace two first-team defensive players in lineman James Canady and defensive back Justin Folley.
While the Trojans have their eyes on a conference title, Wauwatosa West also believes it is capable of winning its first playoff game since 1984. The Trojans lost, 28-0, to Waterford in Level 1 in 2015.
"Getting to the playoffs has always been the goal," Good said. "Now, the goal is to get to the playoffs and win, when you have kids back that have been there."
Player to watch: DL/TE Javaree Jackson is one of the top defensive players in the Woodland Conference. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end recently received his first Division 1 offer from Wyoming.
"He's a huge part of our defense," Good said. "He demands a lot of attention. We're able to scheme defensively knowing he's able to take care of one side of the ball. It makes things a lot easier. He's a physical freak. He's so quick off the edge with long arms. He's going to cause a lot of havoc for teams."
Keep an eye on: RB Paris Howell had a strong junior season while sharing carries with two other All Conference running backs. He could be in for a monster senior season as the main option in Wauwatosa West's backfield.
We say: A year before moving to the Greater Metro, Wauwatosa West joins Greendale, New Berlin Eisenhower and Pewaukee as contenders in the Woodland West. The Trojans are definitely in the mix, as they lost to co-champs Greendale and Eisenhower by a combined 10 points a year ago.
"It is a four-team race," Good said. "A couple of schools are still building. They will be competitive, but there are four teams at the top. Three of them are looking to knock off Greendale. They are the conference champs. One of us has to knock them off."
First team: Cameron Rosario (OL), Austin Ertl (OL), Javaree Jackson (DE), Jake Cieszynski (LB), Logan Scharf (DB)
Honorable mention: Paris Howell (RB)
First-team losses: Truman Tyson (RB), Kobe Vines (RB), James Canady (IL), Justin Folley (DB)
Coach: Matt Good (ninth season at Wauwatosa West, 32-42)
Outcome: Lost in Level 1 to Waterford, 28-0
Last year (home in bold)
Wauwatosa East W 17-0
Grafton W 21-16
Pewaukee W 27-20
New Berlin Eisenhower L 21-14
Greendale L 16-13
Pius XI Catholic W 47-30
New Berlin West W 41-0
Shorewood/Messmer W 48-21
South Milwaukee W 26-7
Waterford L 28-0
Aug. 19 Wauwatosa East
Aug. 26 Grafton
Sept. 2 New Berlin Eisenhower
Sept. 9 Greendale
Sept. 15 Pius XI Catholic
Sept. 23 New Berlin West
Sept. 30 Pewaukee
Oct. 7 Woodland Crossover
Oct. 14 Woodland Crossover