Toughness and physical play will mark the Grafton football team in the 2016 season.
"We have some good football players who will play hard and play physically this season," new head coach Shaun Behrend said. "They also have a good work ethic. These guys just keep coming back for more. Opposing teams certainly will know they have played us."
Behrend said he was happy with his team's effort in last week's scrimmage.
"The kids were really getting after it," he continued. "We have a lot of things to clean up, but our offense looked better. We were catching and blocking better. We are still learning the new systems, but our errors were all correctable."
Proefrock at QB
Senior Hayden Proefrock will be the quarterback after finishing last season as the No. 1 signal caller, passing for 63 yards and four touchdowns.
"He is tough, a great team leader and great with preparation," Behrend said. "He is also very willing and will do whatever he is asked. He is a good passer and can run a bit as well."
The running backs are senior Vince Giorgi and junior Matthew Starr and the wide receivers senior Jack Birch, a returning starter, and sophomore Caden Knauer.
They will all operate behind a line led by senior left guard T.J. Stoltman and senior left tackle Nate O'Neill.
"We need to score more points than we did last year," the coach said, "and we have to limit our turnovers. We had the ball on the turf too much at the scrimmage."
The defense will be paced by senior linebacker Jack Senczyszyn, who earned second-team all-conference honors last season. Giorgi will also play at linebacker after receiving honorable-mention there last year.
Playing on the defensive line are Stoltman and senior Jalen Turan, and leading the defensive backfield are senior Mitch Macek and Birch.
Behrend said the Black Hawks are already missing a couple of players who were expected to play key roles this season, but some will soon be back.
"We will be a different team in week four than in week one," he said.
The North Shore Conference will be tough again, with Homestead, Germantown, Whitefish Bay and Cedarburg leading the way, he said.
Grafton begins the season at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, at home against Slinger. The Hawks then travel to Wauwatosa West on Friday, Aug. 26, and then open the North Shore at Homestead on Friday, Sept. 2.
Player to watch: Senior Vince Georgi, who will play at linebacker, where he earned honorable-mention All Conference, and at running back, keying the Grafton attack.
Keep an eye on: Turnovers, since new head coach Shaun Behrend said the Hawks made too many mistakes last season and at their scrimmage last week.
We say: Grafton needs to fix some problems that came up at the scrimmage, but the Hawks will play hard and intensely and should be competitive.
First team: None
Second team: Jack Senczyszyn (DE)
Honorable mention: Vince Giorgi (OLB)
First-team losses: Luke Benzschawel (TE, DE)
Coach: Shaun Behrend
Outcome: Did not make playoffs
Last year (home in bold)
Slinger L 24-7
Wauwatosa West L 21-16
Homestead L 36-0
Nicolet W 35-0
Germantown L 33-7
Milwaukee Lutheran L 41-13
Port Washington W 21-6
Cedarburg L 20-13
Whitefish Bay L 42-21
Aug. 19 Slinger
Aug. 26 Wauwatosa West
Sept. 2 Homestead
Sept. 9 Nicolet
Sept. 16 Germantown
Sept. 23 Milwaukee Lutheran
Sept. 30 Port Washington
Oct. 7 Cedarburg
Oct. 14 Whitefish Bay