Brookfield East needs to replace 19 starters from 10-1 team
Damico, Pusifer, Allen lead returnees
Sitting in his office, preparing for practice, Brookfield East coach Tom Swittel sat back and broke the news.
"We're a completely different team this year," the veteran coach said. "We lost 19 starters and some coaches. We're just a completely different team."
The Spartans are coming off an amazing 10-1 season, which improved Swittel's three-year record since taking over a 3-6 team to 26-7, an impressive .818 winning percentage.
Being a completely different team might not be a good thing.
"Our practices have been really good," Swittel said. "The effort is there and the kids are trying really hard. They want to repeat as conference champs.
"But last year was a veteran team. Most of those guys had played the previous year as juniors. This year we just don't have that experience.
"This is a team that is going to learn how to walk before it can run. I just anticipate that we will be a much better team at the end of the year than we are at the beginning of the year. Our guys will have to get that varsity experience under their belts."
The Spartans open the Greater Metro Conference season against Marquette, Sussex Hamilton and Brookfield Central following non-conference games with Waukesha West and Beaver Dam.
Swittel is shooting to have two-platoon football, something he fell short of last year.
"We have about 71 players — sophomore to seniors — out for football, but half of them are wide receivers and defensive backs. We are really, really thin at offensive line. We are really, really thin at linebacker.
"We do have some areas where we not only lack experience, but our lack of depth concerns me. We have a long way to go. It will happen, but it will happen with time."
Being the GMC champ will put a target on their back this year.
"Probably," Swittel said. "We'd want to get after the conference champ. I'm sure nobody's going to overlook us."
Key starters return
Swittel is fortunate to have a couple talented returnees — senior quarterback Zach Damico, senior guard Noah Pulsifer and placekicker Connor Allen, all first-team all-conference selections.
"Zach was the key to our offense last year and he certainly will be again," Swittel said. "If you are only going to have three starters back, it's nice to have an all-conference quarterback back."
Swittel had high praise for Pulsifer.
"He is a 6-2, 230 pound butt-kicker. He could be the best lineman I ever coached. He is so good. He is strong. he is aggressive. A great technician. He's tough. His motor's always running.
"He is an outstanding, outstanding offensive lineman. I can't imagine there are too many guys in the state better than him."
Swittel also had praise for Allen.
"He's a weapon," he said of the 5-11, 150 pounder. "He is being recruited by several Division I schools.
Defensive starters gone
Defensively, the Spartans will lose all 11 starters. On the plus side, defensive end Vince Schimborski (6-2, 210) returns after missing last year with an injury. He was second-team all-GMC as a sophomore.
Defensive lineman Cal Durni (6-2, 225) started half the games last year and he is looking good.
"These are the nicest young men, nice and polite," Swittel said of his seniors. "I couldn't be happier with the quality of young men I work with here.
"But I don't want them to be too nice on Friday nights."
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Late rally lifts Brookfield East past Franklin boys, 64-61, in season opener
- Boys basketball: Hamilton, Brookfield Central renew rivalry Friday
- Former Central kicker coaching at UW-La Crosse
- Wrestling: Central on both sides of nail-biter, nips Chargers
- East wrestlers lose opener to West Allis Central
- Engelhart, Simon spark two Brookfield East victories
- East girls earn first win, crush Nicolet
- Brookfield Academy
- Boys hockey: Stars romp past Greendale in league opener
- Boys swimming: Borden, Rumpit lead swimmers at home invite