Brookfield East football team takes home many postseason honors
GMC names Alec James, Brian Smith top defenders
Good things have been happening since Tom Swittel took over as head coach of the Brookfield East football team three years ago.
After going 9-2 and 7-4 and making the playoffs his first two seasons, the Spartans took an even bigger step this year.
The Spartans went 7-0 in the Greater Metro Conference to win their first conference championship since 1984, the only other title in the school's history.
The Spartans advanced to Level 3 in the playoffs for the first time in school history and came within 3 minutes, 53 seconds of moving on to the semifinals. East has put together a 26-7 record and a .788 winning percentage under the veteran coach with a 10-1 mark this season. The 10 wins were also a school record.
The Spartans weren't picked as one of the three co-favorites in the pre-season. But they ended up averaging 32.3 points a game and only allowed 10.3 points a game.
The offense was led by some talented skill position players and a solid offensive line.
Junior quarterback Zach Damico combined for 2,174 yards passing and rushing and 25 touchdowns and running back Zach Schober rushed for 1,125 yards and 12 scores.
The Spartans also had two outstanding wide receivers in seniors Brian Smith, who had a 16.7 yards per catch average and seven touchdowns, and Kyle Wirtz had a 12.1 average and five touchdowns, two of which were rushing.
Leaders on the defense - but certainly not the whole show - were defensive end Alec James (12 sacks, 97 tackles), who is headed to the University of Wisconsin, and senior linebackers John LeClaire and Landon McDonald, who both led the team with 109 tackles, as well as Schober at linebacker and Smith and Wirtz leading the secondary.
Several Spartans earned all-GMC honors.
James was the Defensive Lineman of the Year and Smith was the Defensive Back of the Year, making first-team all-conference at wide receiver and defensive back.
First-team selections were Damico at quarterback, John LeClaire at inside linebacker, senior Eric Weller at offensive tackle and junior Noah Pulsifer at guard on the offensive line.
Schober was first team at running back and honorable mention at outside linebacker.
Wirtz was second-team at wide receiver and honorable mention at defensive back, while senior inside linebacker McDonald, senior defensive lineman Jack Podewils, senior defensive lineman Erik Hunt and sophomore place-kicker Connor Allen were second-team selections.
Other honorable mention honors went to senior offensive guard Zach DeValkenaere, sophomore center PJ LeClaire and senior defensive back Andy Gould.
Swittel will lose 24 seniors to graduation.
DeValkenaere, Gould, Hunt, James, John LeClaire, McDonald, Podewils, Schober, Smith, Weller, Wirtz, James Bianco, Sam Brunker, Matt Davis, Johnny Dietz, Steve Eilbes, Dylan Golla, John Kalupa, Alex Lessila, Griffin Lynch, Michael McCudden, Dennis Mistrioty, Brandon Richter and Steven Tongas.
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