In terms of experience, perhaps no team in the Rock Valley Conference can rival the Edgerton Crimson Tide.

After essentially copying their starting lineup from last season and pasting it into 2018, the Tide finally appear ready to change their status from rebuilding to contending.

“Football is a senior sport,” Edgerton head coach Mike Gregory said Friday before his team left for a scrimmage in Mayville. “You’ve got to have good seniors to be successful, and we’ve got that this year.”

All 11 offensive starters return, while 10 come back on the defensive side. If experience was the only indicator of success, Edgerton would be the conference favorite.

“There’s a sense of urgency,” Gregory said. “We’re so much further along than we’ve been in the past."

The Crimson Tide were more competitive in 2017 than their 2-7 record would suggest. They held leads against Beloit Turner, East Troy and Brodhead/Juda--all eventual losses--before fading in the second half. Flip those results around and Edgerton would have had its first playoff berth since 2013.

“It’s not that we were that far off,” Gregory said.

One of Gregory’s priorities is fortifying a defense that gave up 42.9 points per game last season. The Tide held one opponent under 36 points.

“Porous is how I would describe it last year,” Gregory said of the defense. “We didn’t stop anybody.

“We were playing sophomores and some juniors last year. We’ll be better.”

Defensive end Jordan Lietz recorded 50 tackles (nine for loss) and four sacks in 2017 to garner first-team all-conference honors. The 210-pound senior was named to a preseason watch list and appears primed for an even bigger campaign. Defensive tackle Reed Farrington, linebacker Ben Wileman and defensive back Skyler Gullickson will be other players to watch.

Senior quarterback Jaden Johnson is entering his third season as the starter after leading the Rock Valley with 1,672 passing yards in 2017. His top two targets, senior Mason Simmons (658 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Gullickson (432 yards, four touchdowns) return.

Simmons, a 6-foot-1 senior, led the Rock Valley in receiving touchdowns despite often being the focus of opposing defenses.

“Last year, people tried to bracket Mason to take him away,” Gregory said. “Do that … we’ve got more weapons and are going to be more diverse than in the past.”

Edgerton should again be among the Rock Valley’s best passing teams, but more production from the ground game will be needed. Junior Devin Jorgensen (404 yards) is the team’s top returning ball carrier. The Tide averaged just 94.4 rushing yards per game last season while allowing opponents to average nearly 320 yards.

Gregory said Johnson, who led the Tide with seven rushing touchdowns in 2017, will again have the opportunity to showcase his running ability in Edgerton’s spread offense.

“Jaden is quicker with his reads. He’s so much more decisive,” Gregory said. “He’s going to be more of a running threat this year.”

The Crimson Tide have the offensive personnel to win shootouts in the explosive Rock Valley. But if their defense can stop opponents with more consistency, a playoff berth, and potentially a run at the conference crown, is absolutely on the table.

Edgerton 2018 football roster


2;Skyler Gullickson;Jr.;6-1;170;WR/DB

4;Cody Georgeson;Jr.;6-0;175;WR/DB

5;Devin Jorgenson;Jr.;5-9;170;RB/LB

6;Jaden Johnson;Sr.;6-3;195;QB/DB

7;Elijah South;Sr.;6-1;175;WR/DB

9;Hunter Reilly;Sr.;5-9;160;RB/DB

10;Brian Rusch;Jr.;6-3;160;QB/DB

11;Sam Hessian;Jr.;6-2;185;QB/DB

13;Jared Aokoh;Jr.;5-11;170;WR/DB

14;Tony Beighley;So.;5-8;125;WR/DB

16;Trenton Eastman;Sr.;6-3;175;WR/DB

20;Dominick Reyes;Jr.;5-9;180;WR/DB

21;Sawyer Strouse;So.;5-6;135;WR/DB

23;Ryan Kisting;Sr.;5-8;150;RB/DB

24;Mitchel Popp;Sr.;5-So.;180;WR/LB

26;Mason Simmons;Sr.;6-1;200;WR/LB

28;Clayton Jenny;So.;6-0;185;WR/LB

32;Nick Spang;Jr.;6-8;235;WR/DB

41;Max French;Jr.;5-8;135;WR/DB

42;Alex Ramirez;Jr.;5-7;175;WR/LB

43;Ethan Krause;So.;6-0;150;RB/LB

44;Sam Veitch;Sr.;5-So.;170;RB/LB

50;Cesar Ochoa;Sr.;6-0;225;G/LB

51;Ben Wileman;Jr.;6-2;215;G/LB

52;Jordan Lietz;Sr.;6-1;225;T/DE

54;Brett Langer;So.;6-3;165;T/DE

56;Hudson Conant;Fr.;5-Jr.;215;G/De

58;Kaden Good;Jr.;5-10;225;T/DT

63;Brandon Heisz;Sr.;6-0;195;T/DT

64;Hunter Osborne;Jr.;5-7;210;G/DT

67;Tyler Bogan;Jr.;6-2;270;T/DT

68;Brenton Shue;Sr.;6-0;185;T/DE

70;Reed Farrington;Jr.;6-2;255;T/DT

71;Reese Porter;So.;6-1;165;T/DE

72;Peyton Fox;So.;6-1;165;C/LB

73;Matt Cornett;Jr.;5-10;205;G/DE

74;Bryce Tate;Jr.;6-1;250;C/DT

78;Sam Hedding;Jr.;6-1;190;G/DE

79;Lucas Kessel;Jr.;6-0;210;G/DT

86;Ethan Norland;Sr.;6-3;164;WR/DB

88;Ethan Ringelstetter;Sr.;5-7;150;WR/DB