Senior quarterback Dalton Damon leaves a Waukesha West defender in the dust, dashing away from him, during an Aug. 15 at Waukesha West. The scrimmage also included Hamilton and Oak Creek (Rick Benavides/Standard Press).

High-powered Demon offense could put up points, hopes to duplicate big season

By Mike Ramczyk
Correspondent

In Steve Tenhagen’s 12 seasons as a high school football coach, his teams have won seven or more games twice – in 2009 when he led Delavan-Darien to a Southern Lakes Conference title and last year when his Burlington Demons went 7-2.

It was the former Demon wide receiver’s best season as Burlington head coach, slightly topping 2014’s SLC crown by one game in the win column.

A big factor in last year’s success was the contributions of six stars who are currently playing college football – Nick Webley (St. Cloud State), Taylon Hensley (St. Cloud State), Julian Luciano (SW Minnesota State), Brian Konz (Duluth), Josh Letkewicz (Upper Iowa) and Caelab Caretta (Concordia).

Despite the huge losses, Tenhagen, who boasts a 61-57 overall coaching record and an impressive 28-21 mark at Burlington, may be able to build on the momentum of 2018.

“We are looking to be competitive on a weekly basis,” Tenhagen said. “We have a great group of guys. We are excited for the challenge ahead.”

A strong number of 31 players are returning lettermen, and the varsity squad has about 45 athletes in camp.

Tenhagen said there are about 15 players who saw consistent playing time last season.

With Waterford, a team that accounted for one of Burlington’s three losses (7-3 overall, lost in first round of playoffs to Brookfield East), back as the defending SLC champion and favorite to repeat with the dynamic running back duo of Tanner Keller and Dominic Miller, it could be a tall task for the Demons to win the SLC.

The biggest adjustment may be on the line of scrimmage, where Tenhagen says the Demons will start two sophomores and a senior who needed to make a position change.

Only four starters return on defense, including second team all-SLC linebacker Jack Shenkenburg, linebacker Luis Guevara, defensive end Christian Brenner and defensive back Jake Klug.

The offense, Tenhagen’s calling card in the past, brings back seven starters, most notably senior quarterback Dalton Damon, who earned first team All-Conference honors as a junior.

Luke Walesa and Charlie Terry return on the offensive line, and second team all-SLC pick Dylan Runkel makes a switch to tight end/wide receiver, where he accepted a scholarship to play college football at Division 1 Western Illinois.

Junior Zach Wallace is back at running back, where he was fifth in the SLC last year with nearly 700 yards.

Damon, who was the conference’s sixth-best rusher a year ago, piled up more than 500 yards on the ground, along with 1,800 through the air to lead the conference by 600 yards.

Other offensive weapons will be Ethan Safar at wide receiver along with second team all-SLC tight end Otto Traxinger.

Burlington hosts Whitnall at Don Dalton Field at 7 p.m. Friday.

To read the entire story see the Aug. 22 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.