It’s hard enough taking over for a coach who took his team to the state finals. Now David Esswein has the COVID pandemic to deal with as a new era in Kiel Raider football unfolds this Friday night. It’s a reduced schedule, but Esswein should have another strong Raider squad in his debut season.
The 2020 Raider football preview:
KIEL RAIDER FOOTBALL PROFILE
Head Coach: David Esswein (1st Season)
2019 Record: 13-1 overall (State runnerup in Division 4); 7-0 conference (1st place)
Playoff Appearances: 13
Playoff Record: 10-13
2019 RAIDERS: The most successful season in Kiel football history as Kiel not only made Level 4 playoffs for the first time ever, but also the state finals for the first time where they met a Waukesha Catholic Memorial team that plays in a Division 1 conference. Coach Mike Dressler retired after the season winning back-to-back Eastern Wisconsin Conference championships.
Kiel had 12 All-EWC selections including Defensive Player of the Year Jason Klauck and co-Offensive Player of the Year in Hunter Scharenbroch.
Mitch Mahler (1st Team-QB), Alex Kleinhans (1st Team-RB), Keegan Kerber (1st Team-O Line), Zach Welnetz (1st Team-O Line), Connor Voelker (1st Team-D Back and kicker), Nathan Goehring (1st Team- Def. End and Punter; 2nd Team-Tight End), Ian Clark (1st Team-D Line & 2nd Team-O Line), Clayton Lepisto (2nd Team-Inside LB); Wade Kannich (2nd Team-Outside LB); Jacob Vogel (HM- O Line); and Aaron Winkel (HM-D Back).
2020 RAIDERS: A lot of graduation losses, but also a lot of ammunition with 20 lettermen returning led by Klauck with Kleinhans returning in the backfield and Jacob Vogel on the line. Other returning lettermen are Bryce Loof (line), Matthew Schmitt (line), Isaac Isselmann (line), Carson Lepisto (quarterback and defensive back), Keenan Manz (tight end/line), Jack Ramminger (line), Jayden Gimbi (line), Logan Kalista (split end & DB), Jose Capetillo (split end & DB), Max Schaefer (split end & DB), Connor Meyer (running back & linebacker), Odin Funkhouser (line), Michael Plautz (line), Reed Libke (end & linebacker), Max Kraus (split end & DB), Matt Schmitt (line), Tyler Halfmann (line) and Nate Plautz (quarterback and def. back).
Kiel enters the season with a 15-game conference win streak. Prior to that Sheboygan Falls won 21 in a row. Prognosticators due pick Kiel as the favorite again.
As far as post season goes, there will only be two rounds of regionalized playoffs, so the thinking is that you have to win their conference if they want to be in the playoffs. Official playoff announcements are due out in early October.
2020 Kiel Raider Schedule
(All games at 7 pm)
Sep. 25- Home vs. Kohler/Sheb. Lutheran/Sheb. Christian
Oct. 2- at Two Rivers
Oct. 9- Home vs. Valders
Oct. 16- Home vs. Manitowoc Roncalli
Oct. 23- at Chilton
Oct. 30- Home vs. New Holstein
Nov. 6- at Brillion
Nov. 13- WIAA Level 1 Playoffs (tba)
Nov. 20- WIAA Level 2 Playoffs (tba)
(No state finals this season)