Tiger Football Ends Historic Season

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Tiger Football Ends Historic Season

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The Chilton Tiger varsity football team ended the 2019 season with a record-breaking accomplishment. From individual honors to a historic playoff run, this year’s team made the season one to remember for years to come.

“This season was a historical one for our program,” said Mr. Michael Arendt, the head football coach and a physical education teacher at CHS and CES. “Before the season started, I knew that we were going to be very competitive. We had 18 seniors returning this year, and a good amount of them were involved in our off-season training program throughout the summer. We had a lot to prove, though, as we really didn’t have much respect throughout the conference and the state. We came into the season predicted to finish fifth in our conference, and we were not even mentioned in the top ten in state conversation.”

Of the last 20 years, the team has made it to the playoffs 11 years, including this season. Five of those first-round playoffs resulted in a win, but the 2019 season marked the team’s first-ever win in a second-round playoff game.

Senior captain Gaven Lisowe said, “We knew we would make the playoffs after the Brillion game, and we were ready and hungry for the playoffs.”

The first three rounds of the five game playoff series are played at the higher seed’s home field. The fourth round game is played at a neutral field, and the winners of those games advance to the state championship held at Camp Randall Stadium November 21-22.

The Tigers earned the #3 seed in Division 5 and played Wittenberg-Birnamwood in the first round of the WIAA playoffs at Morrissey Field on October 25. Chilton came out on top with a 27-14 win, advancing them to face the second seeded Kewaunee Storm at Kewaunee High School in the second round of playoffs the following week.

“The first playoff game was like slow motion, and we came out on top,” Lisowe said. “Then we had Kewaunee, and we knew they were beatable.”

The team upset Kewaunee on November 1, with a dominating performance, 41-26.

Since 2007, Kewaunee and Chilton have dueled eight times, and of those eight games, the Tigers have only come out on top twice.

“Our kids and coaching staff were able to get our program to the third level of the state playoffs, which has never been done before, by beating Kewaunee in Kewaunee,” Mr. Arendt said. “Kewaunee also had an offensive lineman who was a UW Badger commit and a monster on the field (6’6”, 290 lbs.) who our kids never backed down from.”

On November 8, the Tigers lost in the third round of the playoffs, falling to the Amherst Falcons 24-19 at Heartland Farms Field. Although the loss was disheartening, it was the furthest any Chilton football team had advanced in the five game playoff series since it began 44 years ago.

“Playoff run? It felt amazing,” senior captain Kaiden Mikalowsky said. “Obviously, I wish we went further, and I believe we should have. But I am still very proud of this team for their accomplishments. I hope that history continues to be made in the next few years by making it further than us, shutting out different teams, hanging on to the 151 sign and having a better record than the 2019 team.”

Overall, the Tigers finished third in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference, falling only to the undefeated Kiel Raiders and the Sheboygan Falls Falcons during the regular season, giving them a final record of 9-3. This is the team’s best record since 2005, when Chilton finished with a 9-2 record.

“By the end of the season, we finished third in the conference, were ranked as high as eighth in the state and lost in the third round of the playoffs to a team that we had opportunities to beat and that was ranked second in the state, 19-24,” Mr. Arendt said. “Our kids this season had a ton of fight in them. We were almost always oversized in every game, and our kids never flinched.  Our kids handled adversity very well and would not dwell on things that happened throughout the game.”

But the team’s playoff run is not the only notable highlight of the season.

In the second week of the season, Chilton honored the 50th anniversary of the 1969 team’s historic season, otherwise known as the team that went “undefeated, untied, and unscored upon.” The former team members gathered together to watch the Tigers defeat Winnebago Lutheran Academy and were honored on the field at halftime.

The WIAA did not sponsor post-season playoffs until 1976, meaning the 1969 team only had eight regular season games in its schedule.

Chilton hit the road in week three to take on the Huskies at New Holstein. In a hard-fought game, the Tigers bested the Huskies 15-14, the first win in the matchup since 2007.

“We knew it would be a good year, but wanted to be the best we ever had in Chilton and have teams respect us. (The team) had talked about not having the respect we deserved from anyone,” Lisowe said. “The win from New Holstein gave us a lot of confidence.”

Then in week four, the Tigers played a home game against Two Rivers. Chilton held strong throughout the entirety of the game and shut out the Purple Raiders 35-0, being the first team in over 10 years to do so. WBAY News named the matchup their Game of the Week and featured the game in their “Operation Football” highlights.

A few weeks later, the Tigers faced Valders and went on to win 49-0. Chilton had three punt returns for touchdowns during the game. This win brought The Battle of Highway 151, the traveling trophy between the two teams, to hang in CHS’s gym for the first time since the creation of the trophy.

Additionally, Chilton brought in the National Guard artillery to help celebrate Homecoming.

“Our kids’ motto this year was #ALWAYS CHASIN’,” Mr. Arendt said, “and I feel that our kids — no matter what happened — were always trying to push themselves to get to the next step and help put this program in places it has never been before.”

Many of the players, particularly the seniors, earned various honors throughout the season. Seniors Markus Suttner, Devin Aull and Ryan Broeckel earned first team all-conference honors, which accounts for just three of the total 17 all-conference honors. Aull also earned all-region honors.

Lisowe had an impressive season, particularly in the second round of playoffs at Kewaunee where he accounted for five touchdowns. His performance that night earned him a nomination for the Wisconsin Sports Network’s (WSN) Football Player of the Week. After a statewide vote, Lisowe earned the most votes to be selected as the Level 2 Player of the Week.

“I had the game of my life, and the support I got from my teammates and the school was incredible,” Lisowe said. “I loved the way the team came together and strived for greatness, and I love all my teammates. They are like family to me. We had a lot of plays of the week, and we were a great team.”

Lisowe wasn’t the only Chilton name written across Wissports.net. On October 3, WSN dubbed Broeckel as the Triple Threat Athlete of the Week due to his involvement in football, basketball and baseball as well as maintaining a high academic standing.

“It was nice to be recognized for being a three sport athlete on the state level,” Broeckel said. “Being a small town kid, we usually don’t get as much recognition as big city kids. It was really cool to be able to show my achievements on and off the field in that magnitude.”

Broeckel along with fellow seniors Ben Savage and Evan Schmitz were also recognized by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association as Individual Academic All-State award winners.

When all is said and done, the Tiger’s 2019 season is sure to be one for the books. “I am very fortunate to have the coaches that I have and to have been able to coach these great kids,” Mr. Arendt said. “I cannot wait to see where they all are 10 years from now!”