2020 was an odd year for area prep football teams, many of whom played an alternate season in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Milton was one of those schools, and the Red Hawks went 5-2 in an anomalous season that allowed for no playoffs. It also ended in late April-early May, and spring sport athletes had to immediately transition right into their next sport.
Spring sports didn’t end until late June, which is making for a very short offseason as a (hopefully) somewhat more normal fall sports campaign approaches.
For Milton coach Rodney Wedig, who is now entering his third season guiding the Red Hawks, the odd situation had its pros and cons.
“On one hand, it was a good thing, because we were able to install most of our stuff in the spring, and now it’s fresh in the kids’ minds,” Wedig said. “But on the other hand, you have to be careful not to overload the kids,”
The Red Hawks are blessed with great numbers. They have 31 returning letter winners and should have enough numbers to keep all their sophomores at the junior varsity level.
Key returning players for Milton include senior safety Jack Campion, who had 57 total tackles (one for loss) in the spring. Linebacker Zack Bothum had 72 total tackles (four for loss). He also recovered three fumbles.
The Red Hawks have a QB battle between returning senior starter Cayden Zajac and Aiden Schoen.
Zajac completed 21-of-45 passes for 389 yards and six TDs in the alternate spring season. He’s being pushed by Schoen, a junior, who led the Milton JV to an undefeated mark in the spring.
Offensively, Wedig said he wants to run a little more two-back set this season, focusing a bit more on the run.
“When you get to those Level 3 playoff games in November, you never know what the conditions are going to be like,” Wedig said. “Throwing the ball becomes more risky, so you have to be able to run the ball effectively.”
Under the WIAA’s latest realignment, the Red Hawks will be the smallest team in the Badger Large, which this season will include Milton, Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker, Waunakee, DeForest,