Keeser, Spaulding are Southern Lakes Conference's leading men
Milton High football may be considered an offensive machine, and Justin Spaulding was this year’s most intricate part.
Spaulding, a 5-11, 200-pound senior, led the Red Hawks’ final run through the Southern Lakes Conference in relentless fashion. Despite missing one game on offense because of an injury, he had 1,218 yards rushing, 386 on pass receptions, 1,860 all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns for an 8-3 team that tied for a fourth straight championship.
“What Justin did for our team on offense was amazing,’’ said Milton coach Jeff Bachinski, whose team averaged 34.9 points a game. “He was our ‘go-to’ guy. When we needed points or a first down, and he got the job done.’’
As a result, Spaulding is the Offensive Player of the Year in the Southern Lakes. He’s also a first-team repeater as an offensive and defensive back in the coaches’ all-conference selections.
“Justin’s just a complete player,’’ said Bachinski, the conference Coach of the Year after boosting his five-year career record to 39-14. “He runs well and makes things happen after he gets the ball, with one goal in mind on offense—taking the ball into the end zone.
“His leadership and effort on the field was just outstanding,’’ Bachinski said. “He’s the type of player every coach wants.’’
The same could be said of 6-2, 240-pound senior offensive and defensive lineman Jake Keeser, Fort Atkinson’s third Defensive Player of the Year since 2003.
“He’s right up there with the best,’’ Fort Atkinson coach Steve Mahoney said in comparing the two-way all-conference selection with the Blackhawks’ former standouts. “He was second-team all-conference last year, and went into this season with aspirations of winning that award.’’
Keeser completed the task by leading his third-place 6-4, 4-2 team with 42 solo tackles and 9.5 quarterback sacks.
“We played him at defensive end, but he was also able to go inside,’’ Mahoney said. “He’s very strong, and he put himself in a position to be that good. He’s one of the hardest workers we have, who improved his speed a lot and never had bad game.’’
Jaren Borland may never have had a bad game for the Blackhawks, either. The 6-0, 195-pound senior rushed for 1,345 yards this season, pushing his school-record career total to 3,399, in becoming a first-team repeater in the All-Southern Lakes offensive backfield.
“He was dynamite,’’ Mahoney said of Borland, also a first-team selection as a defensive back. “He comes from a football-oriented family and was just a special player us.’’
Borland is the son of UW-Whitewater defensive coordinator Brian Borland and the grandson of Glen Borland, Fort Atkinson’s former head coach and a member of the WFCA Hall of Fame. But young Borland didn’t ride on those laurels.
“He’s another kid who spent his time in the off-season working his tail off, lifting weights to be the best he could be,’’ Mahoney said.
The best of the Southern Lakes also features Whitewater senior quarterback Grant Bughman, a track and field star, who converted his awesome speed into big yards for the Whippets.
Bughman averaged 7.7 yards per carry in rushing for 849 yards and 11 touchdowns, despite sitting out the season finale with an injury. The 6-2, 185-pound senior also completed 47 of 104 passes for 734 yards in becoming a first-team selection.
“It was incredible to watch his acceleration and ability to run away from people,’’ Whitewater coach Doug Parker said. “He had a good year, but I wish we could have stayed injury-free around him. He lost one of his receivers and linemen who were in and out, and that hurt.’’
Elkhorn had only one painful night—a 49-7 loss to Milton—in racing to an 8-1 regular season that earned the Elks a share of the championship. Alex Lockwood, the league’s No. 2 speedster, played a key role in that success by rushing for 1,177 yards and scoring 90 points en route to a spot in the first-team offensive backfield.
“He was fantastic and worked hard to prepare himself,’’ Elkhorn coach Dean Wilson said of his 6-2, 175-pound senior tailback, who combined speed and contact to help his 8-2 team average 30 points a game. “He broke tackles, didn’t run away from being hit and had some unbelievably great runs.’’
As usual, all the great action at the so-called skill positions was supported by superb line play. And that also is documented in the all-conference selections.
Brian Zamzow, Milton’s 6-foot, 210-pound senior center, is a first-team repeater in the offensive line. That line also includes Ethan Bachinski, the Red Hawks’ 6-3, 208-pound junior tight end, who also is a first-team repeater as a linebacker.
Bryce Bukowski, Whitewater’s 6-foot, 305-pound senior guard and defensive lineman, is a first-team repeater both ways. The repeat list also includes Jake Gahart, Elkhorn’s junior place-kicker.
Milton is the overall leader with first-team selections at seven positions, followed by Elkhorn and Fort Atkinson with six apiece. Whitewater has three, Jefferson and Delavan-Darien one apiece to complete the 24-position first team.
Senior defensive lineman Matt Fredrick and senior linebacker Seth Underwood join Spaulding, Bachinski and Zamzow to complete Milton’s first-team representation.
Along with Lockwood and Gahart, Elkhorn’s high-powered offense is represented by 6-2, 205-pound senior guard Alex Scaro. The Elks’ first-team picks also include senior defensive lineman Eric Kujawa, senior linebacker Ross Vogt and senior defensive back Shaun Banta.
Junior linebacker Tyler Kobs and senior punter Reid Hitt join Borland and Keeser on Fort Atkinson’s first-team list.
Senior offensive linewman Ben Becker, who helped Jefferson to its first winning season since 1999 and a second-round spot in the WIAA Division 3 playoffs, and Delavan-Darien junior receiver Jarrett Fowlkes complete the first team.
Hgt. Wgt. Yr.
QB—Grant Bughman, Whitewater 6-2 185 Sr.
RB—Justin Spaulding, Milton 5-11 200 Sr.
RB—Jaren Borland, Fort Atkinson 6-0 195 Sr.
RB—Alex Lockwood, Elkhorn 6-2 175 Sr.
OL—Brian Zamzow, Milton 6-0 210 Sr.
OL—Bryce Bukowski, Whitewater 6-0 305 Sr.
OL—Alex Scaro, Elkhorn 6-2 205 Sr.
OL—Ben Becker, Jefferson 6-3 235 Sr.
OL—Jake Keeser, Fort Atkinson 6-1 240 Sr.
WR—Jarrett Fowlkes, Delavan-Darien 5-9 165 Jr.
TE—Ethan Bachinski, Milton 6-3 208 Jr.
PK—Jake Gahart, Elkhorn 5-11 145 Jr.
DL—Bryce Bukowski, Whitewater 6-0 305 Sr.
DL—Eric Kujawa, Elkhorn 6-2 220 Sr.
DL—Jake Keeser, Fort Atkinson 6-1 240 Sr.
DL—Matt Fredrick, Milton 6-0 190 Sr.
LB—Ethan Bachinski, Milton 6-3 208 Sr.
LB—Seth Underwood, Milton 5-10 185 Sr.
LB—Ross Vogt, Elkhorn 6-2 210 Sr.
LB—Tyler Kobs 6-4 240 Jr.
DB—Justin Spaulding, Milton 5-11 200 Sr.
DB—Shaun Banta, Elkhorn 5-11 170 Sr.
DB—Jaren Borland, Fort Atkinson 6-0 195 Sr.
P—Reid Hitt, Fort Atkinson 6-3 170 Sr.
QB—Zach Fry, Milton 6-0 195 Jr.
RB—John Simon, Jefferson 6-1 195 Jr.
RB—Ethan Lockhart, Elkhorn 5-10 185 Jr.
RB—Zach Cervantes, Delavan-Darien 5-10 175 Sr.
OL—Nick Roth, Milton 6-2 235 Jr.
OL—Jarred Gonzalez, Fort Atkinson 6-3 305 Jr.
OL—Dan Scherer, Jefferson 6-0 220 Jr.
OL—Alex Bondar, East Troy 6-8 240 Sr.
OL—Ross Vogt, Elkhorn 6-2 210 Sr.
WR—Dan Malison, Fort Atkinson 6-3 195 Sr.
TE—Cody Condon, East Troy 6-4 205 Jr.
PK—Michael Huckabay, Jefferson 6-1 165 Sr.
DL—Alex Scaro, Elkhorn 6-2 205 Sr.
DL—Dan Scherer, Jefferson 6-0 220 Jr.
DL—Rob Ringle, Fort Atkinson 6-0 205 Sr.
DL—Nate Rogers, Milton 5-11 180 Sr.
DL—Cody Trapp, East Troy 6-5 255 Sr.
LB—Richard Kessler, Elkhorn 6-0 170 Jr.
LB—Cory Lipperer, Jefferson 6-0 205 Sr.
LB—Miles Hookstead, Whitewater 6-4 235 Jr.
DB—Jory Tess, East Troy 6-0 190 Sr.
DB—Grant Bughman, Whitewater 6-2 185 Sr.
DB—John Kotz, Fort Atkinson 5-11 175 Sr.
P—Alex Lockwood, Elkhorn 6-2 175 Sr.
Offensive Player of the Year—Justin Spaulding, Milton.
Defensive Player of the Year—Jake Keeser, Fort Atkinson.
Coach of the Year—Jeff Bachinski, Milton.
Delavan-Darien—Jeremiah Samuelson, Michael Gonzalez, Joe Kiemen. East Troy—Jacob Stollenwerk, Chesten Kesselhon, Anthony Schumacher. Elkhorn—Drew White, Dave Scaro, Eric Bryson. Fort Atkinson—Troy Zaspel, Chris Buskirk, Matt Belz.
Jefferson—Josh Alvarado, Shane Jones, Zach Wellnitz. Milton—Shawn Jenson, Chris Nelson, Mark Coogan. Whitewater—Sam Moffatt, Tony Bilderback, Mikle Gabbey.
Elkhorn, 5-1; Milton, 5-1; Fort Atkinson, 4-2; Jefferson, 3-3; Whitewater, 2-4; Delavan-Darien, 1-5; East Troy, 1-5.