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Fogerty leads Walworth Big Foot defensive threat

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John McPoland
October 16, 2008
— Walworth Big Foot linebacker Matt Fogerty loves nothing more than crashing into opposing players and wreaking havoc on the football field.

Take that away, and he turns to mush. Want proof?


Fogerty, a two-time All-Rock Valley first-team selection, has been nursing a bum foot this season. The team trainer and Big Foot coaching staff decided to hold Fogerty out of the Oct. 3 game against Beloit Turner and give the aching foot a one-week break.


The decision to rest one of the team’s top defensive players for one game didn’t go over well with Fogerty.


“It was the hardest thing I ever had to tell somebody,” said Steve Bochat, the Chiefs’ defensive coordinator.


“I hated it,” Fogerty said. “I was a little bit depressed. I cried a little bit.”


Last week, Fogerty was back in the lineup as the Chiefs, 7-0 and ranked No. 3 in The Associated Press poll for schools with enrollments between 284 and 742, won a 7-6 slobber-knocker over Brodhead/Juda in battle of unbeaten teams. That victory left Big Foot one win away from a tie for the Rock Valley South Division title and within reach of a second straight outright championship.


The Chiefs, however, have their sights set on bigger things this year.


“Camp Randall Stadium—that’s what we’re shooting for,” Fogerty said of a potential state title game. “The seniors on this team have been fighting for that since we got to high school.”


Fogerty, who will approach 300 total career tackles before the season ends, has become a defensive linchpin for a team that has allowed just 63 points this season—12 in the last three games.


Fogerty had a team-high 83 tackles in seven conference games as a sophomore. He backed that up last season, leading his 10-1 team with 117 tackles. He had four sacks, three forced fumbles and eight tackles for a loss.


Teams have wizened up a bit this season, but Fogerty still leads the Chiefs with 69 total tackles.


“Teams have started to make sure they have Matt blocked. That’s why his numbers have dropped,” Big Foot coach Rodney Wedig said.


With all the big hits and daredevil attitude, it’s hard to believe that Fogerty began his football career as a self-described frightened 9-year-old.


“Back when I played youth football, I was scared at first,” Fogerty said.


He has since become a player with such a banzai attitude that the Chiefs also use him a fullback and on special teams.


“I love running down the field on the kickoff team,” Fogerty said. “You can hit people at full speed.”


In fact, one of the most memorable individual moments of Fogerty’s career came last season against Turner on a kickoff. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Fogerty—who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds—blew up two players in the wedge, then lit up the return man with an explosive tackle.


“You can hit a guy so hard that they’re just gone,” said Fogerty, the son of Jeff and Jill Fogerty. “But it feels like you hardly hit anything at all.”


“Matt just has a nose for the football,” Wedig said. “He has a way of shedding blocks and getting to the ball.


“It’s something you try to teach kids, but it just seems to come natural to Matt. He’s good at seeing the offensive line move and going with the play. He has also developed pass coverage skills.


“You hear that cliché about a kid who will run through a brick wall. That’s Matt. But he’s an extremely coachable kid.”


Division I Western Michigan and Division II St. Cloud State have shown the most interest in Fogerty. He also caught the eye of the Wisconsin coaching staff during a three-day summer camp. The Badgers have offered Fogerty a chance to come to Madison as a “preferred walk-on.”


“Nobody really acts like they want to give me any (scholarship) money,” Fogerty said.


It’s almost certain that Fogerty won’t be playing linebacker at the next level. With his size and speed, he’ll likely end up as a safety.


For now he’s concentrating on the end of the regular season and the playoffs. He also knows his last high school football game isn’t that far off.


And it will be mush time again for Fogerty.


“I’ll be bawling like a baby the last game I play,” he said.



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