Brodhead/Juda has Co-Lineman of Year
Nick Jacobson has grown from a pup into a big dog on Brodhead/Juda’s state-bound co-op football team.
That’s the way Cardinals coach Jim Matthys describe his Co-Lineman of the Year in the Rock Valley South.
Jacobson, a 6-5, 245-pound senior, is a first-team repeater as an offensive lineman in the coaches’ All-South selections. He also is a first-team pick as a defensive end and shares the division’s top honor for linemen with Walworth Big Foot senior Dean Smith, a first-team repeater in the offensive and defensive lines.
“Nick has had quite a career,” Matthys said of Jacobson, who also has just been named to the first team on defense in the Wisconsin Football Coaches Associated all-state selections. “He’s been starting since he was a sophomore and has really grown up. He was just a pup when he started, and now he’s one of the big anchors in our line.’’
With the help of that superior line play, which also features 6-4, 265-pound senior Dylan Severson as an All-South first-team selection on offense and defense, Brodhead/Juda has rolled to a 3,772-yard ground game and more than 5,100 yards in total offense. That has carried the Cardinals to an 11-2 season and match-up with Kewaunee (13-0) in the WIAA Division 4 state championship game.
Another key player in that Cardinal surge has been Jesse Delorme, who has rushed 1,093 yards and scored 20 touchdowns in becoming one of the All-Rock Valley South’s three first-team running backs to along with his first-team honor as a linebacker.
“Jesse’s a little bit of both,” Matthys said of the 6-1, 215-pound junior’s acceleration and power in the offensive backfield. “He’s a little bit shifty and explosive in going from zero-to-50 miles per hour, but he’s also been a little more physical the second half of the season. So he runs past people and over them.’’
The same could be said for Palmyra-Eagle fullback Casey Legan, the Rock South’s Back of the Year. As a 5-10, 175-pond senior, Legan put up over 800 yards rushing in nine games for his playoff-qualifying team.
“Casey was very physical, quick and fast, and tough to bring down,” Palmyra-Eagle coach Luke Pedersen said. “Everything you look for in a running back.”
And in the Rock Valley North, there’s the one folks call “Mr. Everything”—McFarland standout Tyler Wedel. As the division’s Back of the Year, the 6-foot, 175-pound senior rushed for 1,089 yards, scored 14 touchdowns, passed for 1,298 yards and 15 touchdowns, punted for a 40.4-yard average in a 12-game season and kicked 29 extra points and two field goals against conference opponents in the becoming the North’s first-team quarterback and a first-team repeater as a defensive back, place-kicker and punter.
“He’s the best quarterback I’ve ever coached,” said McFarland’s Paul Ackley, the Rock North’s Coach of the Year. “When you rush for 1,000 yards and pass for over a 1,000, you can’t ask for much more. But he also was an important part of our defense. And with his punting, he basically made every team drive 80 yards.”
Meanwhile, Wedel’s job on offense was helped by the likes 6-4, 250-pound senior Derek Patten, the North’s Lineman of the Year.
The result was a 10-2 season for McFarland, which tied for its third championship since joining the Rock Valley in 2008.
But while Rock Valley rivals may be glad to see the departure of Wedel, Patten, Legan, Jacobson, Severson and numerous other senior standouts, the abundance of exceptional underclassmen is a notable aspect of the first-team all-conference selections in both divisions—particularly at the “skill” positions.
The young talent on the first teams starts with Delorme, who will be on display Thursday night at Camp Randall Stadium, and goes from there. The North junior standouts include Evansville’s Dalton Sendelbach, Jefferson’s Nate Keller and McFarland’s Jordan Smith in the offensive backfield, joined by Edgerton wide receiver Tyler Oren.
Sendelbach picked up momentum near midseason and finished with 1,063 yards overall and 16 touchdowns in conference play for a league-leading 98 points. Keller had 1,638 yards and 20 touchdowns to power a potent ground game that carried Jefferson to an 8-2 season and second straight North co-championship.
Oren, also a first-team pick as a defensive back, was part of a triple threat that built big numbers for Edgerton through the air. The 5-9, 170-pound standout caught 45 passes for 747 yards and 15 touchdowns, while 6-3, 220-pound senior Tyler Dobratz had 27 receptions for 626 yards, including 12 catches for near-state-record 316 yards in one game.
Oren and Dobratz, also an All-North first-team defensive end and second-team punter and place-kicker, combined for 1,373 of the 2,074 yards passing that have made Edgerton junior Collin Gregory the division’s second-team quarterback.
Clinton junior Aaron Roth completed 90 of 204 passes for 1,498 yards and 22 touchdowns in becoming the South’s first-team quarterback. Along with Legan and Delorme, he is joined in the first-team offensive backfield by Big Foot sophomore Mason Dixon.
The 5-9, 185-pound Dixon rushed for 1,236 yards and scored 11 touchdowns, while surprising even his coach by reaching such a high level at a young age.
“I thought he was going to be a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust guy, and he’s running 50, 60 yards sometimes,” said Big Foot coach Rodney Wedig said after his Chiefs won a fourth Rock Valley championship and began the defense of their Division 4 state title. “That’s great when you’ve got a fullback who can be a home-run hitter like that.”
It doesn’t hurt, either, to have linemen like Smith—a first-team pick on offense and defense in the coaches’ all-state selections and a three-year force in Big Foot’s surge to a staggering 37-4 cumulative record.
“He’s pretty quiet, but a solid kid and the strongest kid on the team,” Wedig said of Smith. “He’s been our leader and a real driver.”
Not only did Smith help drive the Chiefs to a 7-0 record in the Rock Valley and 3,000-yard ground game in a 10-3 season, but he was a force on a defense that posted three straight shutouts down the stretch and went seven straight games in allowing no more than one touchdown.
Along with Wedig as the South’s Coach of the Year, the champion Chiefs are represented at 10 positions on the all-conference first team. They have senior Sean Kivlin as third-time selection at place-kicker and senior Jordan Gottman as a repeater at linebacker, joined by senior offensive lineman Kyle Collins, senior defensive linemen Vaughn Bourassa and Garrett Cary, junior linebacker Ian Vara and junior defensive back Kenneth Walker.
Brodhead/Juda, which lost 21-20 in overtime to Big Foot in the game that decided the Rock South championship, then knocked off the Chiefs, 32-14, in the state semifinals, occupies eight first-team All-South spots. Senior wide receiver Michael Peterson and senior defensive back Alex Wallace complete the Cardinal contingent.
Orfordville Parkview has placed senior offensive lineman Billy Beggs and sophomore linebacker Joe Busch on the first team. Senior receiver Brett Eliszewski and senior punter Ross Oldenburg join Roth in representing Clinton, while Palmyra-Eagle senior defensive back Joe Fox and Turner senior tight end Jacob Somers complete the South’s first team.
McFarland heads the North’s first team with six spots on offense, four on defense and two on special teams. Along with Wedel, the Spartans have a two-way pick in junior wide receiver and defensive end Jacob Peeters.
Evansville senior Konnor Johnson (6-2, 235) and Jefferson senior Max Adkins (6-1, 240) are first-team repeaters in the defensive line.
Along with Sendelbach, Evansville has senior lineman Lucas Hurtley (6-2, 243) on the North’s first-team offense, joined by senior linebacker Tom Bjugstad and senior Dylan Erickson in the defensive secondary. The offensive line also includes Jefferson senior Titus Rubietta, and the defense’s four first-team linebackers include Whitewater senior Weston Welter.