Wallaces to leave high school football after championship game
For Steve Wallace, Thursday night’s Division 4 state title game will cap off 29 years as an assistant football coach at Brodhead High School.
Wallace, as coach of the defensive backs and running backs, has been an integral part of Brodhead/Juda’s state record 19 straight postseason berths that began in 1992. The Rock Valley South Conference coaches voted Wallace the Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010.
For Steve’s son, Alex, Thursday’s game will be the final one in a successful high school career. Alex earned All-Rock Valley South first-team honors this season as a defensive back, and second-team recognition at running back.
Win or lose, the state title game against unbeaten Kewaunee will evoke a lifetime of memories.
“I’ll tell Alex the same thing I’ll tell everyone else on the team, and that is to live for the moment,” Steve said. “Have fun, and keep focused on the task at hand.
“It’s enjoyable for me to go out together and to go out this way. The reason I’m retiring after this season is because I wanted to go out when my last child, Alex, was completing his last season.
“But playing for a state title? I’m not sure either one of us expected that.”
The Cardinals (11-2) started the season 1-2, including a 21-20 overtime loss to defending Division 4 state champion Walworth Big Foot. Brodhead/Juda got revenge, however, when it defeated the Chiefs for the first time in the last six meetings, 32-14, in last Saturday’s state semifinal game.
Steve Wallace said the early-season loss might have been the best thing for the Cardinals. Alex shared those sentiments.
“I don’t think anyone ever thought we’d be playing for a state title coming into the season,” Alex said. “But after losing to River Valley late in our first game, and then losing to Big Foot in a game we probably should’ve won, that proved we could play with the best teams in the state.
“We know we probably don’t have that one go-to guy that teams of the past have had, but there are a lot of options on this team.”
Alex has rushed for 1,037 yards this season and scored 12 touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is averaging 7.63 yards per carry, and along with junior Jesse Delorme, is part of a Cardinal offense that is averaging 290.15 yards rushing per game.
Although his father is also his running backs coach, Alex said it has been business as usual all season.
“He probably yells at me more at home than he does during practice or games,” Alex said. “I don’t get any special treatment.”
Steve also coaches his son in the secondary. Brodhead/Juda’s defense is allowing only 231 yards of offense per game, including 104 per-game through the air.
Steve is wrapping up close to 40 years of coaching high school football. He spent five years at Wilmot High School as an assistant coach and five more at Cambria-Friesland, including four as the head coach, before joining the staff at Brodhead. Steve also is an assistant and the head coach in boys basketball at Brodhead, along with being an assistant in track and field.
“I could’ve gotten out before, but I was here for my other five kids and I wanted to be here for Alex,” Steve said. “I’m glad I waited.
“It has been so exciting, and regardless of what happens Thursday, it doesn’t matter. The two of us have done something we will remember the rest of our lives.”
So, for the Wallaces, this story is going to have a happy ending. No matter what the final score is.