Milton quarterback repeats on All-Badger South team
Milton High’s huge loss will be Illinois State University’s big gain.
That’s the way Milton coach Jeff Bachinski sees things shaking down as Nate Hammon, the Red Hawks’ star quarterback, awaits a future as a Redbird in college football.
Hammon, a 6-2, 210-pound senior, has committed to Illinois State, but not before earning the honor as a first-team repeater in the coaches’ All-Badger South selections.
“Illinois State is going to get a great player,’’ Bachinski said of the NCAA Division I-AA school in Normal, Ill. “Nate will have a great impact on their program.’’
Hammon already has done that in Milton and Badger Conference football. After passing for 1,294 yards in becoming the All-Badger South quarterback as a junior, he dazzled the opposition this season by throwing for 2,077 yards and 19 touchdowns to go along with his 819 yards rushing and the 16 touchdowns he scored in 10 games.
“Anytime he touched the ball, he was a constant threat to score, either by running or throwing,” Bachinski said. “He’s as fine a player as we’ve ever had at our school, and we built our offense around him. In the past, we’ve been a two-back team, and this year we went to the spread.
“We’re very fortunate to have had a kid like that. He’s an outstanding student, very humble and team-oriented, never putting himself above the team. And he can do so many things.”
In fact, it wasn’t just Hammon’s offense that helped lift Milton to a 5-1 conference record and second-place finish in the Badger South. He also is the all-conference punter after kicking 30 times for a 36.1-yard average.
Hammon was joined on a Milton squad that included six others who received first-team all-conference honors. Along with Hammon at quarterback, the Red Hawks have a repeater in senior receiver Phil McCarthy.
Milton’s offense, which averaged 31 points a game, also in represented on the first team by junior running back Collin Sayre and junior tight end Sam McCann. The Red Hawks also have senior lineman Colton Rupnow, junior linebacker Ian Johnson and junior back Riley Kovars on the first-team defense.
Hammon, McCann, Rupnow and Johnson join a group of 15 unanimous choices among the 27 first-team selections.
After being an all-conference tight end last season, McCarthy shifted to a slot position this season and retained a first-team spot by catching 53 passes for 635 yards. McCann took over at tight end for the Red Hawks and had 41 receptions for 544 yards.
Sayre complemented his teammates’ efforts in Milton’s 4,300 yards of total offense with 113 carries rushing attempts for 488 yards.
Kovars caught 54 passes for 1,020 yards in 10 games as a second-team all-conference receiver, but his first-team recognition comes on defense after he carried out the assignment of bearing down on the opponents’ best receivers.
Johnson contributed 36 solo tackles, 27 assists and 16 tackles for loss to the Milton defense. Rupnow had 20.5 solos and 42 assists.
Meanwhile, after going 0-12 in the conference the last two years, Fort Atkinson turned the corner toward a brighter future with two Badger South victories this fall. Josh Boos, a 6-1, 270-pound senior tackle, was a key contributor and has made the all-conference offensive unit as the Blackhawks’ only first-team selection.
“He’s as good a lineman as we’ve had in the last 10 years,” Fort Atkinson coach Steve
Mahoney said. “Very strong, and I think he’s a got a good chance to play (NCAA) Division III football.”
Overall, champion Monona Grove leads the Badger South first-team selections with five spots on offense and seven from a defensive unit that allowed only 59 points in 12 games. The Silver Eagles have first-team repeaters in senior wide receiver Zach Zweifel and senior linebacker Taylor Steinke.
Zweifel, also a defensive back, joins Hammon as the only two-way selections. Monroe senior defensive lineman Nick Walker is the only other repeater.