Parker grad caps off perfect senior season

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011
— Jeff Henke doesn’t want his high school athletic career to end.

Who can blame him?

The 2011 Janesville Parker graduate will put the final touches on an incredible senior year in Saturday’s Wisconsin Football Coaches Association all-star game at Titan Stadium on the campus of UW-Oshkosh. The 6-foot, 260-pound Henke will play center for the Division 1-3 South all-stars when they face the North team at 7 p.m.

Henke was an All-Big Eight Conference first-team selection as an offensive lineman. He anchored a line that helped the Vikings average nearly 200 yards rushing per game in qualifying for the WIAA playoffs for the 14th time in school history. Henke also was a force in the defensive line, as he remains one of the few players to start both ways in coach Joe Dye’s successful platoon system.

On the baseball diamond, however, is where Henke really sparkled. The first baseman/designated hitter twice beat crosstown rival Janesville Craig with home runs, including a walk-off grand slam in the regional final game at Riverside Park.

Henke did not lose to a Craig team his senior year, beating the Cougars three times in baseball and once in football’s battle for the Monterey Rock.

“That’s something I’m never going to forget,” Henke said of his late-game heroics. “This week, I’m just trying to enjoy the experience, make new friends, and hopefully get a win.

“I never thought I’d be in an all-star game with the best of the best, so that makes this week even more special.”

Henke is on a South team that includes a number of University of Wisconsin recruits, including running back Melvin Gordon of Kenosha Bradford, defensive lineman Derek Watt of Pewaukee and wide receiver/tight end Austin Maly of Waunakee.

The WFCA has held its annual all-star games since 1977, and switched the format to two games featuring Division 1-3 and Division 4-7 in 2009. The Division 1-3 South all-stars have won the first two games of the series.

Henke said practicing on the artificial turf at Perkins Stadium in Whitewater has been an eye-opener.

“The intensity level of every player is what has stood out the most. You see it at every practice,” Henke said. “And because of the overall speed of our team, everything is so much more fast-paced than anything else I’ve ever played.

“And playing on the offensive line, I can’t believe how big our defensive line is. They’re a lot bigger than I thought.’’

All told, Henke knows that playing in the WFCA all-star game is a perfect way to cap off a perfect senior year.

Last updated: 5:54 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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