Despite a few glitches, cancellations and postponements, the alternate fall football season was more of an elixir for those involved rather than the headache many expected.
More than 95% of games scheduled were played, according to Travis Wilson of wissports.net. COVID restrictions and guidelines were not the only reason games were lost. Several were canceled due to a lack of numbers for one of the participating schools.
The final two weeks of the alternate fall season were taxing for both players and coaches because of the start of the spring sports season, but it was a problem everyone was willing to work around.
And the one word that keeps popping up when talking to area coaches is “opportunity.” The alternate fall season gave players, especially seniors, the opportunity to put on the pads one last time after COVID-19 postponed the 2020 fall season.
“I think we checked every box that we had coming into the season,” Brodhead/Juda coach Jim Matthys said. “And I think the most important thing we can take from it is that we gave our seniors a good experience that they weren’t sure they were ever going to get.
“Once we stepped on the field, and I’m sure everyone else will say the same thing, it was football as usual. To me, the season went better than we ever expected.”
With the majority of area schools ending their seasons in Week 5 or Week 6, let’s take a look at some standout performances—both individually and by teams.
I’m declaring Brodhead/Juda the mythical WIAA Division 4 alternate season state champion. The Cardinals finished 6-0 and capped off the unbeaten season with a 64-6 win over Orfordville Parkview last Friday.
Brodhead/Juda stepped up in class with big wins over New Glarus/Monticello and Mount Horeb/Barneveld, and with talented freshman and sophomore classes waiting in the wings, should be a force for years to come.
“We had a pretty special group of ‘football’ players, who bought into everything we asked of them from Day 1,” Matthys said. “We had great senior leaders, great camaraderie on the team and a strong work ethic from each and every class.
“What made this season extra special was that this group of seniors had never won anything at any level. Now they go out with an unbeaten season and a conference championship.
“And for our younger kids, especially the freshmen and sophomores that got a lot of playing time at the varsity level, we proved we can play with the bigger schools. They were playing junior varsity games on Monday and the second half of our varsity games on Friday. You can’t beat that experience.”
First-year coaches Garth Coats of Evansville and Russ Lietz of Edgerton also found success in the alternate fall season. Evansville went 3-2 and averaged 30.2 points a game, while Edgerton was also 3-2 and won its last two games.
A tough call with so many games ending in blowouts and players’ stats suffering with a running clock the norm in the second half in a slew of games.
I’m going to split my vote and go with co-players of the year. Evansville’s Tyr Severson and Edgerton’s Drew Hanson get my vote. Both quarterbacks led explosive offenses and their teams to winning seasons.
Severson, a senior, was fourth in the state in passing with 1,185 yards. His completion percentage was 50.4 and he finished with seven TD passes and averaged 231 yards a game. He also rushed for seven touchdowns.
Hanson was a model of consistency in the pocket for the Crimson Tide. The senior was sixth in the state with 13 touchdown passes, and in 116 attempts, threw only two interceptions. He threw for 865 yards for the season and had five touchdown passes in the season-finale win against Walworth Big Foot.
The start of the 2021 season is less than three months away. Just enough time for those that played in the alternate fall season for injuries to heal, weights to be lifted and life to get back to normal.