Arrowhead finished the year 10-4 after a loss to powerhouse Kimberly, 31-6, in a first-of-its-kind clash between reigning defending state champions. Arrowhead still managed to appear in its third consecutive Division 1 state title game after starting the year 3-3 following close back-to-back losses in league play without junior quarterback Johnny Duranso.
The QB and the entire offensive line return in 2015, so Arrowhead will once again be in the state-title conversation, though so will Kimberly, a program that has won three state titles in four years (with two titles in Division 2).
Waukesha West had momentum despite a 21-17 deficit early in the fourth quarter against Menasha in the D2 state title game, but two quick turnovers turned a promising situation into a 35-17 loss, leaving the Wolverines at 11-3 for the year. It was West's first title-game loss in three trips, with a D2 title in 2004 and a D1 crown in 2010.
Quarterback Conor Blount is among the numerous returnees for the Wolverines, who will again contend with Arrowhead for the Classic 8 Conference title in 2015.
Homestead (11-2, 6-1 in North Shore). A breathtaking loss to Menasha kept the Highlanders short of the state-title game in a year when it looked like destiny might be on their side. It was another outstanding year from a program that has become accustomed to deep playoff runs.
Franklin (9-3, 6-1 in Southeast). The Sabers eliminated Oak Creek, with whom they shared the Southeast Conference title, in Level 2 before meeting a tough and determined Marquette in Level 3. It was a strong showing after a 2013 trip to the state-title game.
Catholic Memorial (9-3, 5-2 in Classic 8). The Crusaders found themselves in the Classic 8 four-way title picture and marched to Level 3, per usual, but ran into a brick wall in a shutout loss to fellow perennial power Wisconsin Lutheran.
Lake Country Lutheran (11-1, 7-0 in Midwest Classic). Going 11-0 for the first time in school history, the Lightning worked deep into the Division 6 playoffs before meeting a perennial stronghold in Darlington. It's yet another small step forward for an ever-improving program.
Muskego (8-3, 5-2 in Classic 8). The Warriors led the state in rushing and yardage and generated one of the highest-scoring machines in the state. But with three running backs sidelined for various reasons at the end of the team's Level 2 meeting with Mukwonago, the juice simply ran out. Still, MHS won its first league title in 18 years by sharing the Classic 8 and made some serious noise in 2014.
Oak Creek (9-2, 6-1 in Southeast). Oak Creek was missing two playmaking members of its secondary when Franklin helped itself to a huge lead in the Level 2 meeting between programs, though the Knights rallied back to make the game supremely interesting. It's a disappointing finish for a Knights team that had an eye on Madison before the year, but Oak Creek shared the Southeast title and delivered another solid campaign.
Whitefish Bay (7-4, 4-3 in North Shore). Bay had the misfortune of playing in the North Shore Conference, where losses to Cedarburg, Germantown and Homestead, then Homestead again in the playoffs, were all understandable. What's more, Bay played Homestead close both times, and the record might not indicate how truly tough this team was in 2014.
Germantown (9-2, 6-1 in North Shore). For much of the year, Germantown had a strong case as the area's best team, but a late loss to Homestead in the regular season and a setback against Cedarburg in the playoffs kept the Warhawks from the upper levels of the playoffs. It was still an electric year for Germantown football.
Brown Deer (8-3, 5-2 in Woodland East). Is Zack Baun the state Player of the Year? He certainly made his case in 2014, racking up eye-popping numbers in both rushing and passing as he led the Falcons to two wins over Pewaukee and a near-miss aganst undefeated Wisconsin Lutheran in the playoffs.
Menomonee Falls (6-4, 5-2 in Greater Metro). The Indians shared second in the Greater Metro this season before getting upset in the first round by upstart City foe Milwaukee King, which landed its first playoff win since 1996.
Brookfield East (7-3, 5-2 in Greater Metro). Overcame a number of injuries to make the playoffs, though East was unable to hang with Cedarburg in Level 1.
Brookfield Central (5-5, 4-3 in Greater Metro). First-year coach Jed Kennedy laid the foundation for Central, which bowed out of the playoffs against Germantown.
Sussex Hamilton (4-5, 4-3 in Greater Metro). The Chargers, who needed a three-game winning streak to reach the playoffs, gave Waunakee everything it cound handle in the Division 2 opener.
South Milwaukee (8-2, 5-1 in Woodland East). South Milwaukee had an excellent season but was always considered a notch below some of the area's heavyweights because of the competition in the Woodland East. The Rockets season ended in a heartbreaker against Waterford in Level 1.
Greenfield (5-4, 4-2 in Woodland East). First-year coach Joe Koch got the team in position to give some teams a push and make the playoffs, but the Hustlin' Hawks were knocked out by Waukesha West in Level 1.
St. Francis (6-4, 4-3 in Midwest Classic). The Mariners' first trip back to the playoffs since 2008 was short lived with mighty Wisconsin Lutheran as a first-round draw.
Pewaukee (4-6, 4-2 in Woodland West). The record belies just how good the Pirates were this year, with two shootout losses against Brown Deer to close the season.
University School (6-4, 5-2 in Midwest Classic). University School faced a tough draw in the opening round when it met top-seeded Lodi.
Brookfield Academy (8-2, 6-1 in Midwest Classic). Academy faded in the fourth quarter against Winnebgao Lutheran in Level 1, bringing a wildly successful season to a close.
Cudahy (2-7, 1-5 in Woodland East). Cudahy couldn't pull the major upset against South Milwaukee to stay alive in Week 7.
Dominican (2-7, 1-6 in Metro Classic). The Knights were eliminated with a loss to Catholic Central in Week 6, but Dominican did procure its first conference win by downing Thomas More in Week 8.
Kettle Moraine (5-4, 3-4 in Classic 8). The Lasers hung with some of the very best teams in the state within the Classic 8 Conference, but the system wasn't kind to KM, and it was one of the first teams left out of the 224-team playoff field.
Martin Luther (2-7, 2-5 in Metro Classic). A close loss to Kenosha St. Joseph in Week 8 put Martin Luther's tenuous playoff hopes to pasture.
Messmer/Shorewood (2-7, 2-4 in Woodland East). Messmer/Shorewood showed some flashes and will head into the offseason on a positive note after downing New Berlin Eisenhower in Week 9 and keeping the Lions from the playoffs.
New Berlin Eisenhower (4-5, 2-4 in Woodland West). A surprising loss to Messmer/Shorewood in Week 9 will keep the Lions from the playoffs -- and also suggests maybe the Woodland East has gained on the Woodland West to the point of the divisions being equal.
New Berlin West (2-7, 1-5 in Woodland West). West's loss to Pewaukee in Week 6 eliminated the Vikings from playoff consideration. The Vikings finally procured their first win of the season in a nonconference Woodland crossover win against Whitnall in Week 8, then topped Cudahy in Week 9.
Oconomowoc (1-8, 1-6 in Wisconsin Little Ten). Oconomowoc shut ou West Bend West in an uplifting win in Week 8 that ensured the Raccoons would not go winless coming off a banner 2013. Cooney then fell to playoff-bound Watertown in a close 17-14 call.
St. John's Northwestern Military Academy (3-6, 3-4 in Midwest Classic). The Lancers have taken their lumps in the Midwest Classic but at least had an outside shot at a playoff spot by finishing 3-4 in conference. It didn't happen, however.
St. Thomas More (1-8, 0-7 in Metro Classic). After reaching the playoffs last year, it's been a different story in 2014.
Waukesha North (2-7, 0-7 in Classic 8). North went 2-0 in the nonconference season but never got on track in a loaded Classic 8.
Waukesha South (2-6, 1-6 in Classic 8). South made Catholic Memorial, Mukwonago and Arrowhead all uncomfortable and should easily win the award for best two-win team in the state.
Wauwatosa East (1-8, 1-6 in Greater Metro). Tosa East has some nice players and put together some decent offensive performances, but it wasn't enough to procure upsets against the top-shelf Greater Metro foes.
Wauwatosa West (5-4, 2-4 in Woodland West). A heartbreaking close loss to Greenfield in Week 9 meant the Trojans would be staying home from this year's playoffs.
West Allis Central (1-8, 0-7 in Greater Metro). Central made playoff-bound Brookfield East uncomfortable before taking a 3-point loss in Week 9.
West Allis Hale (4-5, 2-5 in Greater Metro). Hale was solid with multiple close calls in the Greater Metro.
Whitnall (1-8, 1-5 in Woodland East). Whitnall gave Greenfield a push in Week 7, but it wasn't enough to secure a victory and stave off playoff elimination.
Nicolet has canceled its varsity football season in 2014.
Asking area football coaches their anonymous thoughts on the greater issues of coaching at the prep level:
How would you change the WIAA postseason seeding process, if at all?
Coach 1: I would ensure that no conference teams play each other until third round.
Coach 2: Highest seed should always host.
Coach 3: I liked what they were going for with the different preset districts; it lets you know who you might play. I am not sure why that didn't go through. I do like the seeding. It gets tough when you load up one conference in a group of 8. It's not fair for the teams in that conference.
Coach 4: I would like to see two 16-team brackets (N/S in even years, E/W in odd years). Even with the change in format, we see many brackets stronger than others, and a seeding of 16 teams would make it a better overall product.
Coach 5: I would like to see some form of a weighted system put in place where you are rewarded for wins against other teams that also qualify for the playoffs. Strength of schedule should matter more than it currently does, in my opinion. The current system is more about certain coaches that are friends with each other voting in a certain manner to get the best bracket set up (easiest path) in the playoffs. That is not why the seeding system came into place in the beginning.
Photo by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Waukesha West's Peter MacCudden (left) strips the ball from Menasha's Emanuel Jenkins during a critical juncture in the WIAA Division 2 state-title game.
Johnny Duranso and Arrowhead are back in the Division 1 state championship game for a third straight year. The junior quarterback was huge, rushing for 157 yards and three touchdowns and also passing for 173 yards and two scores in a 42-28 thrashing of previously undefeated Bay Port. The two-time defending state champion faces Kimberly on Nov. 21 for the title.
Past Players of Week
A look back at the best of the best from the NOW Newspapers and Lake Country Publications coverage areas.
Area players mentioned among the best in the senior class at their position by Wissports.net.
Kevin Stemke Award (top specialist)
Winner: Zach Hintze, St. Mary's Springs.
Finalists: Connor Allen, Brookfield East; Coby Oswalt, Sun Prairie; Alex Piehler, Racine Horlick; Carter Schmitz, Germantown
Area semifinalists: Nathan Erickson, New Berlin Eisenhower; Watch list: Gerry Gilles, Brown Deer; Carter Schmitz, Germantown
Jim Leonhard Award (top defensive back)
Winner: Ben Verstegen, Kimberly
Finalists: Jacob DeMille, De Pere; Jared Dittmer, Oshkosh North; Cody Kujawa, Waukesha West; Elijah Strong, Oak Creek
Area semifinalists: Calvin Shilling, South Milwaukee; Brandon Valenza, Muskego; Watch list: Gerry Gilles, Brown Deer; Jack Ringelberg, Greendale; Zach Veit, Wauwatosa West
John Anderson Award (top linebacker)
Winner: Jake Whalen, Wausau West
Finalists: Troy Albrecht, Bay Port; Ty DeForest, Marshall; Max Fisher, Waterford; Noel Winch, Stevens Point
Area semifinalists: Nick Radloff, Waukesha West; Watch list: Matthew Braatz, Greenfield; Dyson Chmura, Waukesha West; Andy Hessler, Arrowhead; Michael Kremer, Whitnall; Richard Kuehl, Oconomowoc; Maurice Lucre', Brown Deer; Ty Ramirez, Greendale; Jake Regazzi, Oak Creek; Kyle Theis, Germantown; Mike Wurster, Catholic Memorial
Tim Krumrie Award (top defensive lineman)
Winner: David Pfaff, Homestead
Finalists: Austin Behm, Menasha; Sam Gromacki, Catholic Memorial; Marcus Kelly, Waukesha West; Devin Webster, Sun Prairie; Robert Windsor, Fond du Lac
Area semifinalists: Dyson Chmura, Waukesha West; Lincoln Gruber, Germantown; Alex Hauke, Muskego; Watch list: Jack Bredeson, Arrowhead; Ross Gottschalk, Lake Country Lutheran; Jamar Manning, Brown Deer
Joe Thomas Award (top offensive lineman)
Winner: Jon Dietzen, Seymour
Finalists: Peter Andrew, Fond du Lac; Vince Hughes, Franklin; Elijah Perine, Homestead; Andrew Poenitsch, Sussex Hamilton; Nathan Veloz, Oak Creek
Area semifinalists: Bryan Beck, Franklin; Sean Mabbett, Germantown; John Marita, Homestead; Jordan Steckler, Franklin; Watch list: Tony Balistreri, Catholic Memorial; Dan Bartels, Franklin; Michael Cooney, Germantown; Sam King, Muskego; PJ LeClaire, Brookfield East; Balli Leszcynski, Muskego; Christian Morzinski, Wauwatosa West; Michael Nelson, Homestead; Jacob Schley, St. Thomas More; Joe Schultz, Waukesha West; Charlie Younger, Mukwonago
Al Toon Award (top receiver)
Winner: Jake Matkovich, Marquette
Finalists: Mitchell Dess, South Milwaukee; Matt Kinderman, Xavier; Connor Konshak, West De Pere; Jake Libal, Superior
Area semifinalists: Grant Johnson, Lake Country Lutheran; Patrick Novacek, Brookfield Academy; Watch list: Cole Karcz, Germantown; Chase Scharnek, Waukesha West; Mike Schmidt, Catholic Memorial; Mario VanSchaick, Waukesha North
Dave Krieg Award (top quarterback)
Winner: Zack Baun, Brown Deer
Finalists: Alec Ingold, Bay Port; Nick Mehlum, Superior; James Morgan, Ashwaubenon; Josh Ringelberg, Greendale
Area semifinalists: Spencer Francis, Brookfield Academy; Dwayne Lawhorm, Germantown; Justin Oliden, South Milwaukee; Ben Wilkins, Lake Country Lutheran; Watch list: Nick Allen, Homestead; Mike Barnes, Sussex Hamilton; Joe Breznik, West Allis Hale; Cannon Cooley, Waukesha South; Will Knoecny, West Allis Central; Jeremy Swider, Greenfield
Elroy Hirsch Award (top running back)
Winner: Troy Laufenberg, Waunakee
Finalists: Ryan Borton, Muskego; Dom Conway, West De Pere; Ethan Danz, Appleton North; Demaris Purifoy, Wauwatosa West
Area semifinalists: Ian Pribyl, South Milwaukee; Watch list: Nick Coleman, Brown Deer; Xavier Copeland, Greenfield; Tommy Garza, Catholic Memorial; Jordan Jones, Pewaukee; Joe Lemerond, Germantown; Bryce McMurtry, Menomonee Falls; Nick Monty, Whitnall; Matt Patterson, Brookfield Central; Adam Tovar, Lake Country Lutheran; Michael Tucker, University School; Isaiah Webb, Sussex Hamilton; Joe Werner, West Allis Hale
Menasha staged a stunner against perennial state-title contender Homestead, finally reaching the scoreboard with 31 seconds left to play, scoring on a 91-yard drive orchestrated by quarterback Tyler Johnson to make it 7-6. Putting themselves in a do or die situation, the Blue Jays elected to go for two, and Johnson's option pitch sent the Highlanders to a shocking 8-7 setback.
Keep tabs on the former stars of the NOW/Lake Country coverage area as they suit up on Saturdays and Sundays:
Cleveland Browns: Joe Thomas (Brookfield Central - pictured) remains one of the primary reasons why the Cleveland Browns offense can work, regardless of who the quarterback is. He talked about the brotherhood of the franchise's great left tackles. Turns out he can (kind of) dance, too. He has yet to miss a snap for the Browns.
Houston Texans: Houston Texans star J.J. Watt (Pewaukee) has become one of the highest-paid defensive players in NFL history with his new six-year contract. Are we talking about an NFL MVP here? He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the MVP talk rolls on.
New York Jets: Nick Bellore (Whitefish Bay) has been a crucial part of his team's special teams unit. He was prepping to face the Packers in Week 2 of the NFL season.
Carolina Panthers: After his Week 9 game, Brad Nortman (Brookfield Central) ranked fifth in the NFL in punting yardage and seventh in yards per punt.
Baltimore Ravens: Compromise led Rick Wagner (West Allis Hale) to football, and he's now a starting offensive lineman for the Ravens.
Wisconsin: Joel Stave (Whitnall) has stepped up at quarterback for surging Badgers.
Wisconsin: Chikwe Obasih (Brookfield Central) and Alec James (Brookfield East) have bulked up in their redshirt seasons and will likely contribute this year on the defensive line.
Wisconsin: Offensive lineman Kyle Costigan (Muskego) will be playing with his mother on his mind. She has received an outpouring of support.
Wisconsin: Derek Watt (Pewaukee) is working his way back after injury kept him off the field in the early part of the season.
Wisconsin: Derek Landisch (Arrowhead) was back from injury.
Michigan: Punter Will Hagerup (Whitefish Bay) is working back from off-the-field issues.
Wisconsin: Joe Schobert (Waukesha West) is tearing it up at linebacker.
North Dakota State: Alex Hahn (Oak Creek) and Nate Tanguay (Mukwonago) both have two sacks each, and Tanguay has started every game for the undefeated Bison.
Northern Illinois: Cameron Clinton-Earl (Sussex Hamilton) was in on his firs half-sack of the season for his 6-2 football team in a win over Eastern Illinois.
South Dakota: Ryan Saeger (Arrowhead) rushed for a career-high 108 yards from the QB position and scored twice in a win over ranked Northern Arizona.
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Sports director JR Radcliffe and Time Warner Sports Channel's JP Cadorin discuss local sports. Latest episode: State-championship weekend goes on without JP Cadorin, though the Iowa alum wasn't loving Wisconsin's big win over the Hawkeyes.
WIAA playoff numbers for area programs:
Consecutive playoff berths (through 2014)
Waukesha West (11-3)
Others receiving consideration: Catholic Memorial (9-3), Germantown (9-2), Lake Country Lutheran (11-1), Mukwonago (8-4), Muskego (8-3), Oak Creek (9-2)
(updated Nov. 22)
Test your knowledge of the high school football rule book with help from Patrick Miles, a member of the Executive Board of the Milwaukee Officials Association and an official who has worked WIAA state championships, the NCAA Division III national championship and other NCAA contests, including the Big Ten.
Scenario: Team A's punter tries to kick into a strong November wind, and the ball more or less goes straight up and blows back toward the neutral zone, landing behind the neutral zone. An alert Team A player grabs the ball after it hits the ground and runs the ball for a first down. What's the ruling?
(records portrayed are league, overall)
|West Allis Hale||2||6||4||6|
|West Allis Central||0||7||1||8|
|Nicolet (no varsity)||0||7||0||7|
|Kenosha Indian Trail||5||2||6||3|
|New Berlin Eisenhower||2||4||4||5|
|New Berlin West||1||5||2||7|
|West Bend East||3||4||3||6|
|West Bend West||1||6||3||6|
|Lake Country Lutheran||7||0||9||0|
|Kenosha Christian Life||1||6||1||8|
|Living Word Lutheran||1||6||1||8|
|Racine St. Catherine's||7||0||8||1|
|Kenosha St. Joseph||3||4||3||6|
|St. Thomas More||0||7||1||8|
* Some North Shore overall records include credit for forfeit victory over Nicolet as well as nonconference game played in lieu of league meeting with Nicolet.
A look at the state-championship games (at Camp Randall Stadium, Madison)
Mark Stewart and JR Radcliffe discuss high school sports in this weekly video.
Area statistical leaders (final)
A look at area teams in the state polls:
Wisconsin State Coaches Poll (Week 8)
3. Germantown (7-1)
7. Oak Creek (7-1)
9. Mukwonago (6-2)
10. Muskego (6-2)
1. Greendale (8-0)
3. Homestead (7-1)
4. South Milwaukee (8-0)
7. Waukesha West (7-1)
3. Catholic Memorial (6-2)
8. Brown Deer (6-1)
6. Lake Country Lutheran (8-0)
Associated Press Poll (Final)
4. Greendale (9-0)
6. Homestead (8-1)
7. Germantown (8-1)
Others receiving votes: Oak Creek (8-1), Waukesha West (7-2), Muskego (7-2), Arrowhead (6-3)
8. Catholic Memorial (7-2)
10. Lake Country Lutheran (9-0)
Joe Koch brings program-building talents to Greenfield.
High-profile Jed Kennedy takes helm for Brookfield Central.
Jared McGranahan initiates new era at Whitnall.
Alumnus Matt Harris comes home to Waukesha North.
Matt Kern looks to open up offense at New Berlin Eisenhower.
Central's Ben Strickland continues to excel in Madison.
Project brings Franklin into 21st century.
Zany 84-82 game will be remembered for years to come.
KM grad Joe Donner brings foreign influence.