Prep Corner Big Eight All-Conference Team
By: Tyler Zavadsky Twitter: @TylerZonESPN
First, I would like to take a second and thank each and every player, coach and fan base for another great season, you have all made it an absolute joy to cover such an outstanding conference and from myself and everyone involved with Prep Corner, thank you.
It was yet another tremendous year in the Big Eight full of astonishing athletes, outstanding performances and a few surprises along the way.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the rise of Madison La Follette, a school that had struggled mightily for the last half decade or so for relevancy in the conference shot to the top of the rankings and finished tied for second in the Big Eight. A big tip of the cap goes out to coach Mike Harris on getting his boy’s ready for the season and competing every week at such a high level. Earning the title of Madison City Champions is a great accomplishment by the Lancers and it was the school’s first since 2007.
Another big congratulations is in order for both the Sun Prairie and Middleton Cardinals. While the season may have ended earlier than the two had hoped, playoff wins are hard to earn but these two teams were able to advance on into November.
Before we begin with the list, I would like to once again thank all the players and coaches for such an outstanding season. I can not overstate this enough, it was an absolute joy to talk to all of you both before and after games, win or lose, you all made my Friday night’s one’s I will never forget.
Now, the Big Eight All-Conference Team...
Quarterback: Ryan Curran, Sun Prairie Cardinals
Season stats: 2,112 yards, 27 TDs, 6 INTs, 64.8% completion, 116.3 QB rating
The three-time Big Eight Player of the Week was a shoo-in for All-Conference quarterback. Curran, a three-year varsity starter, went 31-5 in his career and broke several school records along the way including school records for career passing yards and career passing touchdowns. But him earning All-Conference quarterback is not simply a “career achievement award.” Curran finished the regular season second in passing yards and first in touchdowns and had an almost unreal touchdown to interception ratio of 27-6 at the end of his senior season. Curran also had a stretch of three games this year that included two five touchdown games, the other being a four touchdown game, and two games with an absolute perfect quarterback rating of 158.3. His leadership skills were unparalleled throughout the conference and every team needed to game plan around his ability both as a passer and as a scrambler when the pocket broke down. All those things considered is why Ryan Curran has earned a spot on the Prep Corner Big Eight All-Conference Team.
Brandon Toman, Madison Memorial Spartans
Season Stats: 2,015 yards, 19 TDs, 10 INTs, 55.9% completion, 87.5 QB rating
Jordan Carlson, Madison La Follette Lancers
Season stats: 1,663 yards, 16 TDs, 13 INTs, 52.4% completion, 95.9 QB rating
Running Back: Cahleel Copus, Madison La Follette Lancers
Season stats: 216 rushes, 1,279 yards, 14 TDs, 5.9 ypc average, 127.9 ypg
Cahleel Copus gets the nod for Prep Corner All-Conference running back because he was the reason the Lancer offense had success on Friday nights. The junior running back was a bruiser in between the tackles but could also stretch the run to the outside and break one down the sidelines if need be. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Copus’ game was the fact he was a bruiser and the manner in which he ran the football. With offensive game plans trending towards spreading out the defense and throwing the football, Copus and the Lancer offense simply lined up and hit you in the mouth every play. This young man delivered the blow instead of receiving the blow from defenders and late in games simply wore out the opposition. While some may point to running mate Andre Saunders also having a good year and say that these backs were just “products” of a great offensive line, anyone who actually had the pleasure of watching this young man play knows that each carry Copus had would be something to watch. For being a true workhorse and an old school, hit you in the mouth runner, Copus has earned Prep Corner Big Eight All-Conference running back of the season.
Noah Diaz, Sun Prairie Cardinals
Season Stats: 168 carries, 1,327 yards, 14 TDs, 7.9 ypc average, 165.9 ypg
Diaz, by all accounts, deserves to be named to the All-Conference list as the top running back... The stats are there, the team success is there and his overall ability begs to be listed in the top spot. This young man had quite possibly the two most impressive games out of anyone this season on offense. He rushed for 271 yards and five touchdowns against Beloit Memorial and then two weeks later rushed for 325 yards and three scores against Madison La Follette. My only reservation on Diaz this season was his “style” of play. Often times, Diaz appeared to be hesitant if the hole wasn’t immediately there and made mistakes such as fumbles or missed blocking assignments in key situations. Don’t get me wrong, if I were a head football coach and there was a fantasy draft I would pick Noah Diaz to highlight my backfield, but it was a hard choice and Copus got the nod.
Chalres Braxton, Middleton Cardinals
Season Stats: 218 carries, 1,275 yards, 13 TDs, 5.8 ypc average, 127.5 ypg
Wide Receiver: Daurice Fountain, Madison Memorial Spartans
Season Stats: 48 receptions, 782 yards, 10 TDs, 16.3 yds/rec
There just isn’t enough good things to say about this young man’s game. A true threat on the outside, almost every team the Spartans played this year struggled to cover Daurice Fountain. Long ball, slant route, screen pass, corner route, post corner, hitch and go, just every type of route was in this dude’s arsenal. While the stats aren’t gaudy, (frankly I think a couple catches or so were missed here and there) if you saw this young man play you just walked away in awe. Game after game, Fountain would make one or two, and even more often, three of four just down right nasty plays. The Sun Prairie game comes to my mind... Ten catches, 183 yards and four touchdowns. FOUR! Perhaps the Big Eight’s best defense had no answer for Fountain and that performance will go down in Big Eight lore...
No matter the situation, first and ten or fourth and California, the ball was going to #10. He knew it, the defense knew, the fans knew it, the kid selling popcorn knew it, but it didn’t matter, he would just come down with the ball.
While he had to share the passing attack from Brandon Toman with Tyler Lindquist and the rest of weapons Memorial deployed, Fountain still found a way to get “his” on a regular basis. Whenever the Spartans needed a first down or big play I would often think to myself watching Memorial, just throw the ball to those white gloves! For that and so much more, Daurice Fountain earns a spot on the Prep Corner Big Eight All-Conference Team.
Wide Receiver: Tripp Soma, Sun Prairie Cardinals
Season stats: 57 receptions, 899 yards, 15 TDs, 15.8 yds/rec
Tripp Soma had to also be named to the All-Conference list because what’s a team with only one receiver?... The Detriot Lions. Ba-dum chhhh...
But in all seriousness, a team has to have two weapons and Soma fits the bill, no questions asked. While not as “explosive” as Fountain, Soma may just have been the most reliable receiver in the Big Eight. In almost every key situation, the Cardinals depended on Curran to find Soma for the first down or touchdown, and in almost every key situation the duo came through. Soma was the definition of a reliable and consistent weapon throughout the season and for that he earns a spot on the Prep Corner Big Eight All-Conference Team.
Offensive Line: Adam Stiner, Verona Wildcats
Now obviously you can not quantitatively asses an offensive lineman’s season directly since pancake blocks and sacks allowed are not kept, but you can in a round about way. Stiner, the leader and captain of the Verona Wildcats, had another tremendous season blocking for two of the top rushers in the conference, which had a lot to do with his performance. Eric Schmid finished fourth in the conference in rushing with 1,082 yards and Cameron Tindall rounded out the top ten in rushing in the conference. Stiner earns a spot on the list for not only blocking for two top rushers, but also for an outstanding career in orange and black.
Offensive Line: Chase Crothers, Sun Prairie Cardinals
Much like Mr. Stiner, Crothers blocked for two of the best players in the conference who would not have had as much success as they did without him. Noah Diaz and Ryan Curran were always very quick to compliment their offensive line and Crothers was a huge piece to that unit.
Offensive Line: Hayden Acker, Middleton Cardinals
All season long, Acker was the anchor of the Middleton Cardinal offensive line. Charles Braxton was quick to point to his offensive line as well after games and Acker was a huge asset on that unit. The three hundred plus pound senior paved the road all year and gets the nod for All-Conference honors.
Defensive Line: Craig Evans, Sun Prairie Cardinals
Season stats: 68 total tackles, 32 solo tackles, 6 sacks, 22 tackles for loss
Simply put, Craig Evans dominated the Big Eight this season. Evans led all defensive lineman in tackles this season and haunted offensive lineman's dream’s. The UW-recruit and future Badger wreaked havoc on offenses on every down and commanded double teams. His successes on the field have been well documented and there is no doubt that Evans will eventually make a huge impact at the next level.
Defensive Line: Devin Webster, Sun Prairie Cardinals
Season stats: 46 total tackles, 18 solo tackles, 3 sacks, 12 tackles for loss
Devin Webster was the perfect compliment to Craig Evans this season and had an outstanding junior year. Perhaps the two benefitted from having each other, but both dominated all season long in their own right. If it wasn’t Evans stuffing the run, it was probably Webster. The two punished both running backs and offensive lineman alike, and both deserve to be on the Prep Corner All-Conference Team.
Defensive Line: Derek Rogeberg, Middleton Cardinals
Season stats: 64 total tackles, 14 solo tackles, 8 sacks, 11 tackles for loss
Derek Rogeberg was a nightmare for offensive lineman as well. Rogeberg led the conference in sacks and also had two forced fumbles this season. If you had the pleasure to watch this young man play, you know that he was always around the pile and often times he was the one leading the way bringing down the ball carrier. Rogeberg had a fabulous senior season and for that he earns All-Conference honors.
Linebacker: Ryan Bruesewitz, Madison Memorial Spartans
Season stats: 105 total tackles, 40 solo tackles, 3.5 sacks, 6 tackles for loss
Ryan Bruesewitz was the Luke Kuechly of the Big Eight this season. Kuechly, who led the NFL in tackles last season in the NFL, is a great comparison to Bruesewitz who led the Big Eight in tackles this season. Both play a fearless game and always find themselves making the big play at the line of scrimmage. Bruesewitz was the unquestioned leader on the Memorial defense and key reason why the Spartans were so strong against the run for much of the season. Middle linebackers are expected to always be making the majority of tackles and all season Bruesewitz lived up to those expectations. Any defensive coordinator would love to have a player that is quick to react to the play in front of him and make the stop and this young man did that time and time again.
Linebacker: Ben Mogilevsky, Madison La Follette Lancers
Season stats: 98 total tackles, 55 solo tackles, 3 sacks, 16 tackles for loss
Mogilevsky was simply a stud. The Lancer middle linebacker finished second in the Big Eight in total tackles and finished first in solo tackles. Mogilevsky averaged 5.5 solo tackles a game and had one of the highest tackles for loss averages as well with 1.8 per game. Again, Mogilevsky was just a stud. No matter what the opposing offense was running, this young man was always right there to stop it.
I remember being at the game when La Follette played Verona. On four consecutive plays, Mogilevsky made four consecutive solo tackles, two on each sideline. It was incredible. The dude ran down two of the best running backs in the conference and brought them down behind or near the line of scrimmage.
Mogilevsky is exactly what coaches look for in linebackers as he was a perfect combination of size, strength, speed and awareness on the football field. Perhaps teammate Andre Saunders said it best after one game, “He’s just the best linebacker in this conference.”
Linebacker: Michael Garvey, Sun Prairie Cardinals
Season stats: 81 total tackles, 46 solo tackles, 3 sacks, 17 tackles for loss
For the second year in a row, Michael Garvey led one of the best defenses in the conference in total tackles and solo tackles. His ability to lead the Cardinals and call out the plays on defense was uncanny and truly impressive. The senior had another tremendous season and was the leading tackler in eight of the Cardinals 10 games. Perhaps variations of the tense “lead” are being used too often in this description, but that is exactly what Garvey was to this defense. The constant leader and field general this unit needed, and for that he earns All-Conference honors.
Linebacker: Antonio Hoye, Madison West Regents
Season stats: 74 total tackles, 55 solo tackles, 3 INTs, 4 forced fumbles, 2 Defensive TDs
Antonio Hoye was an outstanding outside linebacker for the Regents this season. Hoye finished tied for first in solo tackles with Ben Mogilevsky in the conference and led the conference in interceptions by a linebacker and forced fumbles as well. His two interception returns for touchdowns also sat atop the top the conference and even beat out every single defensive back in that category. Hoye was a very instinctive linebacker and seemingly knew where the play was going before it was even going to be run. As one of the best outside linebackers in the conference, he needs to be on the Prep Corner Big Eight team.
Defensive Back: Marcus Collins, Madison La Follette Lancers
Season stats: 57 tackles, 35 solo tackles, 4 INTs
Defensive Back: Luke Kiefer, Sun Prairie Cardinals
Season stats: 50 tackles, 33 solo tackles, 4 INTs
Defensive Back: Rodney Poe, Middleton Cardinals
Season stats: 32 tackles, 24 solo tackles, 3 INTs
Defensive Back: Paul Looper, Madison La Follette Lancers
Season stats: 33 tackles, 21 solo tackles, 4 INTs
By: Tyler Zavadsky Twitter: @TylerZonESPN
Return to: Prep Corner Blog