2010 Superior Telegram All-Area Football Team
Another football season has come to an end, but for the three local football teams, each can claim a unique victory. The Northwestern Tigers won their second straight conference title and put together back-to-back undefeated regular seasons for t...
Another football season has come to an end, but for the three local football teams, each can claim a unique victory.
The Northwestern Tigers won their second straight conference title and put together back-to-back undefeated regular seasons for the first time in school history.
At Northwood, the Evergreens also made history by advancing to the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
The Superior High School football players, meanwhile, won a victory of character. They conducted themselves with grace and compassion as they inspired a city and won a host of fans in Menomonie.
Joining T.J. Polkoski on this year's Superior Telegram All-Area Football team are five Tiger teammates, three Evergreens and three Spartans. Team members are listed in alphabetical order.
Also nominated were Northwestern senior Jake Levine; Superior seniors Chris Fuhrman and Cam Stanley, and sophomore Ben Erickson; and Northwood senior Keanan Franco and sophomore Mike Meyer.
"Justin Alexson is a very explosive player with a bright future," NHS coach Dennis Scherz said. "I don't know if I ever coached a better outside backer."
Alexson led the team in sacks with six and was an honorable mention selection on the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-State team as an outside linebacker. The junior was also named to the WFCA All-Region team and the Heart O' North Conference All-Conference first team offense as an outside linebacker.
Northwestern used Alexson mostly in a defensive capacity this season, but the Tigers will expect more from him next year.
"He has tremendous athleticism. He is a difference maker on a football field," Scherz said. "He will be fun to watch next year as he is also an outstanding running back."
Senior Zach Erickson was the Spartans' top offensive threat this season. Even when opponents had a size advantage on him, the running back could not easily be brought down, said Bob DeMeyer, SHS head football coach.
"He led by example every day with his effort in practice and how he left everything he had on the field Friday nights," DeMeyer said. "He was our go-to guy when we needed a spark. His downhill, slashing running style was impressive to watch once we finally moved him to the tailback position."
Erickson was Superior's leading rusher in five of its nine games. He finished the season with 521 yards rushing, 242 yards receiving and a team-high eight touchdowns.
"Zach has always had an instinct for being patient, utilizing his blockers and running the proper hole," DeMeyer said. "He also excelled as a blocker, picking up blitzes or blocking for the quarterback on the perimeter. He simply did not miss assignments.
"We're going to miss his leadership, workmanlike attitude and upbeat personality he brought every day for four seasons."
Since he first joined the Northwood Evergreens as a freshman, Philip Larson has had a chance to see playoff action every year.
Now a junior, Larson was a crucial part of the Evergreens' push for their third straight playoff berth this season.
Larson was a team leader and played a key role for the Evergreens as starting quarterback. He had 250 yards passing and another 300 yards rushing to finish the year with a combined 15 touchdowns.
The junior also showed his adaptability when he lined up at receiver to catch the winning touchdown in Northwood's 23-22 come-from-behind win over Turtle Lake.
Larson earned honorable mention recognition as a quarterback in this year's Small Lakeland Conference All-Conference team.
Whether playing offense or defense, Kasey Leggate made life miserable for opponents this season.
"Kasey was a tremendous high school player on both sides of the ball," Scherz said. "He has an unbelievable knack for breaking tackles. He has great football instincts that make him exceptional."
As a running back, Leggate provided the speed element in Northwestern's running game. He averaged more than 10 yards a carry and finished the season with 1,365 yards rushing and 1,941 all-purpose yards.
The senior also stood out at safety for the Tigers, accumulating six interceptions and two forced fumble recoveries.
Leggate was an HON All-Conference selection as both a running back and a safety.
He was named to the WFCA All-Region team as a running back and was a semifinalist for the WSN Jim Leonhard Outstanding Safety Award.
In the open field, Josh Malone was unstoppable for the Evergreens this season.
The junior running back scored his first touchdown of the season 13 seconds into Northwood's opening game, and he never broke pace from there.
Evergreen coach Jason Fox said he expected a big year from his lead running back, and Malone answered with 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns.
On defense, Malone was also a leader, finishing first on the team in tackles with more than 50.
Malone was named to the Small Lakeland Conference All-Conference second team as a running back and also earned second team honors as a safety.
Mark Murray has been a staple in the weight room at Superior during his time with the Spartans.
The senior offensive lineman prepared himself to play each game, and he also helped prepare his team by being on the offensive scout team every day.
"Mark was physically our strongest player, starting at guard this season after playing tackle last season," DeMeyer said. "He was a physical drive blocker and good trap blocker as well.
"His toughness will be difficult to replace, as he never missed a snap in practice or games for two seasons."
Will Pederson is among the many seniors the Tigers will miss next season.
The senior tackle as a consistent strength for Northwestern, and he also made his presence felt on defense.
"Will is very athletic, quick and strong," Scherz said. "He also dominated the line scrimmage with superior technique."
Working side by side with Jake Levine, Pederson anchored the offensive line while opening up opportunities for his teammates.
"It was fun to watch the two of them work in tandem," Scherz said. "They gave a clinic of Northwestern football on every play."
Pederson was named to the HON All-Conference first team offense as a tackle.
Northwood had only four seniors on this year's squad, but each was willing to do whatever it took to help the team.
As one of those seniors, Brad Ross, took on a new role this season, shifting from lineman to running back.
Fox had confidence the senior would thrive in the position, saying he had great athleticism and the skills needed to play at running back.
Ross didn't disappoint, finishing the season with more than 600 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was also named an honorable mention selection on the Small Lakeland Conference All-Conference team as a running back.
Injuries have played a significant role in Cole Schorr's football career.
After missing much of his junior season due to an injury, Schorr battled back for his senior year, going through rehabilitation to make himself stronger and faster. His hard work earned him the starting spot as Superior's tailback.
"He's a very physical runner and played very well for us there," DeMeyer said. "However, an injury to our starting center required us to move Cole back to the offensive line where he started for us as a sophomore. He agreed to this move without hesitation and helped provide stability and depth for us up front."
Schorr was named to the Big Rivers Conference All-Conference first team offense as a lineman, but his contributions didn't end there for Superior.
"Cole also had the skills to play inside linebacker for us when needed, he was on special teams and also played on the scout team in practice," DeMeyer said. "He did anything he could to help his team."
When the Tigers needed a big tackle this season, Mac Torrey provided.
The senior linebacker earned a reputation for getting big stops and making plays that killed opponents' drives.
"Mac is another player that showcases what Northwestern football is all about," Scherz said. "He made many life-changing decisions to have an opportunity to play and was rewarded with tremendous success."
Torrey led Northwestern in tackles for the year, finishing the season with 74. He also led the Tigers in tackles for a loss, contributing seven.
Torrey was named to the HON All-Conference first team defense as an inside linebacker.
"He was a team leader and always left everything on the field," Scherz said.
As an offensive lineman, Taylor Truan went about his job on the football field with little fanfare.
The senior captain was rarely in the spotlight as Northwestern put together an undefeated regular season, but his teammates and coaches appreciated his true value.
"He was a big reason we rushed for 4,000 yards this season," Scherz said. "His hard work in the weight room paid big dividends this season."
Truan received numerous postseason awards. He was named to the HON All-Conference first team offense as a lineman and was named to the WFCA All-Region team as an offensive guard.
"Taylor is physically strong, intelligent and athletic," Scherz said. "He is everything you want in a high school lineman."