Level 4: 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 has its work cut out for it against another state powerhouse, Kimberly, at Camp Randall on Nov. 21.
Level 3: Cody Sellhausen rushed for 56 yards and caught ofur passes for 123, and he scored all four touchdowns as Arrowhead avenged a regular-season loss to Mukwonago with a 28-10 victory in Level 3 of the Division 1 playoffs. The Warhawks, two-year reigning state champions, moved into a meeting with undefeated Bay Port for a chance to get back to Madison.
Level 2: Franklin's calling card over the years has been its passing attack, but in Level 2 of the playoffs against longstanding rival Oak Creek, the Sabers went by land. Gavin Boeck rushed 23 times for 124 yards and four touchdowns as the Sabers built a 31-0 lead, though they had to hold on for a 38-34 victory that counted as an upset even though the two teams shared the Southeast Conference title.
Level 1: We normally try to avoid choosing the same player twice in one season, but there simply is no denying what Brown Deer quarterback Zack Baun brought to the table in Level 1 against Pewaukee, a 49-40 victory. The Falcons virtuoso ran for 402 yards and six touchdowns -- all but one from 39 yards or more -- as he answered every Pirates score and willed his team into the second round.
Week 9: Josh Ringelberg and the Greendale football team have been rolling all year, and the Panthers capped off an undefeated season with a convincing 42-7 win over fellow unbeaten South Milwaukee in the Woodland title game. The senior quarterback finished with 194 yards passing and three scores, plus another 70 yards rushing and three more touchdowns.
Week 8: Mitchell Dess logged some insane numbers Oct. 10, part of a video-game Woodland Conference win over Pewaukee, in which South Milwaukee won, 56-42. Dess caught 10 passes for a ridiculous 305 yards and four touchdowns, conneting with SM quarterback Justin Oliden for an all-out aerial assault. Did we mention Dess also intercepted a pass to snuff out a fake punt?
Week 7: Wauwatosa West needed a win over New Berlin West to maintain its playoff chances, and the Trojans delivered on the back of workhorse running back Demaris Purifoy. One of the state's best at his position, Purifoy racked up six touchdowns and ran for 281 yards on 25 carries.
Week 6: We can't ignore Spencer Francis in this space forever. With a staggering 401 yards passing and four touchdowns, not to mention his 101 yards rushing and another touchdown, the Brookfield Academy virtuoso led his team to an important 39-34 win over St. Francis in the Midwest Classic, one that kept the Blue Knights undefeated heading into a battle with fellow unbeaten Lake Country Lutheran next week.
Week 5: It's almost impossible to believe that Ryan Borton ran the ball 13 times for 256 yards (19.79 yards per carry) Sept. 19 and yet his average yards per carry for the year went down. He scored three touchdowns for Muskego, and the Warriors ascended to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the Classic 8 Conference, alone in first place for the first time in the school's three-year history with the league.
Week 4: Somehow, Zack Baun finds a way to out-do himself on a weekly basis. The Brown Deer star quarterback played a role in seven touchdowns in his team's 58-14 win against Cudahy on Friday ... and that was all in the first half. He wound up with five rushing scores on 218 yards rushing and completed 8 of 13 passes for 188 yards and two scores. And did we mention he landed a greyshirt scholarship offer from the University of Wisconsin.
Week 3: South Milwaukee was engaged in a crucial Woodland East battle, and Rockets quarterback Justin Oliden helped deliver his team past the incredible work by Brown Deer's Zack Baun. Oliden completed 17 of 25 passes for 257 yards and a touchdown, and he also rushed for 146 yards as the Rockets held on, 41-35. The contest could be a de facto league title game. Apologies again to Spencer Francis of Brookfield Academy and Baun after posting crazy numbers.
Week 2: On the week's biggest stage, Homestead senior quarterback Nick Allen rose to the occasion, rushing for 141 yards and two scores while also passing for 152 yards and a touchdown in a 24-20 win over Arrowhead. The two powerhouse programs met for the second year in a row, with Allen delivering a breakout performance both times to lead his squad to victory. Apologies to Spencer Francis of Brookfield Academy, who delivered some eye-popping two-way numbers at the QB spot.
Week 1: Kettle Moraine defensive back Isaac Scott hauled in three interceptions, including one with 1:18 left in the game to snuff out Oconomowoc's final possession, as the Lasers recorded five takeaways and held on for a 14-7 victory to stage an upset over the Raccoons on the night they unveiled their renovated facilities.
State: Sophomore quarterback Johnny Duranso was unfazed by the big moment. The Arrowhead quarterback completed 18 of 29 passes for three touchdowns and 235 yards in the Division 1 state title game, leading Arrowhead to a second straight gold ball and showing that AHS still has plenty of weapons next year. The yardage mark would have set a new Division 1 record, though Franklin's Sean McGuire threw for 250 yards in the game. Apologies to Greendale's Josh Ringelberg, who set the Division 3 passing record in defeat.
Level 4: Junior quarterback Josh Ringelberg has been the cornerstone for Greendale's tremendous offense this season, and in Level 4 against Appleton Xavier, he was no different. Ringelberg passed for 211 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 132 and three scores as the Panthers reached state for the first time since 2006 with a 44-17 victory. Special mention to Franklin running back Chad Walton and receiver Austin Meyer for their roles in Franklin's 35-8 win over Mukwonago.
Level 3: Elijah Fort of Waukesha West was a workhorse in his team's Level 3 win over Waterford, rumbling 193 yards on 32 carries with two touchdowns, including one from 35 yards in the third quarter that helped the Wolverines get a strong foothold in the eventual 27-7 win. Fort has emerged from a backup last year to one of the area's best rushers.
Level 2: Dominic Cizauskas of Mukwonago continues to find ways to top himself. The University of Wisconsin recruit scored three touchdowns, including a long interception return for a touchdown, forced another turnover and racked up 12 tackles as Mukwonago shocked previously undefeated Sun Prairie in Level 2 of the Division 1 playoffs.
Level 1: Drew Patterson rushed for 280 yards and scored five touchdowns, and his Sussex Hamilton team needed every one of them in a 37-34 thriller over Brookfield Central in Level 1 of the playoffs. Patterson went for a 73-yard run with 3:11 to go, putting the Chargers in prime position. Apologies to Oconomowoc receiver/kicker Casey Bednarski, who caught three touchdowns, racked up 197 receiving yards and kicked three field goals, including one from 55 yards.
Week 9: Ryan Stepanovich of Pewaukee needed just 13 carries to rack up 206 yards and three touchdowns, and the Pirates shook off an early deficit to score 49 unanswered points and down Brown Deer in the Woodland Conference, 56-10. Stepanovich also caught a pass for 34 yards and helped Pirates finsh 8-1.
Week 8: Sean McGuire of Franklin has racked up bigger numbers than the 171-yard passing performance against Kenosha Indian Trail, but he had a hand in all four of his team's touchdowns in a 28-21 win that served as a de facto Southeast Conference title game. The senior slinger threw for three touchdowns and ran for another.
Week 7: Christian Almonte racked up some big yardage for Menomonee Falls in a comfortable win over West Allis Central, carrying the ball 34 times for 267 yards and four touchdowns. Not only that, but the win helped Falls move back into a tie for first place in the Greater Metro after Brookfield Central knocked off Marquette on the same night.
Week 6: In the highest-scoring game in state history and perhaps the craziest game in the country this year, Oconomowoc quarterback Canton Larson threw for 295 yards, ran for 198 and amassed eight total touchdowns as the Raccoons defeated longtime Wisconsin Little Ten powerhouse Wisconsin Lutheran in a surreal Homecoming environment, 84-82. It's the first time Cooney has knocked off Wisco since 2001, and it needed every ounce of offense to make it happen.
Week 5: University School running back Michael Tucker racked up some impressive numbers, rushing 30 times for 278 yards and a mind-boggling six touchdowns. The output helped USM record a 62-30 win over Living Word Lutheran, a team that had been previously undefeated in the Midwest Classic. The result gives the Wildcats new life in the postseason chase.
Week 4: In a second consecutive huge performance, Waukesha South's Isaiah Pitchford ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns and also came away with three interceptions, as South improved to 4-0 with a win over Kettle Moraine. It's the first time the Blackshirts have won four games in an entire season since 2003. Special mention to crosstown rival Elijah Fort of Waukesha West, who ran for 311 yards in a win against Muskego. He became the first West player to ever clear 300 in one game.
Week 3: Brown Deer running back Zack Baun ran for touchdowns of 78 and 88 yards during his monster 322-yard rushing performance on just 10 carries in his team's 42-7 win over St. Francis. For good measure, the quarterback also completed two passes, including one more another touchdown. It came against an opponent the Falcons should have beaten, though Brown Deer took a 35-0 lead by halftime to activate the running clock.
Week 2: Greendale receiver Mitchell Brees was on fire, catching 13 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns as the Panthers scored a landmark win, a 37-13 win over a Franklin team considered one of the state's best. With quarterback Josh Ringelberg tossing the ball, the prolific receiving connection is one reason Greendale might have a special season in 2013.
Week 1: Mukwonago linebacker Dominic Cizauskas, a University of Wisconsin recruit, forced a fumble and was his usual self on defense. But he also sparked the Indians offense in a 43-33 win over Racine Horlick, returning a kickoff 94 yards for touchdown, taking a 76-yard handoff to the house and catching an 8-yard touchdown pass.
Championship weekend: Catholic Memorial's Andre Bodden caught a touchdown pass and hauled in three interceptions, including one he returned for another touchdown as Catholic Memorial shocked previously unbeaten Waupaca for the Division 3 state championship, 42-7. His 77-yard touchdown catch set a new Division 3 title-game record.
Level 4: Arrowhead quarterback Brady Kelliher rose to the occasion in Level 4 of the Division 1 playoffs against fellow unbeaten squad Hudson. The senior threw for 427 yards and three touchdowns, going 24 for 35 in the 43-20 victory. He also ran for 44 yards, helping his team back to the state title game for the first time since 2008.
Level 3: Mitch Meindel caught two touchdown passes, helping his Catholic Memorial rally from a 14-0 deficit to pull back to even with mighty Wisconsin Lutheran in Level 3 of the Division 3 playoffs. Meindel also had a huge 68-yard punt that helped set up a key defensive stand, but his 33-yard field goal as time expire was the real story, giving his team a 24-21 upset win.
Level 2: Matt Hubley of Catholic Memorial had a very good week. He committed to the University of Wisconsin to play football Tuesday, then led his team to a 21-0 win over previously undefeated Pewaukee. Hubley scored on two long touchdown runs and keyed the defensive effort.
Level 1: Two weeks removed from an overtime loss to the same opponent, Greendale dismantled Wauwatosa West in Level 1 of the Division 2 playoffs, and quarterback Josh Ringelberg was a big reason why. The sophomore opened scoring with a 74-yard run and finished with more than 100 yards rushing, and he also completed 13 passes for 301 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-16 win.
Week 8: Lake Country Lutheran was the overwhelming favorite to top Racine Lutheran in the league finale, but anytime a receiver catches six touchdowns, it's notable. Lightning wideout Jacob Demman hauled in seven passes for 178 yards, including the six scores, and LCL won, 62-0.
Week 7: New Berlin Eisenhower needed a win over Milwaukee Pius to remain playoff eligible, and thanks to a career night from Nick Taylor, that's exactly what happened. Taylor finished with 243 yards rushing and three touchdowns, including a 72-yard run that set the tone offensively for the Lions in a win over Milwaukee Pius.
Week 6: Oak Creek standout running back Virgil Hammond has been a big reason why the Knights are undefeated. Against Kenosha Tremper on Friday, he ran for 219 yards on 23 carries, setting the tone with a 92-yard touchdown to give his team a quick lead. Special mention to Dominic Pfister of SJNMA, who ran for 254 yards and five scores in a crucial win over University School.
Week 5: Whitnall quarterback Zach Sutton completed 18 of 32 passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns as the Falcons endured a shootout with South Milwaukee and won the battle for first place in the Woodland Conference East Division. The showing comes the same week a former Whitnall quarterback, Joel Stave, starts for the University of Wisconsin.
Week 4: Pewaukee quarterback T.J. Watt led the Pirates to a first-ever victory over Greendale in a battle of unbeaten Woodland teams in Week 4. He scored three touchdowns, returned an interception 48 yards to set up another score, forced a fumble and ran a fake punt for a first down on 4th and 8 to ice it.
Week 3: Whitefish Bay workhorse running back Rashadeem Gray scored four times (165 yards), and the Blue Dukes dismantled Cedarburg by a 38-8 score, taking a huge North Shore Conference battle in surprisingly easy fashion. Last year, Bay fell to Cedarburg after conceding 22 fourth-quarter points.
Week 2: Sussex Hamilton's Drew Patterson, just a junior, didn't match his 247 yards recorded in Week 1 against Franklin, but his five-touchdown, 158-yard performance will do just fine in a remarkably lopsided win over Marquette, 42-3. The Chargers are serious contenders to reach the upper tiers of the state playoffs this year, and Patterson is a big reason why.
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