The two Brookfield Central football players who made the 2013 NOW All-Suburban Football Team worked more closely together than the average fan might think.
Luke Rasmussen, the Lancers' 6-foot-7, 275-pound left tackle, also was the Lancers' long snapper. The other member of the NOW All-Suburban Team is senior Steve Knopp, seven inches and 70 pounds lighter and the Lancers' placekicker.
Rasmussen brings home awards
Even though he is a first-team All-State performer, the rest of the honors Rasmussen pulled in are still impressive.
He was not only a Greater Metro Conference first-team all-conference selection, he was the GMC Offensive Lineman of the Year. He is a three-year starter and a team captain and has multiple Division 1 scholarship offers.
"It's nice to get some recognition," Rasmussen said. "As an O-lineman, you don't get to see your name too much. It's nice for our team as a whole. It kind of gets them recognition.
"As a team, we would have liked to see our season go better, but it is always nice to see one of your friend's names in the paper."
When asked to talk about his game, Rasmussen broke down his technique.
"I'm a longer, athletic lineman," he said. "I use my arms and my length to my advantage. Going against other guys, there are not many guys my height. I get my long arms in there and it's tough for them to get off."
Opposition notes talent
Ask Brookfield East outside linebacker Vince Schimborski, another All-State, All-Suburban, All-Conference player and the GMC Defensive Linebacker of the Year.
"Luke is always fun to play against," he said. "He is talented, and in that last game it was fun going against him."
Rasmussen did help out the Lancers this season by playing both offense and defense.
"I got a little bit of rest when I got on defense," he said. "It's a different mind-set for me to go from offense to defense. I think I made a pretty good transition during the games."
Rasmussen knows what he wants on the next level. He wants to major in the body sciences — kinesiology or biochemistry, maybe — and then go to medical school.
As for taking his football career to the next level: "They want me to play the O-line," he said. "Some schools want me as a long snapper."
Central coach Jamie Meulemans thinks he will do fine.
"Luke has great feet and great technique," he said. "He is very athletic, and he's our best offensive lineman."
Knopp's love for kicking
Even in fifth grade Knopp wanted to be a kicker. He had a solid foundation as a soccer player that helped him make the transition.
"It's really not that different from soccer, so that's where it came from," he said. "You have a tee in football and the ball is shaped differently, so you have a different rotation on the ball. But for most soccer players, it shouldn't be that difficult to become a football kicker."
Knopp was a GMC first-team All-Conference selection as a placekicker and last year he made it as a punter. He has only missed two extra points in two years and was 8-for-8 with field goal attempts. He also kicked off and punted again for the Lancers.
He passed out the praise to his offensive line and the other two key members of his kicking team — long snapper Rasmussen and holder Terry Wallen.
"If there was an all-star position for long-snapping, I'm sure Luke would make it. He didn't have a bad snap all year," he said. "We have an excellent holder in Terry Wallen, who always gets my ball on the tee. That makes my job a lot easier when I know there is going to be a good hold on a good snap."
As a key member of the offense, Rasmussen was glad to have Knopp around.
"It was nice to have a kicker you could rely on," he said. "There wasn't as much stress in the red zone. You know we would get some points on the board. With Steve we knew he would make the majority of his kicks, if not all his kicks. It was nice to have him as our backup plan."
Crediting his backup
Knopp also credited his backup, Drew Peterson, who pushed him all season and then took over kickoffs and punts when he sprained his ankle late in the year.
"That's why I made All-Suburban and All-Conference, because I had Drew pushing me all year," Knopp said.
Knopp then laughed and added, "Sometimes I wish the snap was bad and I could pick up the ball and run with it because I wanted the ball in my hands."
Knopp did get a chance to get his hands on the ball defensively as he picked off two passes as the Lancers' safety. He ran the first interception back 15 yards and then he had the clinching interception in the Lancers' win over GMC champion Marquette.
He also ran in a touchdown on a fumble recovery against West Allis Central for his first touchdown in his high school career.
"I didn't know what to do (when he got to the end zone) because I never scored a touchdown before," he said. "I had touchdown celebrations in my head in case I was going to score a touchdown, but it happened so fast, I didn't do it."
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