Here is a roundup of the players who will represent Rock and Walworth counties to cap their prep football careers.
Milton senior Patrick O’Leary was a unanimous selection as a first-team all-Badger South tight end.
Although he caught only 12 passes and scored twice, he gained 183 yards for a 15.3 average. But his forte was blocking, and league coaches recognized O’Leary’s talents as the Red Hawks shared the title for a second consecutive season.
O’Leary and his father, Bill, will be on the same sideline at the WFCA All-Star game for the Divisions 1-3 South squad.
“I got to watch him as a ball boy when he coached in the game in 2009, but this time I’ll be a player, and even though I’ll be a tight end and he’ll be coaching the defensive line, we can share this more as father and son,” Patrick said.
“He’s lucky I’m not coaching tight ends,” Bill O’Leary said jokingly. “When we got the news that we would be at the All-Star game, I was so excited. Win or lose, it will be an unbelievable conclusion to his high school career.”
Evansville/Albany senior Austin Rupiper, a three-year starter at left tackle, earned lineman of the year honors in the RVC North for a second year in a row.
Hall of Fame coach Ron Grovesteen said the team’s running game started with the 6-2, 300 pounder, accumulating nearly 2,900 rushing yards as the Blue Devils finished 10-1 overall.
“He has been our key leader to a team that won back-to-back Rock Valley (North) Conference championships,” Grovesteen said of Rupiper, who will attend St. Norbert next season after earning all-region honors. “He’s a great student-athlete and participated in track for four years (shot put and discus).”
Brodhead/Juda’s Ned Slocum, who surpassed 1,000 career points early in the 2015-’16 basketball season, also will represent the small-school South. He is scheduled to play linebacker.
Big Foot’s Michael Heidenreich caught 59 passes for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns to lead the Chiefs to their ninth straight piece of the Rock Valley South title and second straight under Greg Enz -- whose counterpart, Jeff Spiwak of Clinton, is on the small-school South coaching staff.
Heidenreich was named the RVC South’s offensive player of the year while earning all-region and honorable mention All-State laurels from the WFCA. A two-way performer, a shoulder injury prevented him from being as much of a factor in the secondary.
Regardless, his offensive prowess is what made Heidenreich one of the most dangerous weapons in the Stateline area.
“I wouldn’t say that speed was his strength because he wasn’t going to blow by defenses,” Enz said. “He loves going out and running routes and catching passes. Michael has a keen sense of what it takes to get into position and make catches and plays. He fills a pretty good highlight reel.”
A couple of options didn’t work out, so Heidenreich will concentrate on academics at UW-Madison. Still, his selection to the All-Star game means a lot to the Big Foot program.
“His selection has a lot of value to him, to me and our program,” Enz said. “It proves that we’re doing things right in developing talented, accountable kids.
“We’ve become so consistent over the years and that kind of identity perpetuates itself,” Enz added. “It gives younger kids something to aspire to, and not a lot of schools have that tradition. I’m sure Michael feels like it was everything he hoped for.”
Tight end Jacob Remsza of East Troy was an All-Rock Valley North receiver in 2015, a second straight honor after posting 37 receptions for 698 yards (18.9) and six touchdowns. The 6-4, 185-pound Remsza will play at Minnesota-Crookston.
The Trojans finished 6-4 overall and reached the WIAA Division 4 playoffs despite a 0-3 start as Remsza, also an outside linebacker, recorded five sacks and seven tackles for losses.
The team captain also played hoops, helping the Trojans go to state in 2015 and reach the sectional final last year. Remsza also reached state on relay teams in track.
“Jake Remsza is not just a great student-athlete, but he’s an even better person,” coach Eric Sulik said. “He is one of the most unselfish and hardworking players that I have ever coached. He comes from a very supportive family. I know it means a lot to him to be playing in the WFCA All-Star game. He put a lot of effort into fundraising for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.”
Catholic Central’s Cole Kresken led the Hilltoppers to the Division 7 semifinals and a 12-1 finish. He carried 211 times for 1,762 yards (8.4) and 31 TDs, averaging 135.5 yards rushing per game. He also surpassed 100 total tackles. The four-year starter combined for nearly 3,800 yards rushing and 57 scores during his prep career. He is heading to St. Norbert.
Kresken was named to the Metro Classic Conference’s first team as a running back and linebacker, picking up top defender honors. He made the WFCA’s all-region team and garnered honorable mention All-State recognition both ways.
Catholic Central coach Tom Aldrich heaped praise on Kresken’s accomplishments.
“Cole has been an outstanding football player for us,” Aldrich said. “He is very deserving of his selection based on his accomplishments on the field and the type of young man he is off the field. The Catholic Central football program is excited for Cole. As a small school, his selection means a lot to all of us involved in the football program and the high school because it provides an opportunity for Cole to show the state that he, as well as other Catholic Central athletes, can compete with anybody.”
Burlington’s Hegeman Tiedt was a standout defensive end for coach Steve Tenhagen. He was a first team WFCA all-region pick and made the Southern Lakes first unit.
He finished with a team-high 94 total stops, registering 16 tackles for loss and seven sacks. He accepted a preferred walk-on from Wisconsin.