Waterford, East Troy, Mukwonago, among others enjoyed historic seasons

Tanner Keller breaks off one of his four touchdown scampers on a crazy 247-yard performance in a playoff victory. (Rick Benavides/SLN)


By Mike Ramczyk


Your Christmas stocking stuffer is officially here.

The third annual Southern Lakes Newspapers All-Area Football team is just in time for the Christmas season and is the perfect gift for any occasion.

We picked athletes from four counties, including four conferences, and included an All-Area team along with honorable mention selections.

Waterford won the Southern Lakes Conference championship, and East Troy and Mukwonago enjoyed strong playoff runs, each making it to the second level.

As always, Sports Editor Mike Ramczyk picks the final team, thanks to weeks of research along with coaches’ considerations and input from staff writer Jason Arndt and correspondents Chris Bennett, Tim Wester, Dan Truttschel, Daniel Schoettler, Michael Hoey and Andrew Horschak.

Who put up big numbers?

Who passed the eye test, wowing the crowd with his athletic ability?

Also, who helped make winning plays to lead his team to the playoffs?

All of these things factor in and, trust me, it’s not easy making the final picks. Just the fact that kids made it on their respective football teams is an accomplishment in itself, and we would like to extend congratulations to all players.

Our 14 teams include the Southern Lakes Conference, Mukwonago, East Troy, Big Foot, Catholic Central, Palmyra-Eagle and Whitewater.

We used thorough analysis to bring you the best of the best, so sit back, grab a beverage and enjoy.


All Area Football

Player of the Year

Jake Dessart, senior, quarterback, East Troy

All-Region, 2,334 rushing yards (fourth in state), 26 TDs, 567 passing yards, 8 TDs, first team All-Rock Valley

Please see a full feature story on Dessart in the Burlington Standard Press print edition and www.mywalworthcounty.com.


Coach of the Year

Jeff Crandall, East Troy

What a run for East Troy in 2018.

Jake Dessart was perhaps the most explosive offensive weapon in the state at quarterback with more than 2,300 rushing yards and 34 total touchdowns.

Dessart led the state in rushing during the regular season with 2,076 yards.

Also, Jake Price earned All-State honors at tight end with eight touchdowns, and running back Dylan Jakscht added another 1,000 yards on the ground, with 14 touchdowns.

Crandall was the mastermind behind a 7-2 record – good for third in the Rock Valley Conference – and a thrilling comeback 28-26 playoff victory as a 5 seed at No. 4 New Berlin West.

It was the first playoff win in program history.

East Troy was winless in eight previous playoff trips.

Crandall guided the Trojans to the postseason for the fourth straight season.

“Winning a game in the playoffs was huge for the program,” Crandall said. “The players have been working hard all year, and it paid off. Being the first to do something is a great accomplishment, and it is a memory that all our players now have.”

With Crandall on the sideline, the future is bright for the Trojans.


Brandon Wilde, junior, QB, Palmyra-Eagle

Wilde’s numbers were simply too staggering to ignore.

The 6-foot, 150-pound gunslinger led the state in passing yards with 2,557 and was second with 27 passing touchdowns.

A team captain, Wilde was first team All-Trailways Conference and voted the Wissports.net Player of the Week in Week 8.

Wilde broke 14 school records.


Josh Jendusa, senior, RB, Mukwonago

The top running back in the state’s best conference, the Classic 8, Jendusa racked up 1,744 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns, including a two-touchdown, 167-yard performance in a playoff victory over Lake Geneva Badger.

Jendusa helped put the Indians back on the map in the Classic 8, where they went 5-4 with losses coming to state champions Muskego and Catholic Memorial.

Jendusa earned honorable mention All-State from the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association, All-Region and first team All-Classic 8 honors.


Tanner Keller, junior, RB, Waterford

A supreme talent who just barely missed All-Area Player of the Year, Keller’s brilliance almost helped the Wolverines pull off a monumental playoff comeback against Waukesha West.

After tearing it up with a huge performance in a Level 1 playoff game, Keller was back at it at home against West, when he racked up more than 200 total yards and helped set up the final touchdown with a 40-yard catch out of the backfield.

The Southern Lakes Conference Offensive Player of the Year, Keller was first team All-Racine County, All-Region and honorable mention All-State.

Keller ran for 1,772 yards and 26 touchdowns, and he added 275 receiving yards with four scores.

“Tanner had one of the best seasons at running back in the entire state,” Waterford coach Adam Bakken said. “He is the most complete running back I’ve coached in eight years at Waterford.”

Keller has the speed to take a simple dive to the house, can break tackles and ankles with his tricky footwork, and can also block well and catch the ball well out of the backfield.


Nick Webley breaks away for a long touchdown against Lake Geneva Badger in September. (John Fisher/SLN)

Nick Webley, senior, WR, Burlington

Webley was arguably the most dangerous offensive threat in the area for the five games he played.

On pace to shatter just about every Burlington receiving record, Webley was injured and carted off the field midway through the season against Westosha Central due to a broken leg.

Webley had 30 catches for 634 yards and 10 touchdowns, leading the state in yards and touchdowns, at the time of his injury.

An honorable mention All-State, first team All-SLC and All-Region selection, Webley is 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and runs a sub-4.5 40-yard dash.

His athletic superiority was on display during the Demons’ first win over Lake Geneva Badger in 10 years, when Webley caught a simple out, stopped on a dime to make his defender fall and sprinted 50 yards past two defenders untouched to the end zone.

Defenses drew up entire game plans to stop Webley with double and triple teams, but he still put up video game numbers.

Burlington coach Steve Tenhagen said Webley was on his way to an All-State season.

Webley has received two Division 2 offers and interest from Division 1 University of Wisconsin.


Morgan Carpenter, senior, WR, Palmyra-Eagle

Carpenter was a semifinalist for the Al Toon award, given to the best receiver in the state.

The team captain was named honorable mention All-State and All-Region thanks to 49 catches, 914 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Carpenter, a 6-foot-3, 190-pounder, was seventh in the state in receiving yards.

He broke nine school records and led the conference in receiving yards and touchdowns.


Dalton Gillette, senior, TE, Mukwonago

A physical beast at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Gillette was named honorable mention All-State and first team All-Classic 8.

Gillette caught 21 passes for 408 yards and seven touchdowns.


Trevor Pye, junior, OL, Waterford

Pye was the top vote-getter at offensive lineman for All-Conference, and he was also first team All-County and All-Region.

Pye helped a dominant offensive line that produced two 1,000-yard rushers.

Blessed with power and burst on run plays, Pye clears plenty of space and makes a running back’s job easy.

“Trevor had one of the most dominant years at offensive guard that I’ve seen,” Bakken said.


Kyle Freund, junior, OL, Lake Geneva Badger

A 6-foot-2, 265-pound road grader, Freund was named first team All-SLC and All-Region.

He anchored a run-heavy Badger offense in his second year as a starter.

“A domination run blocker,” Badger coach Matt Hensler said. “He pulls very well and is athletic and strong.”


Alex Ochs, senior, OL, Waterford

An absolute beast who also spends his time away from football as a power lifter, Ochs was another star on the area’s best offensive line.

Ochs earned first team All-SLC honors.

With a magnetic personality and sense of humor, Och’s communication and leadership skills helped the line thrive.

The Waterford offensive line dominated the Southern Lakes Conference in 2018. (Rick Benavides/SLN)


Brett Pladies, senior, OL, Mukwonago

Pladies was the best offensive lineman for the Indians, who reached the second level of the Division 1 playoffs.

He was named second team offensive lineman in the state’s best conference.


John Marshke, senior, OL, East Troy

A three-time All-Rock Valley lineman, Marshke earned first team honors in 2018.

At 5-10, 247 pounds, Marshke helped lead a dominant rushing attack for the 7-3 Trojans that featured a 2,000 and 1,000 yard rusher.


Josh Taddeo, senior, K, Badger

Talk about a big leg, the soccer player was a perfect 22-for-22 on kicks in 2018, 17-17 on extra points and 5-5 on field goals.

Taddeo, a first team All-SLC pick, is 94-for-101 for his career on extra points.

“Unbelievably consistent,” Hensler said. “He’s a great kid and put in a huge amount of time kicking in the offseason.”


Utility: Jacob Price, senior, TE/FB, East Troy, and Dominic Miller, junior, RB, Waterford

Price earned honorable mention All-State, first team All-Conference and All-Region honors. He caught 17 passes for 480 yards and eight touchdowns.

Miller was a home run hitter in the return game and surpassed 1,000 yards rushing with 16 touchdowns.

A first team All-SLC running back, Miller averaged 10.3 yards per carry and added two receiving touchdowns.

Dominic Miller flies away for a 90-yard kickoff return against Wilmot. (Rick Benavides/SLN)




Kevin Brenner, senior, DL, Wilmot

The best defensive player in the area, Brenner recorded 9.5 sacks, an eye-popping 15 tackles for loss and 85 total tackles for the 7-3 Panthers.

He was named the SLC Defensive Player of the Year, honorable mention All-State, first team All-Kenosha County and All-Region.

He has the ability to change the game by blowing up the offensive game plan.

“Kevin is the most complete player on and off the field that I have coached in football,” Wilmot coach Keiya Square said. “He has all the intangibles to be great at whatever he wants going forward.”

Brenner has several D2 college offers along with D1 interest.


Brian Konz, senior, DL, Burlington

A 6-foot-3, 210-pound two-way force, Konz was one of the area’s best all-around linemen.

The explosive pass rusher was named first team All-SLC and second team All-County on his way to 6.0 quarterback sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

A supreme athlete, Konz is out for the wrestling team for the first time and already dominating as an undersized heavyweight.

Brian Konz forces the fumble that led to Burlington’s first victory over Lake Geneva Badger since the 1990s. (John Fisher/SLN)


Boyd Biggs, senior, DL, Waterford

A first team All-SLC and All-Region pick, Biggs was the only SLC player to earn All-Racine County first team.

A 6-foot-2, 240-pound force, Biggs was the Wolverines’ only two-way lineman and constantly received double teams on defense and never asked be taken out even if he was tired, according to Bakken.

A multi-sport athlete, Biggs was the heart and soul of the Waterford line.

He totaled 55 tackles, including 3 for loss.


Michael Lois, junior, DL, Elkhorn

The feel-good story of the All-Area team, Lois is walking and doing well after suffering a severe neck injury in a pool accident after only five games in 2018.

Relegated to a wheelchair for a few days, Lois recovered and is now walking and attending school.

The Southern Lakes Conference rallied in support of Lois, putting his initials on their helmets during an emotional Friday night of football.

Lois, who is committed to play defensive line at Division 1 University of Iowa, is an imposing figure at 6-foot-5, 265 pounds.

In only five games, he tallied 4.5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks.

“I believe he is the best defensive lineman in the junior class in the state,” Elkhorn coach Tom Lee said.

Michael Lois visits with an Elkhorn elementary school student in September. (Submitted/SLN)


Ross Gengler, junior, LB, Delavan-Darien/Williams Bay

A first team All-SLC and All-Region pick, Gengler was a bright spot during a down year for the Comets.

Gengler had 108 tackles, 11 for loss, and 4.5 sacks.

Strong in coverage, Gengler added three interceptions.


Will Borchert, junior, LB, Mukwonago

Borchert earned first team All-Conference honors in the Classic 8.

Borchert tallied 138 tackles, 10 for loss and four sacks.


Mitch Magolan, senior, LB, Mukwonago

As good as Borchert was, teammate Magolan was better.

He led the Indians in tackles with 140, 15 for loss and added 4.5 sacks.

Left off the All-Conference team, Magolan put up some of the most gaudy stats in the area, including 19 tackles and an interception in Mukwonago’s playoff win.


Cal Jenkins, junior, LB, Wilmot

A first team All-SLC pick, Jenkins was also first team All-Kenosha County.

Jenkins led the Panthers in tackles with 102, including four for loss and 2.5 sacks.

“Cal has been a rock for us the past two years,” Square said. “He is instinctive to the ball and always seems to be making plays from sideline to sideline.”


Jaret Ketterhagen, senior, DB, Wilmot

With three picks and 57 tackles, Ketterhagen led the Panthers’ secondary, a key ingredient for the team’s successful defense.

A first team All-SLC and All-Region pick, Ketterhagen also earned first team All-County honors.

“Jaret had a big year for us,” Square said. “He has the ability to run with smaller receivers and the height and length to defend taller receivers when the ball is in the air. As the season went on, he became more and more comfortable playing corner and as close to a lock-down corner as we have had at Wilmot.”


Zack Burke, junior, DB, East Troy

A 6-foot-1, 158-pound ball hawk, Burke was named first team All-Conference thanks to four interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.

Burke added 90 total tackles and forced two fumbles for the stout East Troy defense.


Willie Ketterhagen, senior, DB, Waterford

A leader in the defensive backfield and a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks, Ketterhagen was named first team All-SLC.

Ketterhagen totaled 46 tackles and picked off three passes.

Ketterhagen was the catalyst for the playmaking Wolverine secondary.


Reece Crull, senior, P, Delavan-Darien

Forced to punt quite often for the 1-8 Comets, Crull came up big.

He placed two punts inside the 20-yard line and averaged 38.7 yards on 31 punts.

Crull was named to the All-SLC first team.


Chas Miles helped anchor a stingy Catholic Central defense. (John Fisher/SLN)

Honorable mention

  • Samy Greco, senior, LB, Westosha Central: first team All-SLC
  • Nathan Bousman, senior, OL/DL, Burlington: first team All-SLC OL, second team All-county
  • Dalton Damon, junior, QB, Burlington: first team All-SLC, All-Region, second All-County
  • Josh Letkewicz, senior, DE, Burlington: second team All-SLC
  • AJ Goessl, senior, OL, Waterford: first team All-SLC
  • Luke Nelson, senior, WR, Union Grove: first team All-SLC
  • Zack Watson, junior, Utility, WIL: first team All-SLC
  • Tanner Peterson, senior, DL, WIL: first team All-SLC
  • Joe Covelli, senior, LB, WAT: first team All-SLC
  • Brandon Bernardo, senior, LGB: first team All-SLC
  • Wesley Juszczak, senior, WR, MUK: second team All-Classic 8
  • A.J. Major, DL, MUK: second team All-Conference
  • Josh Szeklinski, DB, WAT
  • Joe Schauer, QB, WAT: second team All-SLC
  • Dylan Jaksht, senior, RB, ET: first team All-RVC, 1,112 rushing yards, 14 TD
  • John Skinner, junior, DL, ET: first team All-RVC
  • Aaron Gardner, senior, TE, WIL: first team All-SLC
  • Austin Norton, senior, RB, WIL: second team All-SLC
  • Chas Miles, junior, OL/DE, Catholic Central: second team All-MCC; “Athletic with a strong demeanor to finish his blocks,” coach Tom Aldrich said.
  • Simon Pedone, junior, K, CC: second team All-MCC: 21-21 XP
  • Aiden Greco, WR, Big Foot: first team All-RVC (top vote-getter), second in school history in receptions
  • Sam Dickerson, OL, BF: first team All-RVC
  • Jack Hereley, senior, DL, BF: first team All-RVC
  • Tommy Turner, LB, UG: second team All-SLC, second team All-county
  • Mason Buelow, junior, ELK: second team All-SLC, 1,280 yards, 17 TD
  • Nick Rockweiler, UTIL, ELK: second team All-SLC
  • Mason Stebnitz, junior, WR, ELK: second team All-SLC, 449 yards, 6 TD
  • Sage Rushing, senior, DL, ELK: second team All-SLC, 10.5 TFL, 6 QB sacks
  • Arturo Franco, senior, OL, Whitewater: second team All-RVC, “Played through injury and was a great leader on the field,” said Whitewater coach Jim Pease
  • Eric Gonzalez, LB, Delavan-Darien: second team All-SLC Utility

Luke Nelson graded as a top-five receiver, while Josh Szeklinski (right) came up with two huge interceptions in Waterford’s televised victory over Lake Geneva Badger. (Rick Benavides/SLN)