The Swiss Army Knife

Nick Klug (left) hands off to Grant Tully during the regular season. (John Fisher/SLN)


By Mike Ramczyk

Last year, for the first time, we brought you the Southern Lakes Newspapers All-Area Football team, ripe with our best high school players from our vast coverage area in Walworth, Racine, Kenosha and Waukesha counties.

This year, we’re back with the second annual squad, but it will go the more traditional route with a twist.

Unlike last year where it was the best football players making the teams regardless of position, this year we’re making sure to honor each position with offensive and defensive teams, along with honorable mention selections.

Sports Editor Mike Ramczyk picks the teams with precedence given to players with postseason accolades, good stats and intangibles along with suggestions from coaches.

Ramczyk got help from correspondents Jason Arndt, Chris Bennett, Tim Wester, Dan Truttschel, Daniel Schoettler, Kevin Cunningham and Troy Sparks, and the SLN sports staff considered players from Burlington, Waterford, Lake Geneva Badger, Elkhorn, Delavan-Darien, Westosha Central, Wilmot, Union Grove, East Troy, Whitewater, Walworth Big Foot, Mukwonago and Palmyra-Eagle.

Sit back and enjoy the second annual SLN All-Area Football team.


Player of the year

Grant Tully, senior, Burlington

This was a very tough choice with candidates like all-state first teamer Jackson Enz from Big Foot, Southern Lakes offensive player of the year William Keller and defensive player of the year Aaron Chapman, but Tully did it all and was perhaps the most valuable player to his team in 2017.

Burlington was 6-3 and earned a WIAA postseason berth.

You could pretty much put him anywhere on the field, and he would be all-conference.

When starting quarterback Nick Klug went down in the beginning of the season, Tully, a running back, was asked to play quarterback.

All he did was almost beat undefeated Division 1 power Racine Horlick on the road while recording 11 tackles, then reel off three passing touchdowns and two more rushing scores to rout Union Grove.

“He’s a kid that contributed each and every way he possibly could,” Burlington coach Steve Tenhagen said. “He’s definitely a big part of everything we did this year. He did everything for us.”

When Klug returned to quarterback, the Demon offense continued to flourish, as Tully rushed for 1,044 yards and seven touchdowns, including three straight 100-yard games late in the season to help Burlington clinch a playoff berth.

An explosive runner with elite quickness, Tully can also tackle, as he was second team all-SLC running back and defensive back.

Tully also earned first team all-Racine County honors.

He’s been an all-SLC receiver and linebacker in the past as well and was a three-year starter.

An all-around athlete, Tully has been a standout shortstop for a baseball squad that’s been to state two years in a row, and he currently plays guard for the basketball team.

Tully also caught 17 balls for 201 yards and three touchdowns.

He excelled wherever he played, and he also returned punts and kicks.

Tully has a knack to find an opening in the defense and burst through, and once he’s in the open he’s gone.


Coach of the year

Adam Bakken, Waterford

Anyone who looked at the Waterford Union High School football team’s schedule in the first month of the season likely stopped and thought, ‘Whoa.’

The Wolverines – one of the area’s better Division 2 programs – opened their season Aug. 18 with Division 1 power Franklin, and followed with matchups against Kenosha Indian Trail and Badger.

Waterford opened SLC play Sept. 8 with Wilmot, a pre-season SLC favorite, and followed the Panthers with a rivalry game against Burlington.

“The schedule is certainly front-loaded,” Waterford coach Adam Bakken said in the pre-season. “I don’t know if there are many teams in the state, on paper, opening with a tougher first four games than we do.”

Waterford faced its grueling early season with only two seniors, and also dealt with the suspension of some key players due to off-field activities.

The Wolverines went 3-2 through their first five games, and finished with an overall record of 7-2 in the regular season. Waterford went 6-1 and finished second in the SLC to Badger (7-0).

Waterford put together a seven-game winning streak that included a 28-27 overtime victory over Burlington Oct. 20 in a Division 2 Level 1 playoff game at Waterford.

The Wolverines’ season ended with a 40-14 loss at Monona Grove in a Level 2 playoff game. Waterford has qualified for the Division 2 playoffs in each of Bakken’s seven seasons as head coach.

For all of these accomplishments – for managing a challenging schedule, getting a young team to win and advancing to the playoffs yet again and for remaining a preeminent program in Division 2 – Bakken is the Southern Lakes Newspapers Coach of the Year.

Waterford head coach Adam Bakken addresses his team after its playoff win. Bakken had to overcome early-season injuries and suspensions, but the Wolverines finished the season strong. (Rick Benavides/SLN)




Jackson Enz, senior, Walworth Big Foot

The 6-foot-1, 188-pound utility extraordinaire put up video game numbers in six games before hurting his knee and missing the final three.

He was named first team all-state utility this year and honorable mention all-state as a junior.

Enz received a football scholarship to play for FCS powerhouse North Dakota State.

He was also first team all-region and all-Rock Valley Conference, passing for 1,120 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushing for 609 and 11 scores.

Enz punted for an average of nearly 40 yards and totaled 60 tackles on defense.

He holds the school record for single season (3,521) and career passing (7,165) yards.

He’s only the second player in school history to score 70 touchdowns in his career.

“One of the finest athletes I’ve coached,” said Big Foot coach Greg Enz. “He has incredible speed, quickness and explosiveness with the ball in his hands or off the ball on defense.”


Nick Klug, senior, Burlington

Named first team all-SLC, Klug was a dual threat as a runner and passer.

He bounced back from a leg injury early in the season to pass for 1,173 yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions, helping Burlington to a 6-3 record and first playoff appearance since 2014.

Klug also ran for 585 yards and eight touchdowns.

A star on the basketball team, Klug will play guard at Division 2 Winona State University.


Jake Dessart, junior, East Troy

Dessart led the Trojans to a 5-5 record and a Division 3 playoff appearance with his arm and legs.

The dual-threat star threw for 1,263 yards and ran for a school record 1,719 yards.

He earned first team all-RVC honors.

“Jake carried our running game after injuries to two of our backs,” East Troy coach Jeff Crandall said.


Jaden Jackson, senior, Westosha Central

The transfer student from Utah took the SLC by storm, leading the conference with 1,735 yards and engineering two impressive late-game winning drives as the Falcons jumped out to a 4-0 record and returned relevance to Central football.

Jackson had the Falcons at 4-4 and in position for a historic playoff appearance in a winner-take-all game against Wilmot to end the season.

Jackson fired 17 touchdowns and had 11 interceptions.

He earned first team all-Kenosha County and second team all-SLC honors.

“Numbers don’t lie,” said head coach Tyson Mengel. “He always expected to win, His accuracy and arm strength were college level, and he was a strong moral kid.”


Running back

William Keller, senior, Lake Geneva Badger

An explosive, dangerous runner with the ability to score from anywhere on the field, Keller helped the Badgers go undefeated and win the SLC for the second straight year.

He rushed for 1,146 yards, second in the SLC, along with 16 touchdowns.

The 6-foot, 190-pound athlete earned honorable mention all-state and all-region honors.


Tanner Keller, sophomore, Waterford

With an injury to teammate Benny Michalowski, Keller took over running back duties early in the season and torched SLC defenses.

Keller busted off five straight 150-yard performances, and went on to lead the SLC in rushing yards with 1,259, to go along with 16 touchdowns.

He is able to hit a hole immediately and run away from everyone.

With two years ahead of him, the first team all-SLC pick has a beaming future.

Tanner Keller breaks away for a long touchdown against Burlington. The sophomore put together five straight 150-yard games to lead the SLC in rushing with more than 1,200 yards. (Rick Benavides/SLN)


Austin Norton, junior, Wilmot

Thrust into a starting role with Robert Brent out with injury, Norton thrived with 781 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in 10 games.

He helped pick up the rushing slack and allow the Panthers, who started slow, to reach the WIAA postseason.

Norton earned second team all-SLC honors.


Dylan Jakscht, junior, East Troy

Crandall says Jakscht blocks like a lineman and catches like a tight end.

He played through injury all season and ran for more than 900 yards.

“Dylan is an excellent blocker who is as good as having a lineman back there,” Crandall said.


Wide receiver

Pedro Sierra, senior, Walworth Big Foot

The favorite target of Jackson Enz, the 6-foot, 174-pound receiver can flat out go up and get the ball.

A team captain, Sierra caught 42 balls for 639 yards and eight touchdowns.

He earned all-region and first team all-conference honors.

“He’s the best route runner I’ve coached during my career,” Greg Enz said. “He has incredible hand strength and has a highlight reel of acrobatic catches.”


Nic Frederick, senior, Westosha Central

Frederick led the SLC in catches (50), yards (653) and touchdowns (11).

Jackson’s favorite target was first team all-SLC and all-county.

“Nic is one of the best in the conference,” Mengel said. “He had great hands and his yards after catch was key. He turned many five-yard routes into 20-plus.”


Jack Pettit, senior, Union Grove

The first team all-SLC receiver is a multi-sport athlete, as he mans the point for the basketball team.

Pettit caught 43 passes for 589 yards, second-best in conference, and seven touchdowns, third-best in the SLC.

Despite a down season for the Broncos, Pettit was always a threat to score when the Grove had the ball.

Burlington’s Nick Webley (9) goes up for a catch against tight coverage at Badger during the regular season. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)

Nick Webley, junior, Burlington

A 6-foot-3 specimen that only played in seven games, Webley was a red zone menace with nine touchdowns, and Klug could simply throw the ball up and Webley would out-jump the coverage.

Webley caught 19 balls for 447 yards.

He earned first team all-SLC honors for his efforts.

Webley was huge in a playoff game against Waterford with two touchdowns, including a leaping catch in overtime to give Burlington a chance to win the game.


Tight end

Joe Tully, senior, Burlington

An all-region selection, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Tully also earned first team all-SLC honors.

Tully was third in the SLC with 497 receiving yards. He caught 36 balls and added five touchdowns.


Offensive line

Sarek Hoerth, senior, Badger

A 6-foot-5, 318-pound mountain of an intimidating presence, Hoerth helped Badger go 9-2 with the best running game in the area.

Hoerth earned honorable mention all-state, along with all-region and first team all-SLC honors.

Badger’s triple option machine was mostly unstoppable, and Hoerth dominated most linemen.


Zach Stiewe, senior, Waterford

The rock that held a young offensive line together through early-season trials, Stiewe helped the run-oriented Wolverines flourish.

Stiewe and the Wolverines helped Tanner Keller and Michalowski put up big numbers on the ground.

Stiewe earned all-region and first team all-SLC honors.

Waterford players Ben Michalowski (33), Zach Stiewe (68) and Aaron Larsen (34) show Burlington respect after Waterford’s overtime playoff victory. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

Sam Kaider, senior, Badger

Another first team all-SLC selection, Kaider was another road grader for the Badgers, who run the majority of the time.

Badger rushed for 3,244 yards and 44 touchdowns and scored 36 points per game.


Nathan Bousman, junior, Burlington

A big reason the Demons turned into a lethal running team late in the season out of necessity because of games in rainy weather, Bousman earned first team all-SLC honors.

The Demons boasted a 1,000-yard rusher, and Klug ran for another 600 yards at the quarterback position.

Also, Bousman thrived in pass protection, as the Demons liked to air it out.


Branden Spencer, junior, Wilmot

Another first team all-SLC pick, Spencer helped the Panthers make the playoffs behind star runners Robert Brent and Austin Norton.


Chris Storandt, senior, East Troy

The center is a three-year letter winner, and the Trojans have rushed 7,680 yards and 3,300 in 2017 with Storandt as a starter.

A first team all-RVC selection, Crandall said Storandt is the leader of the offensive line and makes all of the checks in the run game.



Patrick Goldammer, senior, Waterford

The first team all-SLC kicker was perfect in 2017 during the conference season.

He booted 34 of 34 extra points and all five field goal attempts.




Defensive line

Kevin Brenner, junior, Wilmot

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound menace to quarterbacks tied for the team lead in sacks with six and added 71 tackles.

Brenner was named first team all-SLC and earned all-region honors.


Alex Evans, senior, Badger

Evans helped a dominant Badger front line limit opponents all season.

Evans led the area with an eye-popping 10 sacks.

He earned first team all-SLC and all-region honors.


Ben Golon, senior, Burlington

Golon stuffed up the middle for the Demons in the run game and could also rush the passer.

Golon finished second on the team with 60 tackles and earned first team all-SLC honors.


Jack Trautman, senior, Waterford

Another all-region selection, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound athlete was first team all-SLC thanks to 72 tackles, eight for loss, and two sacks.

Trautman was a vocal leader on a stingy defense, and the Wolverines went 8-3 on the season.


Aric Bohn, senior, Mukwonago

Playing in one of the toughest conference in the state, the Classic 8, Bohn earned second team honors on the defensive line and honorable mention on the offensive line.



Danny Noll, senior, Waterford

With a whopping team-leading 118 tackles, Noll, a 5-foot-10, 210-pounder, packed a punch to opposing players.

He was honorable mention all-state, all-region and first team all-SLC.

Bakken’s defenses are fast and hard-hitting, and Noll led the way on the field.


Tanner Peterson, junior, Wilmot

With 71 tackles, six for loss, and three sacks, Peterson earned first team all-SLC honors.

Peterson was an all-region outside linebacker.


Benny Michalowski, senior, Waterford

A talented two-way player that ran for 779 yards and 16 touchdowns, Michalowski totaled 66 tackles, seven for loss and two sacks.

A first team all-SLC linebacker, Michalowski came on strong in the second half of the season after overcoming an injury.

The bruising runner scored the game-winning touchdown in Waterford’s overtime victory over Burlington, and Michalowski was a big reason Tenhagen and the Demons went for a two-point conversion and the win instead of trying to stop Michalowski and the Wolverines’ run game.


Zach Christopherson, senior, Wilmot

A first team all-SLC selection, Christopherson led the Panthers with 113 tackles, including five for loss.


Chase Coleman, senior, East Troy

The emotional leader for the Trojans, Coleman was second team all-RVC.

He was 17th in the state in total tackles with 138, adding 10 tackles for loss and a sack.


Defensive back

Aaron Chapman, senior, Waterford

A player of the year candidate, Chapman tied for the area lead with six interceptions and added 60 tackles.

He was honorable mention all-state and all-region, along with first team all-SLC.

As a receiver, Chapman earned second team all-SLC honors with 38 catches, 396 yards and two touchdowns.

Union Grove’s Jack Pettit can’t wrestle the ball away from Waterford’s Aaron Chapman. Chapman had six interceptions in 2017. (Rick Benavides/SLN)


Nick Aufmuth, senior, Badger

The area co-leader in picks with six, Aufmuth was a shut-down corner for the conference champion Badgers.

Aufmuth added 49 tackles and earned first team all-SLC honors.


Jake Gerzel, senior, Wilmot

Gerzel, the area co-leader with six interceptions, earned first team all-SLC honors.


Austin Flower, senior, Badger

Flower led the team in tackles with 87 and added two interceptions.

He was named second team all-SLC.


William Ketterhagen, senior, Waterford

Ketterhagen notched four interceptions and 71 tackles to help lead the strong Waterford secondary.

For his efforts, he was named second team all-SLC.

He also earned first team honors as a punter.



Adam Simmons, junior, Westosha Central

A talented punter, Simmons earned this spot for his versatility.

He could play any skill position on the field, including quarterback, wide receiver, running back and defensive back without a hitch.

He was named all-county first team as an athlete.

Alec Spang had a big season for the Broncos, passing for more than 1,700 yards. (Earlene Frederick/SLN)

Honorable mention

Alec Spang, sr., QB, UG. Jimmy DuVal, sr., LB/RB/WR, Whitewater. Dakota Biefeld, sr., RB, Elkhorn. Robert Brent, sr., RB, WIL. Owen Butenhoff, jr., QB/RB/LB, Palmyra-Eagle. Connor Sullivan, sr., LB, PE. Nate Sullivan, sr., DL, PE. A.J. Frisby, sr., QB, WIL. Logan Rios, sr., WR, Delavan-Darien. Gunner Peterson, sr., DL, WIL. Harrison George, sr. DB, BUR. Tyler Huffhines, sr., DB, WC. Angelo Camalieri, sr., TE, LGB. Brian Konz, jr., OL, BUR. Jake Fransisco, jr., OL, WAT. Nathan Borst, sr., DL, LGB. Braden O’Laughlin, sr., LB, LGB. Nate Crayton, sr., LB, BUR. Devin Shibilski, sr., LB, UG.

Harrison George celebrates a fumble recovery during the regular season.