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Badgers' commit Braelon Allen earns AP state football player of year honor for WIAA's alternate fall season this spring
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Badgers' commit Braelon Allen earns AP state football player of year honor for WIAA's alternate fall season this spring

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Fond du Lac senior Braelon Allen, a University of Wisconsin commit, was named The Associated Press player of the year for the WIAA's alternate fall football season this spring. 

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In addition, Sun Prairie’s Isaac Hamm and Waunakee teammates Jack Dotzler and Andrew Keller were unanimous selections on the 2021 AP alternate fall season All-State football team, chosen by a statewide panel of sportswriters and announced Thursday.

The three juniors were among 10 area players selected for the first team.

Area players named to the first team on offense were Waunakee offensive lineman Dotzler; Waunakee tight end Keller; Verona senior running back Jackson Acker, a UW commit; and Sun Prairie senior kicker Owen Konopacki, a U.S. Air Force Academy commit.

Area players selected to the first-team defense included Sun Prairie defensive lineman Hamm; Milton senior defensive lineman Luke Hessenauer, a Bemidji State (Minnesota) commit; Stoughton senior defensive end/outside linebacker Brooks Empey, a UW wrestling commit; Monona Grove junior defensive back Tyler Dahlhauser; DeForest junior defensive back Deven Magli; and DeForest junior punter Tyler Ebel.

Braelon Allen mug

Allen

Allen was a unanimous choice as player of the year. 

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Allen was a unanimous first-team pick as both a running back and a defensive back.

Others nominated for player of the year included the 6-5, 270-pound Hamm, Fond du Lac senior quarterback Kyle Walljasper and Greendale senior Zach Hamilton, chosen as a first-team offensive lineman and defensive lineman.

Fond du Lac coach Steven Jorgensen was named the coach of the year after his team finished 7-0 and was top-ranked among large-sized schools by the state coaches in this spring season, which was created by the WIAA for schools that didn’t play in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jorgensen was a unanimous selection.

Other coaches nominated included Waunakee’s Pat Rice, Bangor’s Rick Muellenberg, Racine Horlick’s Brian Fletcher and Greendale’s Rob Stoltz.

An AP All-State team (with a first team, second team and honorable mentions) was selected for the fall season. The spring All-State team, with fewer teams playing in the spring, included a first team and honorable mentions.

Honorable-mention selections from the area included Columbus senior linebacker/running back Caden Brunell, Monroe senior offensive lineman/linebacker Caleb Bunker, Stoughton senior inside linebacker Rudy Detweiler, DeForest senior running back Gabe Finley, Waunakee senior defensive lineman Daniel Ford, Sun Prairie senior linebacker Mekhi Gullens, Lodi junior running back/defensive end Lucas Heyroth, Waunakee junior quarterback Quentin Keene, Sun Prairie junior offensive lineman Evan Malcore and Sun Prairie senior defensive end Sammy Smith.

AP COACH AND PLAYER OF THE YEAR STORIES 

By Ricardo Arguello, USA TODAY NETWORK--Wisconsin

Braelon Allen’s ascension to one of the top players in the state of Wisconsin wasn’t by chance.

It took sweat equity. And lots of it.

The Fond du Lac standout defensive back and running back was named the spring season player of the year by the Associated Press by a panel of statewide media. Fond du Lac coach Steven Jorgensen also was named coach of the year after leading Fond du Lac to a dominating 7-0 finish.

Allen, who reclassified as a senior this season, is a University of Wisconsin recruit and already has a collegiate-type build, packing 240 pounds on to his 6-foot-2 frame.

That physique was honed with countless hours in the weight room.

“That’s really everything. It’s how you build your foundation,” Allen said. “You just get better in the weight room. I found my home there and just kind of stayed in there and put in the work. It definitely helps with confidence and just knowing that I’m not going to play against anybody stronger than me. It’s a huge advantage.”

That hard work paid off handsomely for Allen on the field.

He finished tied for the state lead in touchdowns (21) with teammate and first-team all-state quarterback Kyle Walljasper. He also was third in the state in rushing yards (1,047) and averaged 14.7 yards a carry.

At defensive back, he totaled 57 tackles with five tackles for loss.

But Allen said he also played other positions on offense and defense during his career.

“Since I started playing both ways, that’s really something I tried to do is to play anywhere I was needed,” Allen said. “Last year, I went from quarterback and corner to receiver and safety. Then this year to running back and safety/linebacker/hybrid. This year I wanted to do a lot on the defensive side of the ball and that’s definitely something I pride myself in, just trying to be available whenever.”

Other unanimous selections included Hamm, Dotzler, Keller, Kimberly running back Caleb Frazer and Menasha receiver Luke Maurer. 

Jorgensen unanimous pick as coach of the year

Fond du Lac’s Steven Jorgensen was elated to be named coach of the year but not because it was a personal honor.

He knows that the award is representative of his entire coaching staff and the team in general.

“That coach of the year award is a staff award,” he said. “I have one of the best staffs, if not the best staffs in the state. It’s a year-round thing here and I know how much time the staff puts in around me here and it’s just a testament to all the hard work that went into to this unprecedented year.

“It’s really rewarding to see how the season played out and to see the players on this team get this recognition.”

Jorgensen won the award out of a pool of nominees that included Racine Horlick’s Brian Fletcher, Bangor’s Rick Muellenberg, Waunakee’s Pat Rice and Greendale’s Rob Stoltz.

Jorgensen knew his team had a collection of top senior players heading into the season, especially on offense.

Led by Allen, Walljasper and a pair of first-team all-state offensive linemen (Levi Liedke, Brayden Boldt) the Cardinals averaged 58 points a game and compiled 2,825 yards rushing (403.6 per game average) and 47 touchdowns.

Their undefeated season was capped by a 71-47 victory over Division 1 powerhouse Kimberly in the season finale.

Fondy’s offense was prolific, scoring 10 touchdowns on 10 consecutive possessions against a defense considered to be one of the state’s best.

Jorgensen said his players responded to the challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I know how much hard work they put in when things got crazy in this world,” Jorgensen said. “They used football and their workouts as a sense of norm and they just kept pushing it until they had a chance to prove who they were and we were glad they were able to do that this spring.”

2021 ASSOCIATED PRESS

ALTERNATE FALL SEASON IN THE SPRING

ALL-STATE FOOTBALL TEAM

PLAYER OF THE YEAR – x-Braelon Allen, 6-2, 240, Sr., Fond du Lac

COACH OF THE YEAR – x – Steven Jorgensen, Fond du Lac

x - unanimous selection

OFFENSE FIRST TEAM

QB – Kyle Walljasper, 6-1, 225, Sr., Fond du Lac

RB – x-Braelon Allen, 6-2, 240, Sr., Fond du Lac

RB – x-Caleb Frazer, 6-1, 215, Sr., Kimberly

RB – Jackson Acker, 6-2, 220, Sr., Verona

OL – x-Jack Dotzler, 6-6, 250, Jr., Waunakee

OL – Brayden Boldt, 6-0, 262, Sr., Fond du Lac

OL – Zach Hamilton, 6-4, 272, Sr., Greendale

OL – Levi Liedke, 6-3, 245, Sr., Fond du Lac

OL – Billy Schrauth, 6-5, 285, Jr., St. Mary’s Springs Academy

WR/TE – x-Andrew Keller, 6-5, 210, Jr., Waunakee

WR/TE – x-Luke Maurer, 6-1, 175, Sr., Menasha

K – Owen Konopacki, 6-4, 200, Sr., Sun Prairie

ALL-PURPOSE – x-Avery Johnson, OL/DE, 6-3, 265, Sr., Lomira

ALL-PURPOSE – x-Ben Wellhoefer, QB/LB, 5-9, 190, Sr., Omro

DEFENSE FIRST TEAM

DL – x-Isaac Hamm, 6-5, 270, Jr., Sun Prairie

DL – Zach Hamilton, 6-4, 272, Sr., Greendale

DL – Luke Hessenauer, 6-3, 230, Sr., Milton

DE/OLB – Brooks Empey, 6-2, 220, Sr., Stoughton

DE/OLB – Jalonnie Williams, 6-5, 280, Sr., Greenfield

ILB – Kyle Dietzen, 6-0, 215, Sr., Omro

ILB – Blake Fletcher, 6-3, 225, Soph., Racine Horlick

ILB – Skyler Gill-Howard, 6-2 228, Sr., Greenfield

DB – x-Braelon Allen, 6-2, 240, Sr., Fond du Lac

DB – Tyler Dahlhauser, 5-10, 180, Jr., Monona Grove

DB – Deven Magli, 6-1, 190, Jr., DeForest

P– Tyler Ebel, 6-5, 230, Jr., P, DeForest

HONORABLE MENTION

Sam Barnett, Sr., ILB, Holmen; Carter Borchardt, Sr., OLB, Stevens Point; Alex Boyko, sr., WR/DB, Greenfield; Kobe Brown, Sr., RB, Racine Case; Caden Brunell, Sr., ILB/RB, Columbus; Will Brust, Sr., QB, Greendale; Caleb Bunker, Sr., OL/LB, Monroe; Austin Carrillo, Sr., OL, Racine Case; Trevor Daffinson, Sr., OL, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau; Rudy Detweiler, Sr., ILB, Stoughton;

Gabe Finley, Sr., RB, DeForest; Carter Fonger, Sr., ILB, Superior; Daniel Ford, Sr., DL, Waunakee; Dylan Foth, Sr., RB, Sheboygan South; Grant Gerber, Sr., DE, Eau Claire Memorial; Mekhi Gullens, Sr., ILB, Sun Prairie; Chase Hanselman, Sr., WR, Neenah; Ethan Hemmersbach, Sr., DL, Bangor; Mason Herlitzke, Jr., QB, La Crosse Central; Lucas Heyroth, Jr., RB/DE, Lodi;

Chris Izard, Sr., OLB, Brown Deer; Quentin Keene, JR., QB, Waunakee; Cole Kerchefski, Sr., RB, Stevens Point; Wes King, Jr., DE, Appleton North; Ben Knuth, Sr., OL/DL, Brodhead/Juda; Logan Kobus, Sr., OL, Pulaski; Beau Kopp, JR., QB/DE, Cuba City; Evan Malcore, Jr., OL, Sun Prairie; Cal Martine, Jr., RB, Appleton North; Ryan Molitor, Sr., TE/DL, Black Hawk/Warren, Ill.;

Jayden Montgomery, Jr., LB, Bay Port; Calvin Muraski, Sr., OL, Bay Port; Nate Lee, Sr., LB, Neenah; Owen Pawlikowski, Jr., WR, Kimberly; Max Pieterick, SR., DB, Oshkosh West; Karter Rashke, Sr., OL, Stevens Point; Ross Rivord, Jr., DE, Superior; Colin Schuster, jr., DB, Greendale; Jackson Servais, Sr., OL, La Crosse Central; Sammy Smith, Sr., DE, Sun Prairie; Cade Stachura, Sr., DB/WR, Omro;

Evan Taft, Sr., DE, Greendale; Elliott Turrentine, Sr., DB, Whitnall; Will Vaile, sr., TE/LB, Greendale; Luke Vance, Sr., RB, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau; Jesse Weber, Sr., DB/RB, Lomira; Ben Werner, Jr., OL/DL, Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg; Sam Wood, Sr., OL/DL, Fond du Lac.

-- The story was compiled by the AP, the State Journal's Jon Masson and Ricardo Arguello of USA TODAY NETWORK--Wisconsin 

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Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.

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