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Badgers' preferred walk-on commit Jackson Trudgeon does it all for Edgewood
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PREP FOOTBALL | MADISON EDGEWOOD 35, JEFFERSON 7

Badgers' preferred walk-on commit Jackson Trudgeon does it all for Edgewood

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In terms of versatility, senior Jackson Trudgeon defines the word for the undefeated Madison Edgewood football team.

In host Edgewood’s 35-7 Rock Valley Conference victory over Jefferson on Saturday, the 6-foot-1, 184-pound Trudgeon was a difference-maker while lining up as a running back, receiver, safety, punt returner and kick returner.

It is clearly a role Trudgeon embraces.

“I love it,” he said. “I just want to make as many plays as I can and help the team win as much as I can. I love being on the field every play and doing all I can to help this team.”

Trudgeon, who has committed to the University of Wisconsin football team as a preferred walk-on, caught two touchdown passes, intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble.

On offense, he topped the Crusaders (5-0, 3-0 Rock Valley) with five catches for 147 yards. On defense, his nine total tackles led the way.

Oh, he’s also on this weekend’s Homecoming Court.

“He means everything (to the team),” Edgewood coach Jesse Norris said about Trudgeon. “He’s a Grade-A leader. His character is phenomenal. He’s a tremendous locker room kid. Guys rally around him. When we need a play, he’s the one who makes it.”

Trudgeon, running a wheel route out of the backfield on Edgewood’s first series, caught a 51-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Joe Hartlieb — Trudgeon’s friend since kindergarten — with 6 minutes, 11 seconds left in the first quarter.

Trudgeon’s 28-yard touchdown fourth-quarter reception from junior quarterback Mason Folkers closed the game’s scoring against Jefferson (2-2, 1-2).

“We are taking it one week at a time,” said Trudgeon, usually on the field except for extra-point attempts and punt coverage. “Coach always says ‘1-0’ at the end of the week, so we are trying to not look too far into the future. We really have bonded together. We have good chemistry on both sides of the ball.

“I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. My sophomore year, I think we were 1-8. Here we are 5-0 now. So, it’s definitely better on the other side of it. It’s good.”

Trudgeon, recruited as a safety, made his UW oral commitment in June.

“My recruiting was really just getting started when I got that offer, so I thought, ‘Why wait?’’’ Trudgeon said. “(I like) the community that UW brings. The campus is beautiful. I’ve lived here my whole life. I love the city. So, I wanted to stay here.”

The Crusaders only had 16 minutes, 36 seconds of offensive possession, but they optimized their opportunities, particularly through the air.

Edgewood — ranked 10th in the Medium Division of The Associated Press poll and fourth in Division 4 in the state coaches’ WisSports.net poll — gained 278 yards passing on 12 completions.

Starter Hartlieb — whose fall, 2020 season was cut short by a collarbone injury — was 8-for-14 for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Folkers completed all four of his passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for another score.

Folkers fired a 17-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Cam Fane with 3:36 left in the second quarter and Hartlieb connected with junior tight end Mark Haering on a 28-yard touchdown pass 1:05 before halftime.

Haering’s score increased the Crusaders’ lead to 21-0, and was set up by Edgewood senior defensive lineman Martius Bautista’s fumble recovery at the Eagles’ 43-yard line.

“Joe (Hartlieb) really stepped up this week,” Norris said. “I thought he did a phenomenal job. He’s really improving each week. Obviously, any time Cam touches the ball, it can go the distance. From an offensive standpoint, if you are scheming against our style of offense, they have to scheme against a spread and they have to scheme against a Q-run.“

Trudgeon closed the half with an interception near the goal line, a pick he returned 47 yards.

Folkers’ 4-yard touchdown run boosted the Crusaders’ lead to 28-0 with 9:30 left in the third quarter.

The Eagles, operating from the Wing-T formation, gained 247 yards rushing on 47 carries, but didn’t score against the Crusaders’ defense until the fourth quarter.

Jefferson was led by senior Nate McKenzie, who had 119 yards rushing on 15 attempts and also caught two passes for 19 yards.

McKenzie scored on a 6-yard run with 8:28 remaining to play.

Norris said the Crusaders changed their defense for the game, loading the box against Jefferson’s running attack.

“We knew coming in that this would be a very physical game for us — a statement game for us,” Norris said, mentioning the defensive play of seniors Chase Koch (five tackles, including two tackles for loss), Carson Hughes (four tackles), Andrew Budzinski (three tackles) and freshman nose tackle Jackson Kitzmiller.

Jefferson had an interception and lost three fumbles.

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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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