There are multiple similarities between quarterbacks Luke Figol of Fall River and Carson Clark of Markesan.

They’re play in the Trailways conferences — Fall River in the Trailways Small and Markesan in the Trailways Large — and they both were named offensive Players of the Year in their respective conferences.

And both have their teams one win away from a trip to Camp Randall Stadium for the state finals.

Fall River plays Black Hawk in Middleton in a WIAA Division 7 semifinal at 7 p.m. Friday, while Markesan will be kicking off at the same time against Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs in Slinger in a WIAA Division 6 semifinal. Figol and Clark have each directed their teams to 11-1 records in a campaign that began with both participating in a multi-team preseason scrimmage at Fall River.

“You come to our scrimmage, you win Player of the Year,” Fall River head coach Joe Zander said with a chuckle.

At the time, the Pirates and Hornets could see that each other had good teams. But it was still early and both had a long way to go. Markesan lost its first game to Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs and Fall River lost its second game of the season to Wild Rose.

That’s one similarity between the teams — who both are still alive in the WIAA state semifinals — but there are three similarities the two quarterbacks share as well.

Figol, a junior, took over the starting job midway through his freshman season. Clark also took the reins as a freshman and is wrapping up his fourth season as a starter.

“It’s helped a lot actually,” Figol said of having a year and a half of starting experience coming into the season. “It helped me control my nervousness.”

With that kind of experience, Clark says, comes an ability to help their teammates.

“It’s huge because at practices — we’ve been there for a couple of years; we know what’s expected,” Clark said. “We can help the guys who are new into the program. I know even last year I was pretty experienced with it being my third year, but this year I feel like being in my fourth year, it’s really helped teaching some of the new guys.

“It’s huge having experience because you can give all the knowledge you know to everybody else.”

That experience is equally valuable on Friday nights.

“That helps win a lot of football games when you’ve got a kid like that running your show,” Markesan head coach Travis Winkers said.

Both players are multi-dimensional, threats to throw and run.

Figol completed 48 of 97 passes for 792 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Clark was 100-of-185 for 2,167 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Clark did have more passing opportunities than Figol, but that’s because the veer offense that Fall River runs is more run-oriented for the quarterback while Markesan’s pistol-option offense is more balanced between run and pass.

Another strength both share? They protect the ball, as Clark has just nine interceptions to Figol’s five.

“I don’t like that or sacks,” Figol said of turnovers.

Neither does Clark.

“I think it helps having those guys around me — Austin (Triggs), Drew (Bernhagen) and Zac (Triggs),” Clark said. “They make me look a lot better than I probably actually am. I think a lot of it is on them for helping me get this too.”

Maybe that’s true, but with the style of offense both teams run, one thing is certain: They both keep opposing defenses guessing as to whether they’re going to run or pass.

“You have to be smart if you’re going to be an option quarterback,” Winkers said. “You need to be smart and be able to run the ball. That would make sense with those two. They’re both really, really good players.”

It shows up in their play as Figol ran for 565 yards on 103 attempts with 13 rushing touchdowns, while Clark led the Hornets in rushing with 922 yards and seven touchdowns on 129 carries.

“With Luke, I think everyone saw how he ran the offense — how smooth he was and how he was cool and collected,” Zander said. “I think they knew he separated himself by being comfortable in our offense and he could take the reins.”

Winkers added of Clark that the other coaches in the Trailways Large “will be very happy that he’s graduating. Some of those new guys, that’s all they’ve seen is Carson at quarterback. He’s a phenomenal kid.”



PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Carson Clark, Sr., Markesan. LINEMAN OF THE YEAR — Tanner Weber, Sr., Markesan.

FIRST TEAM: Quarterback — Carson Clark, Sr., Markesan. Running backs — Peter Paddock, Jr., Markesan. Nate Oestreich, Soph., Dodgeland. Chase Balzer, Sr., Pardeeville. CJ Brooks, Jr., Horicon/Hustisford. Wide receivers — Drew Bernhagen, Sr., Markesan. Austin Triggs, Sr., Markesan. Nicholas Cerro, Sr., Pardeeville. Tight end — Zach Yuenger, Jr., Dodgeland. Offensive linemen — Tanner Weber, Sr., Markesan. Dalton Pergande, Sr., Dodgeland. Nathan Read, Sr., Pardeeville. Logan Tippin, Sr., Horicon/Hustisford. Bryan Murphy, Sr., Montello/Princeton/Green Lake. Kicker — Cade Fleischmann, Soph., Palmyra-Eagle. Special teams — CJ Brooks, Jr., Horicon/Hustisford.

SECOND TEAM: Quarterbacks — Cody Nehls, Sr., Dodgeland. Hunter Nehls, Sr., Horicon/Hustisford. Buxton Toutant, Soph., Montello/Princeton/Green Lake. Running back — Abe Postler, Soph., Montello/Princeton/Green Lake. Wide receiver — Morgan Carpenter, Jr., Palmyra-Eagle. Tight end — Zac Triggs, Markesan. Offensive linemen — Bryce Friday, soph., Markesan. Lucas Gonzalez, Sr., Markesan. Ethan Budnik, Jr., Horicon/Hustisford. Jacobey Koutsky, Jr., Palmyra-Eagle. Kyle Reuter, Sr., Montello/Princeton/Green Lake. Kickers — Zach Schmitt, Sr., Dodgeland. Nick Bloedel, Sr., Horicon/Hustisford. Special teams — B.J. Konkel, Soph., Montello/Princeton/Green Lake.


PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Ty Plagenz, Sr., Markesan. LINEMAN OF THE YEAR — Duncan Fleiner, Sr., Pardeeville.

FIRST TEAM: Defensive backs — Drew Bernhagen, Sr., Markesan. Austin Triggs, Sr., Markesan. Matt Moynihan, Sr., Dodgeland. Inside linebackers — JJ Bartaszewicz, Soph., Markesan. Mitch Kurtz, Jr., Horicon/Hustisford. Connor Sullivan, Sr., Palmyra-Eagle. Mica Williams, Jr., Montello/Princeton/Green Lake. Outside linebackers — Ty Plagenz, Sr., Markesan. Tyler Kowald, Jr., Pardeeville. Defensive tackles — Andrew Soda, Sr., Markesan. Joey Paddock, Jr., Markesan. Nate Sullivan, Sr., Palmyra-Eagle. Defensive ends — Ryan Neu, Jr., Dodgeland. Duncan Fleiner, Sr., Pardeeville. Punter — Jacob Schommer, Sr., Pardeeville.

SECOND TEAM: Defensive backs — Waylon Bouchard, Sr., Pardeeville. Alex Postler, Sr., Montello/Princeton/Green Lake. Ryan Miller, Sr., Parkview. Riley Carroll, Sr., Parkview. Inside linebackers — Dakota Grueneberg, Jr., Dodgeland. Chase Balzer, Sr., Pardeeville. Outside linebackers — Zac Triggs, Jr., Markesan. Dan Moynihan, Sr., Dodgeland. Zach Kehl, Soph., Horicon/Hustisford. Cade Fleischmann, Soph., Palmyra-Eagle. B.J. Konkel, Soph., Montello/Princeton/Green Lake. Nathan Mohr, Sr., Parkview. Defensive tackles — None. Defensive ends — Jordan Marsh, Sr., Dodgeland. Collin Grudzinski, Sr., Horicon/Hustisford. Lonnie Garlock, Sr., Palmyra-Eagle. Gavon Brown, Sr., Parkview. Punters — Nate Oestreich, Soph., Dodgeland. Casde Fleischmann, Soph., Palmyra-Eagle.



PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Luke Figol, Jr., Fall River. LINEMAN OF THE YEAR – Keegan Wodill, Jr., Fall River.

FIRST TEAM: Quarterback – Luke Figol, Jr., Fall River. Running backs – Davyn Braker, Jr., Fall River. Brent Berger, Sr., Johnson Creek. Noah Gjermo, Sr., Deerfield. Wide receivers – Doug Ryan, Sr., Oshkosh Lourdes. Hayden Pratt, Sr., Deerfield. Sawyer Westra, Jr., Randolph. Tight end – Parker Morton, Sr., Fall River. Offensive linemen – Keegan Wodill, Jr., Fall River. Chandler Firary, Sr., Fall River. Christian Binning, Sr., Oshkosh Lourdes. Seth Roberts, Sr., Johnson Creek. Nick Vander Grinten, Sr., Deerfield. Kicker – Tyler Johnson, Soph., Oshkosh Lourdes. Special teams – Doug Ryan, Sr., Oshkosh Lourdes.

SECOND TEAM: Quarterbacks – Trevor Bengson, Jr., Oshkosh Lourdes. Tyler Haak, Soph., Deerfield. Austin Syvertson, Sr., Randolph. Running backs – Andrew DeBoer, Jr., Cambria-Friesland. Nick Larson, Soph., Rio. Teagan Prochnow, Soph., Rio. Wide receiver – Caden Chier, Soph., Oshkosh Lourdes. Tight end – Tyler Zaffke, Sr., Oshkosh Lourdes. Offensive linemen – Devin Talg, Sr., Fall River. Jack Dolan, Jr., Oshkosh Lourdes. Keagan Stelzer, Soph., Oshkosh Lourdes. Alex Garza, Soph., Johnson Creek. Aidan Knudson, Soph., Cambria-Friesland. Taylor Moore, Sr., Randolph. Kicker – Seth Schmucki, Soph., Randolph. Special teams – Damen Salzman, Sr., Fall River. Justin Swanson, Soph., Johnson Creek. Jake Raymond, Sr., Cambria-Friesland. Sawyer Westra, Jr., Randolph.


CO-PLAYERS OF THE YEAR – Seth Roberts, Sr., Johnson Creek, and Nick Vander Grinten, Sr., Deerfield. LINEMAN OF THE YEAR – Seth Roberts, Sr., Johnson Creek.

FIRST TEAM: Defensive backs – Parker Morton, Sr., Fall River. Robert Chartier, Sr., Oshkosh Lourdes. Hayden Pratt, Sr., Deerfield. Inside linebackers – Sam Nelson, Jr., Fall River. Colyar Newton, Sr., Oshkosh Lourdes. Ryan Larson, Sr., Johnson Creek. Outside linebackers – Luke Figol, Jr., Fall River. Noah Gjermo, Sr., Deerfield. Defensive tackles – Keegan Wodill, Jr., Fall River. Seth Roberts, Sr., Johnson Creek. Nick Vander Grinten, Sr., Deerfield. Defensive ends – Davyn Braker, Jr., Fall River. Lucas Sullivan, Soph., Johnson Creek. Punters – Gavin Meyers, Soph., Oshkosh Lourdes. Lucas Sullivan, Jr., Johnson Creek.

SECOND TEAM: Defensive backs – Justin Swanson, Soph., Johnson Creek. Jake Raymond, Sr., Cambria-Friesland. Inside linebackers – Brent Berger, Sr. Johnson Creek. Logan Gesteland, Jr., Deerfield. Nick Larson, Soph., Rio. Cobey Alderden, Jr., Randolph. Ethan Krein, Sr., Wayland. Outside linebackers – Drew Kennebeck, Sr., Oshkosh Lourdes. Anthony Purpi, Jr., Johnson Creek. Joseph Pulver, Soph., Cambria-Friesland. Defensive tackles – Chandler Firary, Sr., Fall River. Carter Wesenberg, Jr., Oshkosh Lourdes. Joey Szytz, Soph., Cambria-Friesland. Defensive ends – Reid Spanbauer, Soph., Oshkosh Lourdes. Kain Shanks, Jr., Deerfield. Dillon Scott, Sr., Rio. Punter – Davyn Braker, Jr., Fall River.

Follow Mark on Twitter @mmcmull2.

Mark McMullen is currently a sports reporter for the Daily Citizen. He can be reached by email at or by phone at 920-356-6754. Can also follow him on Twitter at @mmcmull2.