The 2020 prep football season was anything but ordinary across the state, from the late start to the year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, to the weekly canceled games and rescheduled games because of the pandemic, to the revamped postseason that wasn’t much of a postseason at all and everything in-between.
One thing that wasn’t impacted, at least not dramatically, was the Eastern Suburban Conference’s debut league season. Seven of the eight teams all participated this fall, with only Clinton punting to the WIAA’s alternate fall season next spring. And of those seven, only one — Dodgeland — played less than five conference games.
As a result, the Eastern Suburban was able to name a champion — Marshall, which posted a perfect 5-0 record — and select a postseason awards list.
Not surprisingly, the champion Cardinals dominated the awards. Marshall was honored with the Coach of the Year (Matt Kleinheinz), Assistant Coach of the Year (Joe Schneider), Offensive Player of the Year (Bryce Frank) and Defensive Player and Lineman of the Year (Kelby Peterson).
From the area, Markesan, which finished fourth in the conference at 2-3 and very nearly beat Marshall only to suffer a 12-8 loss on Oct. 16, had seven players honored across eight positions while Dodgeland had five players recognized across seven positions.
Leading the way among the dozen was Hornets senior Blaze Grams, a unanimous first team choice at outside linebacker. The 5-foot-9, 145-pounder led Markesan in solo tackles (31), tackles for loss (8) and forced fumbles (2) and also had a sack and a fumble recovery.
Also a first-teamer on defense for the Hornets was senior defensive back James Triggs, who tied for seventh on the team in tackles (19) and had a TFL.
On offense, Hornets junior Caleb Jahnke was picked to the flex position on the first team after rushing for 391 yards and four touchdowns, while junior Devin Brooks was a first team offensive linemen after helping Markesan averaging 137.0 rushing yards per game.
Markesan sophomore quarterback Ryan Mast was honored on the second team after posing a dual-threat to opponents this fall, passing for three TDs and rushing for four more to go along with a team-high 414 rushing yards on 6.6 yards per carry.
Defensively, the Hornets landed defensive end Brock Straks and Jahnke at the flex spot on the second team while defensive back Caleb Stoll received honorable mention.
Like Triggs, Straks had 19 tackes as well as a ½ sack and a TFL. Jahnke had 24 tackles, a ½ sack, a fumble recovery, an interception and a TFL, while Stoll had 24 solo tackles and 37 in all, as well as a fumble recovery.
Dodgeland, which was winless in its three conference games after having to start later than the rest of the league due to a Dodge County Health Department recommendation regarding COVID-19 and the occurrence of extra-curricular activities — and then also had a couple games canceled because of COVID-19 — didn’t have any first-teamers. The Trojands did have a trio garner second-team honors however, in offensive and defensive lineman John Appenfeldt, kicker Andrew Benzing and defensive back Caden Brugger.
Appenfeldt was the anchor in the trenches for the offensive unit and was third on the team in tackles with 23, while Benzing made both of his extra point attempts and was an asset in the field position game with his leg off the tee.
Brugger had 15 tackles.
Honorable mention choices for the Trojans were outside linebacker Jace Christopherson and defensive lineman Louie White, as well as Benzing at punter.
Benzing punted 26 times for an average of 31.1 yards per punt, with no touchbacks and two inside the 20-yard-line. Christopherson, meantime, led the team in tackles with 25 while White had a dozen takedowns.
All of Dodgeland’s honorees were juniors with the exception of Benzing, who is a senior.
Stats are all according to WisSporst.net.
ALL-EASTERN SUBURBAN CONFERENCE
Coach of the Year — Matt Kleinheinz, Marshall.
Assistant Coach of the Year — Joe Schneider, Marshall.
Player of the Year — Bryce Frank, jr., Marshall.
Lineman of the Year — Ryan Lund, sr., Cambridge.
Athlete of the Year — Ezra Stein, sr., Cambridge.
Quarterback — *Ezra Stein, 6-foot, 200 pounds, sr., Cambridge.
Running backs — Bryce Frank, 5-10, 180, jr., Marshall; Eugene Wolff, 6-0, 185, jr. Waterloo.
Wide receivers — *Cole Denniston, 5-11, 160, jr., Marshall; Canon Siedschlag, 6-2, 175, jr., Marshall.
Tight end — Aiden Calderon, 6-4, 240, sr., Palmyra-Eagle.
Offensive flex — Caleb Jahnke, 5-10, 170, jr., Markesan.
Offensive linemen — Ryan Lund, 6-4, 300, sr., Cambridge; Kelby Petersen, 6-4, 245, sr., Marshall; Maximo Besl, 6-3, 235, jr., Waterloo; Casey Webber, 6-0, 215, sr., Palmyra-Eagle; Devin Brooks, 5-11, 160, jr., Markesan.
Kicker — *Ezra Stein, 6-0, 200, sr., Cambridge.
* — denote unanimous selection.
Quarterback — Craig Ward, 6-2, 170, jr., Marshall.
Running backs — Trey Colts, 5-8, 150, jr., Cambridge; Levi Musselman, 5-9, 145, sr., Palmyra-Eagle.
Tight end — Eli Stein, 6-3, 190, jr., Cambridge.
Offensive flex — Ty Westbury, 5-9, 155, sr., Pardeeville.
Offensive linemen — Ben Palen, 6-0, 215, jr., Pardeeville; John Appenfeldt, 6-4, 260, jr., Dodgeland; Tucker Tesdal, 6-0, 200, jr., Cambridge; Reynol Limon, 5-10, 195, sr., Waterloo.
Kicker — Andrew Benzing, 6-4, 165, sr., Dodgeland.
Quarterbacks — Peter Freye, 5-10, 175, sr., Pardeeville; Blake Huebner, 6-1, 165, sr., Waterloo; Ryan Mast, 5-7, 155, soph., Markesan.
Running back — Devin Seth, 5-11, 175, jr., Pardeeville.
Kicker — Bryce Frank, 5-10, 180, jr.
Player of the Year — Kelby Peterson, sr., Marshall.
Lineman of the Year — Kelby Peterson, sr., Marshall.
Defensive backs — *Cole Denniston, 5-11, 160, jr., Marshall; James Triggs, 5-10, 170, sr., Markesan; Craig Ward, 6-2, 170, jr., Marshall.
Inside linebackers — *Ezra Stein, 6-0, 200, sr., Cambridge; Erik Ayala, 6-0, 195, soph., Marshall.
Outside linebackers — *Blaze Grams, 5-9, 145, sr., Markesan; Eugene Wolff, 6-0, 185, jr., Waterloo.
Defensive linemen — *Kelby Peterson, 6-4, 245, sr., Marshall; Ryan Lund, 6-4, 300, sr., Cambridge.
Defensive ends — *Aiden Calderon, 6-4, 240, sr., Palmyra-Eagle; Luke Fiedorowicz, 6-1, 195, jr., Waterloo.
Defensive flex — Ryan Carpenter, 6-3, 200, sr., Palmyra-Eagle.
Return specialist — *Bryce Frank, 5-10, 180, jr., Marshall.
Punter — Aiden Calderon, 6-4, 240, sr., Palmyra-Eagle.
* — denote unanimous selection.
Defensive backs — Tyler Schommer, 6-0, 165, sr., Pardeeville; Canon Siedschlag, 6-2, 175, jr., Marshall; Caden Brugger, 5-10, 145, jr., Dodgeland.
Inside linebackers — Trey Colts, 5-8, 150, jr., Cambridge; Jordi Aguero, 5-6, 170, sr., Waterloo.
Outside linebackers — Bryce Frank, 5-10, 180, jr., Marshall; Eli Stein, 6-3, 190, jr., Cambridge; Tony Jrolf, 6-0, 200, sr., Palmyra-Eagle.
Defensive linemen — Casey Webber, 6-0, 215, sr., Palmyra-Eagle; Davonte Holmes, 6-0, 220, sr., Marshall.
Defensive ends — Brock Straks, 6-0, 160, jr., Markesan; John Appenfeldt, 6-4, 260, jr., Dodgeland.
Defensive flex — Caleb Jahnke, 5-10, 170, jr., Markesan.
Return specialist — Eli Stein, 6-3, 190, jr., Cambridge.
Punter — Eugene Wolff, 6-0, 185, jr., Waterloo.
Defensive backs — Jackson Christenson, 5-10, 155, sr., Waterloo; Caleb Stoll, 5-10, 155, soph., Markesan.
Inside linebackers — Hayden Guenther, 6-2, 200, jr., Pardeeville; Jacob Moody, 5-9, 170, sr., Cambridge.
Outside linebacker — Jace Christopherson, 5-5, 150, jr., Dodgeland.
Defensive linemen — Maximos Besl, 6-3, 235, jr., Waterloo; Jonny Deuster, 6-0, 240, sr., Palmyra-Eagle; Louie White, 5-11, 225, jr., Dodgeland.
Return specialist — Eric Brahm, 6-5, 190, sr., Palmyra-Eagle.
Punters — Hayden Guenther, 6-2, 200, jr., Pardeeville; Andrew Benzing, 6-4, 165, sr., Dodgeland; Bryce Frank, 5-10, 180, jr., Marshall.
Follow Dan on Twitter @Danny_Larson_8 or contact him at 920-356-6753.
Get in the game with our Prep Sports Newsletter
Sent weekly directly to your inbox!