Portage’s Delnato Sheppard Jr. ran wild on the Badger North Conference this season.
Despite playing on a team that won just two games all season, and just one conference game, the senior running back led the Badger North in rushing with 1,195 yards and five touchdowns on 204 carries, good for 5.86 yards per carry.
Those impressive statistics were more than good enough to make Sheppard an unanimous pick to the All-Badger North Conference first team when the conference released it postseason awards list recently.
Sheppard becomes the first Portage player to earn first team honors in the Badger North Conference since wide receiver Nolan Paul in 2016, and just the seventh Portage player to earn first team all-league recognition in the last 15 seasons, joining Paul, Jake Holstein in 2007 and 2008, Ben Hartman in 2007, Dan Swanson in 2007 and Louis Hurd in 2006.
Sheppard twice ran for over 200 yards this season, including a monster performance when he rushed for 294 yards and three scores on 41 carries in a 27-14 win over Beaver Dam.
Sheppard was one of three running backs to land on the first team. Joining him with that honor was DeForest junior Gabe Finley and Reedsburg senior Casey Campbell. Finley finished the regular season with 834 rushing yards and eight scores on the ground. Campbell had 830 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground in the regular season.
Sheppard wasn’t the only offensive player to earn all-conference recognition this season for Portage, as senior Ryan Schultz was named a second team wide receiver. Schultz finished the season with 32 receptions for 363 yards and two touchdowns.
The Warriors also had a pair of defensive players recognized, as senior linebackers Colton Brandsma and Matthew Miles both receive honorable mention. Brandsma finished with 60 tackles and one interception. He also forced a pair of fumbles. Miles, who also received honorable mention last season as a junior, finished the season with 30 tackles. He also had one interception, which he returned 28 yards for a touchdown to cap the scoring in Portage’s 32-0 win over Fort Atkinson.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Lane Larson, Sr, DeForest.
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OFFENSIVE LINEMEN OF THE YEAR – Colby Hartig, Sr, DeForest.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE: Quarterback – *Trey Schroeder, Sr, DeForest. Running backs – *Gabe Finley, Jr, DeForest; *Delnato Sheppard Jr., Sr, Portage; Casey Campbell, Sr, Reedsburg. Tight end – Hayden Rauls, Jr, DeForest. Receivers – Broden Boschert, Sr, Beaver Dam; *Lane Larson, Sr, DeForest; *Isaac Schaaf, Jr, Waunakee. Offensive tackles – *Adam White, Sr, DeForest; Thomas Meffert, Jr, Waunakee. Offensive guards – *Colby Hartig, Sr, DeForest; Forrest Anderson, Sr, Waunakee. Center – Ethan Ziebell, Jr, Reedsburg. Place kicker – Aidan Driscoll, So, Waunakee.
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE: Quarterback – Caden Nelson, Jr, Waunakee. Running backs – Alex Endres, Sr, DeForest; Mason Kirchberg, Jr, DeForest; Garrett Hertzfeldt, Sr, Sauk Prairie. Tight end – Zach Schoenberger, Sr, Beaver Dam. Receivers – Ryan Schulz, Sr, Portage; Ben German, Sr, Sauk Prairie; Jordan Wuensch, Sr, Waunakee. Offensive tackles – Jack Thennes, Sr, DeForest; Liam Greenwood, Jr, Reedsburg. Offensive guards – Braydon Harmon, Jr, DeForest; Jonathan Schmitt, Sr, Reedsburg. Center – Marcus Hankins, Sr, Sauk Prairie. Place kicker – Graham Langkamp, Sr, Baraboo.
HONORABLE MENTION OFFENSE: Baraboo – George Fitzwilliams, Sr; Luna Larson, So. Beaver Dam – Nick Ludowese, So; Carter Riesen, Jr. DeForest – Logan Bierman, Sr; Bennet Girten, Jr; Jagger Lokken, Jr. Mount Horeb/Barneveld – Dylan Oimeon, Jr. Reedsburg – Max Tully, Sr; Danny Kast, Sr; Joel Douglas, Sr; Ryan Phelps, Sr; Ethan Lee, Sr. Sauk Prariie – Tyler Uselman, Jr. Waunakee – Randy Vojitisek, Jr; Andrew Keller, So; Jordan Burrell, Sr; Ben Benusa, Sr; Wyatt Ziegler, Sr; Cole Mobley, Sr.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Jeb Frey, Sr, Waunakee.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE YEAR – Johnathan Schmitt, Sr, Reedsburg.
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE: Down linemen – Edwyn Erickson, Sr, DeForest; *Johnathan Schmitt, Sr, Reedsburg; Sam Myers, Sr, Waunakee. Edge player – *Cole Yocum, Sr, DeForest; *Will Bolden, Sr, Waunakee. Linebacker – Jett Riese, Sr, DeForest; Alex Endres, Sr, DeForest; Robert Losic, Sr, Reedsburg; *Jeb Frey, Sr, Waunakee. Defensive backs – Marlon Cystrunk, Sr, DeForest; Devin Magli, So, DeForest; Carson Beyer, Sr, Reedsburg; *Joe Hauser, Sr, Waunakee. Punter – *Cris Pertusatti, Sr, Mount Horeb/Barneveld.
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE: Down linemen – Alonzo Blevins, Sr, DeForest; Carter Daniels, Sr, Reedsburg; Marcus Hankins, Sr, Sauk Prairie. Edge players – Trey Warne, Sr, DeForest; Parker Breunig, Sr, Sauk Prairie. Linebackers – Raudell Guerrero, Sr, DeForest; Garrett Hertzfeldt, Sr, Sauk Prairie; Brooks Leister, Sr, Sauk Prairie; Conner Loy, Sr, Waunakee. Defensive backs – Adam Szpieniec, Sr, DeForest; Trace Grundahl, Jr, DeForest; Ben German, Sr, Sauk Prairie; Jacob May, Sr, Waunakee. Punter – Jeb Frey, Sr, Waunakee.
HONORABLE MENTION DEFENSE: Baraboo – Joe White Eagle, Sr; Owen Nachtigal, Jr; Nate McCauley, Sr. Beaver Dam – Andrew Rosado, Sr; Ian Wendt-Utrie, Sr. DeForest – Cody Kuchar, Sr. Mount Horeb/Barneveld – Josh Radke, Sr; Nick Flaherty, Sr. Portage – Colton Brandsma, Sr; Matthew Miles, Sr. Reedsburg – David Finkel, Jr; Austin Peters, Sr; Max Tully, Sr; Danny Kast, Sr; Dominic DeJesus, Sr; Casey Campbell, Sr. Sauk Prairie – Dayton Goette, Sr; Jay Liedtke, Sr; Brooks Leister, Sr. Waunakee – Max Raemisch, Jr; Gage Hughes, Sr; Dan Ford, Jr; Lawson Ludwig, Sr; David Kienow, Sr.