Like grandfather, like grandson in football careers
When Elliott Jensen was named Ellsworth's Homecoming King in October, he became the second member of his family to earn such an honor.
His grandfather, Ellsworth native Dean Holden, was named Elmwood's King his senior year, 1956.
That's the first of surprisingly many similarities between the two.
During his high school football career, Jensen wore No. 66, which happened to be Holden's number also.
Jensen said he didn't realize that until after he picked it.
"My sophomore year, I wanted a number in the 50s, but they're all taken up by seniors," he explained. "I went with 66 in honor of former (Green Bay) Packer linebacker Ray Nitschke."
Holden meanwhile told his daughter and Jensen's mother, Luann, at Elliott's first game that the two had the same number.
They also played the same position on offense--left tackle. Meanwhile, on defense, while Dean was left defensive tackle, Elliott played left side linebacker. And to wrap up the similarity, both of them were alternate kickers.
"It'd been nice to be a skill player (his dad, Eric, was a wide receiver for Ellsworth during his high school career)," Elliott explained, "But when I was in seventh and eighth grade, I was forced to the role of lineman because we had no big guys."
Both of them saw the field during varsity games their sophomore years, with the last two years usually starting at their respective positions. As a result, both were All-Conference selections during their high school careers.
"He's much better at it than I was," said the modest grandfather.
A difference between the two careers was Dean's senior year saw the Raiders win their conference (back then, instead of 11 players on the field, they only played eight), while Ellsworth didn't. Of course, the Panthers made up for it with a great playoff run, winning two games on the road before losing to West Salem in the Division 4, Level 3 playoffs.
"I knew our team had the talent," Jensen said, discussing the 2006 run. "But, we had to play as a team."
Which he said was key especially after running back Lance Murphy was lost for the year due to an injury halfway through the season.
The two also played baseball, another one of their favorite sports, during their high school careers. Elliott still has one more year left as one of the top returnees from a team that advanced to the Sectional Final this past summer. (Starting this year, Ellsworth will play spring baseball.)
After high school graduation, Dean settled in Ellsworth and has been in the real estate business since 1971. As for Elliott, he's unsure of school and whether or not to play sports on the collegiate level.