Hannack, staff chooses roster for WFCA All-Star Game
ELMWOOD - This Wednesday is Signing Day, the day that top high school football players will be signing National Letters of Intent to the colleges of their choice.
This July, many of these players from Wisconsin will take part in the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) All-Star Games. In fact, it will be a bumper crop of prep football players across the state who will sign tenders to play college football.
That fact alone made Jerry Hannack's job of choosing a roster for the Divisions 4-7 North squad all the more difficult.
"I feel very good about the team we've put together," Hannack said. "We have some very good players. But even still we'll be considered the underdogs to the South team because they are loaded with some of the best players in the state."
But the North team won't be any slouches. They'll be led by Edgar's Justin Sinz. He led the Wildcats' to a state championship as a quarterback but Hannack says he'll also see time at tight end, the position he'll play when he signs his NLOI to Purdue for full-ride scholarship.
Another D-I ballplayer on the North squad is Oconto's Ben Ruechel, a 6-2, 205-pound linebacker who will be a preferred walk-on player at Wisconsin.
Locally, the North's roster includes Plum City's Tim Wayne, who's slated to play outside linebacker on the North's defense and Prescott's Chris Krech, who was tabbed to play on the line on offense. He'll be one of the biggest players on the North squad at 6-4, 285 pounds. The biggest is Ashland's Aaron Esala at 6-5, 310 pounds.
After watching Chippewa Falls McDonell beat his team in the playoffs on their way to the Division 7 championship game, Hannack's squad has three McDonell players: quarterback Andy Davis, wide receiver Derek Watton and lineman Ben Rubenzer.
Other players of note include Glenwood City's Nick Schouten at defensive back, Elk Mound's Jake Puzio at wide receiver and his teammate Dakota Deleasky at defensive end, St. Croix Central's Luke Brown at defensive back, Clayton's Taylor Dayton at wide receiver.
Hannack's staff includes Elmwood assistant Dick Jones who will coach the secondary. Also on the staff is Elk Mound's Mark Traun as the defensive coordinator, Spooner's Josh Fizel as the coordinator for the offense, Maple Northwestern's Pete Lawton as the O-Line coach, Manitowoc Roncalli's Ray Baranczyk as the linebacker coach and Oconto Falls' Duane Rogatzki, who will coach the backs and receivers.
Hannack credits his staff for their input in putting together the North line-up. They met late last month to finalize the selections. Of the 46 nominations that were made, only three declined, two due to family considerations and one Dominic Hissa of Maple Northwestern, due to the fact he has a baseball scholarship to Notre Dame all set.
"We met recently here in Elmwood to pick the roster and I appreciate the input of the coaches, especially those from the east like Duane and Ray because they know the players out there much better."
The next step leading up to the WFCA All-Star Game, which is July 24 in Oshkosh, is to meet with all the players and set up schedules and fundraising for Children's Hospital's in Wisconsin.
Here's the full roster for the North Squad:
Offense: Justin Sinz, Edgar, quarterback; Tom Sawyer, Gibraltar; quarterback; Andy Davis, quarterback, Chippewa Falls McDonell; Dan Sailer, running back, Eau Claire Regis; Dan Pope, running back, Webster; Brad Jaeger, Marion-Tigerton, running back; Adam Esselman, Colby; Ryan Miesbauer, Maple Northwestern, running back; Taylor Dayton, Clayton, wide receiver; Derek Watton, Chippewa Falls McDonell, wide receiver; Cody Wilz, Weyauwega-Fremont, wide receiver; Zach Honadel, Altoona, wide receiver; Jake Puzio, Elk Mound, wide receiver; Kevin Derick, Maple Northwestern, halfback; Jayson Smolenski, Phillips, lineman; Aaron Esala, Ashland, lineman; Ben Rubenzer, Chippewa Falls, McDonell; James Beyerl, Colby, lineman; Joshua Reyners, Wrightstown, lineman; Phil Rutz, Amherst, lineman; Cole Peterson, Marathon, lineman; Cody Halpin, Loyal, lineman; Chris Krech, Prescott, lineman
Defense: Indy Spindler, Stratford, lineman; Matt Maenner, Eau Claire Regis, lineman; Josh Knorr, Shiocton, lineman; Doug Wagner, Edgar, end; Jake Wszelaki, Wausaukee, end; Andy Lichtfuss, Oshkosh Lourdes, end; Dakota Deleasky, Elk Mound, end; Andy Borchardt, Edgar, inside linebacker; Joe Schartz, Iola-Scandinavia, inside linebacker; Tyler Zimmerman, Bruce, inside linebacker; Kyle Stapleton, Omro, inside linebacker; Levi Felske, Flambeau; outside linebacker; Nathan Olson, Stevens Point Pacelli, inside linebacker; Brayden Wienke, Clear Lake, outside linebacker; Tim Wayne, Plum City, outside linebacker; Ben Ruechel, Oconto, outside linebacker; Nick Schouten, Glenwood City, defensive back; Ryan LaMarre, Suring, defensive back; Shann Hoenn, Gilman, defensive back; Luke Brown, St. Croix Central, defensive back; Jake Baumann, Iola-Scandinavia, defensive back; Alex Tassoul, Southern Door, defensive back.