Thursday State Sports Briefs: WIAA State Football FinalsWisconsin Sports
-- At least five new champions will be crowned at the state high school football finals that began this morning in Madison.
MADISON - At least five new champions will be crowned at the state high school football finals that began this morning in Madison.
The only two returning champs are Waunakee in Division 2, and Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs in Division 6. Title games will be played today in the fourth smallest divisions. The three top groupings will have their finals tomorrow. The action began this morning at Camp Randall Stadium with the Division 7 final between undefeated Potosi and Glenwood City. The Division-Six contest is next – a battle of the unbeatens between Fond du Lac Springs and Eau Claire Regis, both at 12-0. The same scenario applies in the Division-Five final – where unbeatens Amherst and Lancaster will square off late this afternoon. The day wraps up with the Division-Four final this evening between undefeated Walworth Big Foot and Somerset.
Rookie Dezman Moses is expected to start on Sunday in place of Clay Matthews. The Packers’ All-Pro outside linebacker has been ruled out of Green Bay’s NFC North contest at Detroit. Matthews injured a hamstring 11 days ago against Arizona – and coach Mike McCarthy is not sure if he’ll be available next week, either. That leaves Moses, Frank Zombo, and the re-acquired Vic So’oto to fill in. Moses says he’s ready – and he’s been coached all year as if he’s been a starter the whole time. Moses says it’s part of the Packers “next man up” philosophy – in which the backups are expected to be ready if the starters go down. Actually, Moses has been quite active on the field. He has taken almost one-of-every-five defensive snaps in Green Bay’s first nine games. Moses has one sack – and on special teams, he recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown. Zombo is expected to relieve both Moses and the other outside linebacker, Erik Walden. Zombo has fresh legs, after missing almost three months with a bad hamstring.
“Dome Sweet Dome” is not the dreaded place that it used to be for the Green Bay Packers. When Mike Holmgren coached the team, the Packers went just 1-6 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. And they were 10-13 in games played under roofs on the road from 1992-through-’98. But under Mike McCarthy, the Packers have almost totally turned that mark around. In McCarthy’s six-and-a-half seasons in Green Bay, his Packers are 17-7 in domes, with a winning percentage that’s almost identical to what they have at home. McCarthy’s Packers are 5-1 at Ford Field, where they’ll play on Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Receiver Greg Jennings says he likes playing indoors, because he doesn’t have to worry about the elements – and he can focus on nothing else but catching the ball and getting past the defense. Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a passer rating of 103-or-higher in all but three of the 19 games he has played in domes. He has 47 touchdown passes and only seven interceptions when playing under roofs.
Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers says the team will probably bring in somebody to prop up their injury-battered offensive line. And on his weekly Milwaukee radio show, Rodgers said he would not mind seeing Chad Clifton come out of retirement. Clifton played 12 seasons in Green Bay – but the Packers did not bring him back after he suffered a pair of devastating injuries last season. Rodgers said if the front office has any interest in Clifton, then it’s worth looking into. The quarterback also said that Evan Dietrich-Smith will most likely be the center of the future, after Jeff Saturday calls it a career. Rodgers said he has a lot of confidence in Dietrich-Smith, and he expects him to be around Green Bay for a long time. Dietrich-Smith is playing the left guard in place of T.J. Lang, who moved to right tackle to replace the injured Bryan Bulaga.
University of Wisconsin running back Montee Ball is one of 15 college football players being considered for the Walter Camp Player-of-the-Year award. The senior Ball has averaged almost 155 yards a game for the Badgers this season – and he only needs one more touchdown to tie the NCAA career record of 78. The “watch list” for the Camp Award includes nine quarterbacks, three running backs including Ball, a receiver, and two defensive players. Five finalists will be announced in two weeks, and the winner will be unveiled on Dec. 6.
The high school basketball season is underway – at least in Milwaukee, where a big splash was made last night. Kevon Looney of Milwaukee scored 50 points with 10 rebounds, as his Hamilton High School squad crushed Young-Coggs High School 85-50. Looney, a junior forward, was the player-of-the-year last season in the Milwaukee City Conference.
Nine volleyball players from Wisconsin have been named to the coaches’ All-America teams in the NCAA’s Division III. Nobody from the Badger State was among the 13 selections in the national first-team. Two players made the second squad – Anne Saterlee, a senior setter from UW-Eau Claire – and Mallory Palmer, a senior outside hitter from Edgewood. Named to the coaches’ third team were senior Erin Green of River Falls, senior Emily Neave of Eau Claire, and sophomore Kelsey Nobilio of Whitewater. Torey DeLozier of Maranatha Baptist in Watertown was an All-American honorable mention – along with Alex Hartman of Stevens Point, Stephanie Kirchner of Platteville, and Leanna Lillge of Whitewater.
Five men’s basketball scouting organizations have given Marquette’s new recruiting class a Top-10 national rating. The Golden Eagles signed five players yesterday, all of whom kept previous commitments. Milwaukee Vincent guard Deonte Burton was among those signing national letters-of-intent for next fall – along with guard Duane Wilson of Whitefish Bay Dominican and Milwaukee Pulaski forward Jameel McKay, who will transfer from Indian Hills Community College in Iowa. The others are guards Jajuan Johnson of Memphis, and John Dawson of New Mexico. All five players are said to fit in well with coach Buzz Williams’ system. They all have good speed on the floor, and play solid defense. The UW-Milwaukee men signed Cody Wichmann of Pulaski, and they expect to sign two more in the next few days. On the women’s side, UW-Green Bay announced the signings of three players – center Lexi Weitzer of Waukesha, forward Sam Terry from Baraboo, and guard Tesha Bucks of Red Wing. Wisconsin signed a pair of frontline players – Malayna Johnson of Bellwood, Illinois and Mikey Crall of Olathe Kansas. UW-Milwaukee expects two players to sign.
The UW-Milwaukee women improved to 2-1 on the season, with an 88-79 home victory over Western Michigan last night. The Panthers led by as many as 12 in the first half. Western Michigan cut the margin to two with just over three minutes left – and Milwaukee then went on a 7-0 run and finished the game by outscoring the Broncos 13-6. UWM made 13-of-18 from three-point-range – and the shooting percentage of 72-point-two was the second-highest in school history. Sophomore Ashley Green led Milwaukee with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Aurille Anderson scored 26 for Western Michigan, which fell to 1-1. The Panthers’ next game is a week from Saturday, when they’ll face Georgia Tech in the San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico.
Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Ryan Braun will find out this evening if he’ll win a second straight National League MVP award. The MLB Network will unveil the MVP’s in both leagues in a one-hour show that starts at five p.m. Braun is one of five finalists for the National League honor. He had the biggest offensive numbers among the group. But his team did not make the playoffs, and some in the media say Braun will get a short shrift because of his positive drug test from last fall that was overturned on appeal. Catcher Buster Posey from the World Series champion San Francisco Giants is expected by many to win the NL award. Posey led the league with a .336 batting average, and he had a .408 on-base percentage. Braun led the National League with 41 homers – and he was the only player to make the Top-Four in all eight major offensive categories.
The Brewers have signed catcher Blake Lalli to a minor league contract, with a chance to make the big club at Spring Training. He spent almost seven years in the Chicago Cubs organization before being traded to Oakland in late August. Lalli made his Major League debut with the Cubs in May, going 2-for-15 in six games with a pair of RBI’s. The Brewers now have five non-roster players headed to Spring Training in February.
UW-Oshkosh quarterback Nate Wara is the WIAC’s football player-of-the-year. And Pat Cerroni of the Titans has been named the coach-of-the-year. Wara, a senior, also made the all-conference first team, after being a second-team selection for the past two years. Wara led the WIAC with 2,389 passing yards this year, with 22 touchdown passes. He has thrown only one interception, and he currently has a streak of 190 passes without a pick going into the Division-Three playoffs which begin this weekend. Wara and Cerroni led Oshkosh to its first outright WIAC title in 40 years, going 10-0 overall, and defeating three-time national champion Whitewater. Corey Marks of Platteville was named to the all-conference first team for the third time. Other repeat selections were Ryan McWethy and Nick Snyder of Platteville, Taylor Goodman of Oshkosh, Christian Hallingstad of La Crosse, and Eric Kindler of Whitewater. John Schimenz of River Falls received the sport’s scholar-athlete award.
Christina Tooren of UW-Whitewater has been named the WIAC women’s soccer player-of-the-year on offense. Saskia Taylor of La Crosse won the season honors on defense. And Whitewater’s Ryan Quamme was named the coach-of-the-year, after his team won both the regular season and league tournament crowns in his first year at the helm. Tooren also made the all-conference team for the third straight year. The senior forward tied for the league lead with 31 points – which included 12 goals. Taylor, a senior midfielder, also made the all-league squad for three years straight. She led a La Crosse defense that gave up almost one-and-a-quarter goals per match. Twenty-four players made the all WIAC squad. Carlin Bunting and Cassie Stang, both of River Falls, made the squad for a third time. Other repeat selections included Paige LeGate of Eau Claire, Sagan Pizzingrilli of La Crosse, Chelsea Kierszh of Oshkosh, Sammy Greer of Stevens Point, and two other Whitewater players – Kelsey Finn and Alyssa Chamberlain. Bunting also received the sport’s scholar-athlete award.
If you always wanted to play the “flower hole” at the Sentry World golf course in Stevens Point, you’ll have to wait until 2014. Sentry Insurance said today it will close the course next year for renovations. CEO Pete McPartland said the original designer of the course – Robert Trent Jones Junior – will work with Sentry on the project. The company says the goal is to upgrade and change several holes, while maintaining the integrity of the 6,951-yard par-72 course. Sentry World was among the first upscale golf facilities in Wisconsin when it opened in 1982. It includes numerous lakes, native birch and pine trees, and five acres of flower-beds. The course is best-known for the all-flower hole, the par-3, 173-yard 16th.