Four members of the state-bound St. Croix Central football team were honored with all-state honors from the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association on Monday.
Austin Kopacz, Ryan Larson and Derek Myer were all named as first team all-state players and Nate Berends was an honorable mention all-state selection. This was the first season that the WFCA has announced large school and small school all-state teams. Central’s players were named to the small school team. The only other Middle Border Conference player to receive all-state recognition was Baldwin-Woodville fullback Andrew Klopp, who was an honorable mention choice.
Kopacz and Larson were named as all-state players on defense. Myer was named on special teams for his work as the Panthers’ punter. Berends was an honorable mention selection for his play on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Panthers.
Kopacz has had a superlative season at safety and at quarterback for the Panthers this season. His incredible range at safety has allowed him to intercept eight passes this season. He is also one of three Panthers who have rushed for more than 1,000 yards on offense. Kopacz currently has 1,110 yards rushing this season.
Larson is the Panthers’ leading tackler from his inside linebacker position. He is also one of the biggest hitters in the state. He’s carried a major portion of the action on both sides of the ball, leading the Panthers with 1,493 yards of rushing.
Myer is recognized as one of the top punters in the state. He’s averaged 46.6 yards per kick this season and his long boots have helped the Panthers maintain a field position advantage in most of their games.
It isn’t a surprise that Berends was recognized for his play on offense and defense. The Panthers returned a great deal of experience at the ball-handling positions, but little experience among the linemen. Berends was a leader of the linemen on both sides of the ball, helping both groups develop quick cohesiveness.