Five Middle Border Conference players have received all-state honors in the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-State Team that was released on Monday.
St. Croix Central sophomore Carson Hinzman was the lone Middle Border Conference player to receive first team all-state honors. He was named to the first team as an offensive lineman and he was an honorable mention selection on defense.
New Richmond senior Joey Kidder was also recognized on both sides of the ball. He was an honorable mention selection at wide receiver and at defensive back. New Richmond senior Cooper Strand was selected as a linebacker and St. Croix Central junior Jackson Pettit was selected as a kicker.
Also named was Baldwin-Woodville senior defensive end Thomas Albrightson as an honorable mention choice.
The all-state honors for Kidder and Strand cap senior seasons where they led the Tigers. Kidder was the region Player of the Year, leading to his dual all-state honors. He led the Tigers with 49 receptions and he also led the team in interceptions.
“Every time he stepped on the field, he was the best player on the field,” Tiger coach Reggie Larson said of his senior standout.
Strand made a major comeback after tearing his ACL early in his junior season. He led the Tigers with 110 tackles this season, showing incredible range as a linebacker.
Another of the Tigers on the All-MBC team who made a drastic offseason effort was defensive end Jackson Seidling. He added 35 pounds of muscle and became a force at defensive end, leading the team in sacks and tackles for loss.
Junior Connor Felton was another huge defensive factor for the Tiger defense. He played every down at noseguard and his ability to tie up blockers allowed the linebackers to flow freely to track down plays.
Senior Payton Pohl was also honored on defense as an honorable mention linebacker. As a second-year starter, he took responsibility in making sure the Tigers made all their needed adjustments before each play.
Tigers who were honored on offense were Kidder, Tim Salmon, Joe Powers, Nolan Eckert, Caleb Stangl and Fred Riba.
Salmon returned as the starting quarterback and was a technician in directing the offense. He completed 61 percent of his passes for 1,974 yards.
“He’s the unquestioned leader of the team,” Larson said.
Powers was the big-play threat at running back, while also starting at cornerback. Powers rushed for 1,071 yards and he scored 17 touchdowns during the season.
“He’s a natural home run hitter, a game-breaking back,” Larson said.
Eckert finished second in receptions on the team. His 24 receptions covered 315 yards.
“We thought we had the four best receivers in the conference,” Larson said.
Riba and Stangl were members of the offensive line that made the success of the offense all possible.
“They were really good in our scheme, and in knowing their assignments and executing them to perfection,” Larson said.
St. Croix Central
Hinzman was the only sophomore to make the all-state first team and there was only one other sophomore to receive honorable mention honors. Hinzman’s meteoric rise is being recognized by colleges nationally. Over the weekend he received his third Division 1 collegiate scholarship offer, from the University of Notre Dame. He’s already been offered by the University of Wisconsin and the University of Iowa. Central coach John Tackmann said Hinzman works tirelessly to improve himself.
“He’s a special athlete. He understands what his future holds. He’s a great kid, a real leader,” Tackmann said.
Pettit’s kicking was a major advantage for the Panthers and it got recognized at the state level. He made 49 of his 52 extra point attempts and he recorded touchbacks on 50 percent of his kickoffs this season.
Joining Hinzman and Pettit as Panthers who were All-MBC players on offense were running backs Trevor Kopacz and Gabe Siler, tight end Luke Holme and linemen Corben Klatt and Josh Woodington. Kopacz, Siler and Woodington were also honored on defense, as were defensive end Zac Holme, linebacker Braeden Bloom and punter Mason Dado.
Kopacz led the Panthers with 941 yards rushing.
“He was a big play maker on special teams. Defensively, he’s one of the best lockdown corners we’ve had,” Tackmann said.
Siler was an honorable mention player on both sides of the ball. Tackmann said Siler is expected to fill even bigger roles next season.
Klatt and Woodington were big parts of the offensive line’s success. Tackmann said their ability allowed the coaches to use plays like traps more often than in past seasons.
The Holme twins became big factors. Tackmann said their exceptional strength and work in the weight room helped them elevate to all-conference levels.
Bloom stepped into two huge roles as the Panthers’ fullback and middle linebacker. Tackmann said Bloom handled both roles capably.
Dado was honored as a punter. Tackmann said Dado is also being viewed as the heir apparent to the fullback role for next season.
The Spartans had three players voted onto the All-MBC team.
Senior Bailey Mullenberg returned to the all-conference team as an offensive lineman. Senior Riley McGurran was selected as a linebacker and junior Tate Pitcher was selected as a defensive back.
Somerset coach Bruce Larson said Mullenberg was the player the offensive line was structured around this season.
“He’s our best base blocking guy, he comes off the ball hard. He’s a pretty tough kid,” Larson said.
McGurran was one of the smallest linebackers in the conference. But stature only measures height, not heart.
“He’s undersized, but aggressive, a hard worker,” Larson said. “He’s a hard-nosed player.”
Pitcher emerged as an outstanding cover cornerback. Along with his duties at halfback, he became a critical piece of the Spartans’ plans and will be again next season.
“We put him up against everybody’s best receiver. He came a long way during the season,” Larson said.