Spartans flourish in all-MBC football votingThe meteoric rise to a Middle Border Conference co-championship was enough to earn the Somerset football team 14 places on the 2008 All-MBC football team.
The meteoric rise to a Middle Border Conference co-championship was enough to earn the Somerset football team 14 places on the 2008 All-MBC football team.
New Richmond despite tying for fourth place in the conference, only took three places on the all-conference list. Only winless Ellsworth had fewer all-conference selections, with two.
The Spartans tied Baldwin-Woodville for the 2008 MBC title and to the winners go the spoils. B-W took 17 places on the all-conference team, with Somerset getting 14 places.
Somerset had three first team selections on each side of the ball. Leading those selections was senior lineman Bryan Witzmann, who was voted as the MBC’s Most Valuable Player. Witzmann was named as a first team lineman on offense and defense. At 6-8 and 247 pounds, Witzmann has a bright future ahead of him in football.
Also named to the first team offense for the Spartans were senior guard Taylor Dabrowski and sophomore halfback Eric Walczak. Dabrowski emerged as a tough and mobile guard who could carry his blocking upfield. Walczak is another in the long line of elite fullbacks for the Spartans. He ranked among the top 20 rushers in the state, finishing with 1,693 yards. Considering that he missed more than two games with a broken hand, he averaged nearly 200 yards per game.
Also named to the first team defense for the Spartans were senior noseguard Darrin Emmeck and junior defensive end Rob Wendt. The trio of Witzmann, Emmeck and Wendt made the Spartans nearly impossible to run against. Emmeck was a roadblock for any team that tried to run up the middle. If the teams tried to run outside, Witzmann and Wendt were waiting at each end to stuff the running plays.
Wendt was also named as a second team offensive player for his work at center. Junior quarterback Rocky Larson also was named to the second team. Larson rushed for 1,386 yards this season. With Walczak, Larson and Wendt returning, the Spartan offense is in good hands for next season.
Junior linebacker Zach Warren was also a second team choice after he took over the middle linebacker leadership role in the Spartans defense.
The Spartans had five players earn honorable mention honors. On defense they were senior Phil Vanasse, junior Ben Germain and sophomore Dylan Rivard. On offense they were junior Jordan Hansen and sophomore Parker LeMire.
Two seniors received all-MBC recognition for the Tigers. Senior Nick Hesselink earned all-conference second team honors on both sides of the ball. Linebacker Trevor Anderson was picked as an honorable mention linebacker.
Hesselink developed into a tough and versatile player for the Tigers this season. He was used in several roles and he excelled in each of them.
“Nick didn’t start the season on offense, but he became our best lineman,” said Tiger coach Jason Eckert. “He never got tired. He played hard from the first whistle to the last. He gave us everything he had.”
Hesselink started at defensive end, then moved to linebacker for the final weeks of the season and he showed good range and explosion in his tackles.
Anderson might have been the smallest all-MBC player. But he’s never let height become an obstacle.
“Bubba’s small for a football player, but he always made plays out there,” said Eckert. “He was one of our best tacklers and one of our smartest tacklers.”