Dylan Hecker gave a little preview of what may be in store for the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh football team the next several years.
The former Winneconne star quarterback/linebacker rushed for 84 yards on 17 carries and scored a touchdown in leading the North all-star football team to 20-19 victory over the South in the 37th annual Wisconsin Football Coaches Association small-school game at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium on Saturday.
“It feels great,” the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Hecker said. “This is going to be my home the next couple of years. I’m glad I’m playing here and deciding to play here was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made.”
Hecker scored on a three-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half and helped sustain several North drives with his powerful running. He also had the pivotal conversion of a first down late in the game that allowed the North to run out the clock and clinch its first victory at the WFCA games since they went to the two-game format.
He will join a stellar UW-Oshkosh squad next season that is coming off a breakthrough season in which the Titans advanced to the NCAA Division III national semifinals.
“They’ve got a great recruiting class this year,” he said. “They were good last year, and will be even better this year.”
Hecker was one of 11 area players participating in the small-school game. Others included Hecker’s Winneconne teammate Max Gereau, Hilbert’s Spencer Schulz and Austin Schaffer, Brillion’s Eric Kittel, Wrightstown’s Riley Schussler and Cole Van Schyndel, Shiocton’s Levi Singler and Freedom’s Zachary Genke and Reed Ambrosius.
The North outgained the South 173-16 in rushing yards. Amherst’s Chris Zblewski also had a good day, rushing for 74 yards on nine carries.
The North led 20-6, but the South scored twice on long pass plays from quarterback Jacob Simons (Lake Country Lutheran). He hit Kile Jerrett on a 35-yard strike with 4:30 left in the game and Kris Manning on a 64-yard bomb with 2:42 left.
A missed extra point on the Manning touchdown allowed the North to hold on to a one-point lead. A late defensive stand turned the ball over to the North offense and Hecker converted a first down on a late run to run out the clock.
Schaffer played linebacker and was relieved that his defense held on.
“I was saying, ‘Everybody, we have to be ready now. Let’s get a stop and give it back to our offense,’ ” he said. “And that’s what we did.”
The area players also formed friendships and jelled as a team during the intense week that featured two-a-days in extremely warm weather conditions, according to Kittel, a defensive back.
“It’s tough at first, but everybody has to have the understanding that you’re not going to get as many snaps as you’re used to,” Kittel said. “But, you have to do what’s best for the team.
“It’s really cool. I mean, right away you go around and give your team’s stickers out (for players to put on helmets). It just brings teams a little closer and means we’re all one team.”
S – Chris Madden 79 pass from Aaron Kaiser (kick blocked)
N – Dylan Hecker 3 run (kick failed)
N – Zach Schradle 12 pass from Kyle Larson (pass failed)
N – Vince Dinkel 28 pass from Larson (Nick Stanke pass from Larson)
S – Kile Jerrett 35 pass from Jacob Simons (Greg Ganter kick)
S – Kris Manning 64 pass from Simons (kick failed)
|Total net yards||300||259|
|Time of possession||32:48||15:12|
Rushing — North: Dylan Hecker 17-84, Chris Zblewski 9-58, Cody Moon 8-30, Riley Schussler 7-26, Sam Smith 1-(-2), Kyle Larson 6-(-21). South: Alex Giles 6-23, Chris Madden 5-7, Mason Dixon 2-3, Jacob Simons 2-1, Kris Manning 2-0.
Passing — North: Kyle Larson 9-13-126-2-1, Dylan Hecker 1-2-1-0-0. South: Jacob Simons 8-21-159-2-2, Tim Fritz 1-3-5-0-0, Aaron Kaiser 1-1-79-1-0.
Receiving — North: Vince Dinkel 3-35, Riley Schussler 3-32, Isaiah Frandsen 2-47, Zach Schradle 1-12, Cody Moon 1-1. South: Chris Madden 3-102, Parker Lyga 2-19, Paul Mines 2-4, Kris Manning 1-64, Kile Jerrett 1-35, Jacob Demman 1-19.
Tackles — Area players: Max Gereau 2, Levi Singler 2, Austin Schaffer 2, Spencer Schulz 1.
South 47, North 19
The South exploded for 21 points in the second quarter to turn a 6-6 first-quarter tie into a comfortable win.
Milwaukee Pius’ Connor Senger threw four touchdown passes and was six-for-eight passing for 171 yards to highlight the South offense.
Burlington’s Ty Dennis had two catches for 127 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown for the South.
While the North defense struggled to contain the powerful South offense, the real head-turner was Hortonville’s J.D. Forsling off the field. The North linebacker finished tops among his teammates in the fundraising portion with $7,620.
“I’m very proud of it,” Forsling said. “I just wanted to help the kids who didn’t have the ability to play football out here. I just wanted to help them and raise money so they could get better and come out here someday maybe.”
Forsling finished with four total tackles. Other area players competing were Kimberly quarterback Ben Diedrick, Menasha lineman Ezekiel Hooyman and Waupaca running back Beau Ash.
Diedrick finished one-for-four passing for 27 yards. Ash carried the ball seven times for 20 yards.
“It just means a lot that I could play the last couple of plays of my high school career playing with some great people,” Forsling said. “We didn’t do it for us, just mainly for the kids in the Children’s Hospital. It was a hell of an experience and I’m so fortunate to be here.”
N – Austin Feuerhelm 41 interception return (run failed)
S – Daylon Boward 2 run (kick failed)
S – Andre Bodden 53 pass from Connor Senger (Joel Cretney kick)
S – Rashadeem Gray 14 run (Cretney kick)
S – Ty Dennis 63 pass from Senger (Cretney kick)
N – Andrew Davis 29 pass from Brett Kasper (Kegan Wirtz kick)
S – Samuel Zwieg 19 pass from Senger (Cretney kick)
N – Tyler Ledbetter 1 run (kick failed)
S – Sam Mentkowski 12 pass from Senger (Cretney kick)
S – Adihia Bell 4 run (kick failed)
|Total net yards||286||469|
|Time of possession||32:39||15:21|
Rushing — North: Colten Weinberger 17-62, Jordan Millis 4-49, Beau Ash 7-20, David Hellerud 1-5, Evan Newhouse 1-2, Cole Loertscher 1-1, Brett Kasper 1-0, Ben Diedrick 5-(-5), Tyler Ledbeter 6-(-10). South: Connor Senger 5-50, Rashadeem Gray 5-32, Adihia Bell 10-29, Virgil Hammond 5-23, Daylon Bowar 4-11, Tarek Yaeggi 3-(-5).
Passing — North: Brett Kasper 6-10-135-1-1, Ben Diedrick 1-4-27-0-0, Ryan Weber 0-1-0-0. South: Tarke Yaeggi 10-17-158-0-1, Connor Senger 6-8-171-4-0.
Receiving — North: Ryan Weber 2-26, Evan Newhouse 1-39, Andrew Davis 1-29, Drew Neuville 1-29, David Hellerud 1-22, Eric Wunrow 1-17. South: Samuel Zwieg 5-68, Ty Dennis 2-127, Andre Bodden 2-71, Sam Mentkowski 2-21, Rashadeem Gray 1-25, Peter Pekar 1-12, Matt Christensen 1-5, Tony Gumina 1-4, Adihia Bell 1-(-4).
Tackles — Area players: J.D. Forsling 4.
— Ricardo Arguello: 920-993-1000, ext. 558, or email@example.com; On Twitter @PCRicardo