Kimberly’s Blair Mulholland had a record-breaking performance in last Friday’s WIAA Division 1 state championship football game.
In front of a statewide TV audience, the Papermakers running back rushed for 341 yards on 46 carries, both state final records in Division 1, and also tied a state record with four touchdowns in Kimberly’s 49-42 victory over Arrowhead. His 464 all-purpose yards is also a state record.
It was the punctuation of a spectacular season as Mulholland was named the Associated Press’ state player of the year in voting Tuesday by a statewide media panel. Mulholland was a unanimous first-team member, with teammates Jordan Janssen and Logan Bruss also being voted to the first team at receiver and offensive line, respectively.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Mulholland is the second Kimberly player to win the POY honor, with Jamison Wells winning the award in 2008.
“I mean, it’s an honor,” Mulholland said. “To be only the second player in school history. I’ve looked up to Jayme since I was a kid, so it really means a lot to be awarded this.”
Mulholland led the state with 2,971 yards rushing on 310 carries, with 47 rushing touchdowns. His yardage total is the third-highest in state history according to the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association website. For his career, Mulholland totaled 5,821 yards on 650 carries (9.0 average) with 97 touchdowns, including two receiving.
He was also the starting tailback in all three of Kimberly’s state championship victories.
“Blair is a special football player,” Kimberly coach Steve Jones said. “We’re lucky to have him for the number of years as we’ve had him and he represents our football team on the football field and he’s a tremendous competitor throughout the entire season. When things are tough, you give him the ball and you know he’s going to do great things with it. He also does great things as far as blocking. Sometimes that goes unnoticed.”
Janssen, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior, led the state in receiving yards with 1,513 yards on 70 catches for a 21.6 average. He also paced the state with 18 touchdown receptions. He also set a Division 1 state final record with three touchdown catches in last Friday’s win.
He finished with 10 catches for 125 yards despite playing with a separated AC joint in his left shoulder.
“I think he showed his grit and his toughness in that game,” Jones said. “Without him, I don’t know if we would have been as effective as we were on Friday.
“He is the best run blocker that we’ve ever had come through the receiver position in our program and I think that sometimes gets overlooked.”
Bruss, a 6-5, 235-pound junior, anchored the Kimberly offensive line that produced the state’s top rusher, receiver and a quarterback (Danny Vanden Boom) who threw for 2,499 yards with 25 touchdowns and no interceptions.
“He’s a special player. He has a unique combination of strength, size and athleticism,” Jones said. “He’s an extremely athletic kid. He gets off the ball extremely well and he’s violent at the point of attack. We put him on the right side and we definitely run his way when we need to. You saw that in the championship game, whether it was third and short and we needed to pick up a first down, or on the last play of the game, we were running right and he’s a big part of why we were able to do that.”
Area honorable-mention all-state selections included senior two-way linemen Evan Philibeck of Freedom and Nathan Beining of Wrightstown. Also receiving honorable mention was Menasha senior linebacker Joseph Kordus and Xavier senior defensive back Nick VandeHey.
Other players nominated for state player of the year included Arrowhead’s Ben Bredeson, Monona Grove’s Toren Young, Amherst’s Garrett Groshek and Menomonie’s Mason Stokke.
Bangor’s Rick Muellenberg was named the AP’s Coach of the Year.
AP ALL-STATE FOOTBALL TEAM
Player of the Year – Blair Mulholland, 5-11, 195, Sr., Kimberly
Coach of the year: Rick Muellenberg, Bangor
OFFENSE FIRST TEAM
QB – Garrett Groshek, 6-1, 200, Sr., Amherst (Unanimous). RB – Blair Mulholland, 5-11, 195, Sr., Kimberly (Unanimous); Toren Young, 5-11, 218, Sr., Monona Grove (Unanimous); Hunter Johnson, 6-1, 205, Jr., Darlington. OL – Ben Bredeson, 6-5, 305, Sr., Hartland Arrowhead (Unanimous); Cole Van Lanen, 6-5, 280, Sr., Bay Port (Unanimous); Mike Caliendo, 6-4, 285, Sr., Brookfield East; Logan Bruss, 6-5, 235, Jr., Kimberly; Sam Heckel, 6-5, 270, Sr., Waukesha West. WR/TE – Jordan Janssen, 6-3, 200, Sr., Kimberly; Dale Tygum, 6-4, 200, Sr., Madison East. PK – Vinny Pallini, 5-10, 180, Sr., Green Bay Notre Dame. All-purpose – Trevor Heit, 5-9, 165, Sr., Pepin/Alma; T.C. Swittel, 6-0, 160, Sr., Brookfield East.
OFFENSE SECOND TEAM
QB – Max Meylor, 6-4, 215, Sr., Mount Horeb/Barneveld. RB – Evander Craft, 6-2, 200, Sr., St. Francis; Andrew Piske, 6-0, 217, Sr., Bangor; Sam Santiago-Lloyd, 5-10, 235, Jr., Brookfield East. OL – Spencer Kanz, 6-6, 290, Sr., Luxemburg-Casco; Josh Bernhagen, 6-3, 240, Sr., Madison La Follette; Matthew Saager, 6-4, 254, Sr., Lodi; Chris Malicky, 6-2, 274, Sr., Mequon Homestead; Kenny Thums, 6-0, 200, Sr., Omro. WR/TE – Mitchell Gerend, 6-3, 185, Sr., Southern Door; Zach Clayton, 6-2, 205, Jr., Oconomowoc. PK – John Mack, 6-0, 178, Sr., Hartland Arrowhead. ALL-PURPOSE – Jim Hoesley, 5-11, 1770, Sr., Arcadia; Jack Dunn, 5-8, 180, Sr., Madison Edgewood.
DEFENSE FIRST TEAM
DL – Tyler Biadiaz, 6-4, 270, Sr., Amherst (Unanimous); Trayvonn Johnson, 6-6, 260, Sr., Verona; Aaron Maternowski, 6-2, 250, Sr., Slinger. DE/OLB – Luke Benschawel, 6-7, 254, Sr., Grafton; Sam Santiago-Lloyd, 5-10, 235, Sr., Brookfield East. ILB – Mason Stokke, 6-3, 210, Sr., Menomonie (Unanimous); Jacob Erbs, 5-9, 205, Sr., Reedsburg; Zach Turner, 5-11, 215, Sr., Stanley-Boyd. DB – Michael Crowley, 6-1, 175, Sr., Milwaukee Marquette (Unanimous); Jack Popp, 6-3, 200, Sr., Mequon Homestead; Tyler Mais, 6-2, 180, Jr., Waunakee. PUNTER – Alex Bray, 6-3, 179, Sr., Waukesha Catholic Memorial.
DEFENSE SECOND TEAM
DL – Zach Taylor, Catholic Memorial; Demetrious Pinkston, 6-0, 220, Sr., Wautoma; Skyler Kurt, 6-0, 282, Sr., Lodi. DE/OLB – Zak Baudry, 5-11, 249, Sr., Franklin; Nick Leach, 6-2, 235, Sr., Milwaukee Marquette. ILB – Zach Steuck, 6-1, 205, Sr., Lodi; Ben McCarthy, 6-1, 219, Sr., Franklin; Jordan Meyer, 5-6, 175, Sr., Evansville/Albany. DB – Kobe Knack, 5-10, 180, Sr., Franklin; Vinny Pallini, 5-10, 180, Sr., Green Bay Notre Dame; Jim Hoesley, 5-11, 170, Sr., Arcadia. PUNTER – Garret Wegner, 6-2, 182, Sr., Lodi.
Jarod Banks, sr., OL, Holmen; Zach Moran, sr., DL, La Crosse Logan; Jalen Sample, jr.,WR, Onalaska; Tim Schauf, sr., QB, West Salem; Jacob Trussoni, sr., OL, La Crosse Logan; Kaleb Kaminski, sr., DB, Tomahawk; Sam Buchberger, sr, OL/ILB, Marathon; Stephen Paoli II, sr., RB, D.C. Everest, Cole Warzynski, sr., OL/DL, Almond-Bancroft; Trent Kollock, sr., DE, Assumption; Mark Nellen, sr., RB, Lodi; Wyatt Bancroft, sr., OL/DL, Cambria-Friesland; Jesse Sturtz, jr., ILB, Darlington; Kigen Mares, sr., AP, Marshall ; J.T. Parish, sr., AP, Cambridge; Conor Blount, senior, QB, Waukesha West; Jaylen Campbell, junior, OLB, Waukesha Catholic Memorial; Johnny Duranso, senior, QB, Hartland Arrowhead; Cole Kresken, senior, RB-LB, Burlington Catholic Central; Ben Wachter, senior, QB, Franklin; Isaac Benner, sr., OL, Chippewa Falls; Jake Johnson, sr., OL, Chippewa Falls; Ross Kennelly, sr., RB-LB, Superior; Howie Leuschen, sr., FB, Hayward; Isaiah Secrest, sr., RB-DB, Rice Lake; Michael Richter, sr., WR, Ozaukee; Justin Maratik, sr., RB, Fond du Lac; Austin Goehring, jr., DE, Kiel; Sean Mattek, sr., RB, Sheboygan Falls; Zach Angle, sr., DL, Oshkosh North; Alex Orvis, sr., ILB, Madison La Follette; Sam Decorah, sr., DE, Waunakee; Michael Gerber, sr., OL/DL, Stoughton; Jake Ferguson, jr., WR/LB, Madison La Follette; Max Allen, jr., PK, Jr., Waunakee; Nik Ohuafi, sr., RB, De Pere; Nick VandeHey, sr., DB, Xavier; Nathan Beining, sr., DE, Wrightstown; Joseph Kordus, sr., LB, Menasha;Evan Philibeck, Sr., OL-DL, Freedom; Seth Bickett, soph., DL, Pewaukee; Josh Mueller, sr., DE, Homestead; Matt Winters, sr., RB, Homestead; Ben Nienhuis, sr., QB, Oconomowoc; Joey Koppelman, sr., OL, Brookfield Central
Ricardo Arguello: 920-993-1000, ext. 558, or email@example.com; on Twitter @PCRicardo