EagleHerald/Billy Betts
Bo Krueger of Gillett eyes up some running room after getting a block from teammate Logan Block during their game against Wausaukee. Krueger earned a share of the Player of the Year award at running back and Block was a first team offensive lineman.
EagleHerald/Billy Betts

Bo Krueger of Gillett eyes up some running room after getting a block from teammate Logan Block during their game against Wausaukee. Krueger earned a share of the Player of the Year award at running back and Block was a first team offensive lineman.

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GILLETT — Before the 2018 football season began, Gillett coach Jesse Witcraft said that in order for his Tigers to have success, junior Bo Krueger needed to be the dynamic player he had been the previous two seasons.

Not only did Krueger perform at an even higher level, he almost single-handedly kept the Tigers near the top of a talented Marinette-Oconto/Northern Lakes/Packerland Conference 8-man division.

For his efforts, Krueger was part of a four-play tie for the Offensive Player of the Year award.

“Just a special player,” Witcraft said. “He sure could run. He’s a tough kid that we’re working on getting to be even tougher for next year.”

Krueger rushed for 1,255 yards on the season, despite missing two games. A 297-yard effort against NEW Lutheran was one of many performances that had opposing coaches gushing.

“Bo just had a great season and other coaches noticed it,” Witcraft said. “We didn’t have much of a passing game so the burden was on him most nights and I thought he really stepped up in many key situations.”

Fellow Gillett junior Logan Block was also awarded for his efforts by earning first-team honors on the offensive line and second team at linebacker.

Often times the lead blocker for Krueger, Block handled his own while playing alongside younger, smaller lineman.

On defense is where Block really flourished, something Witcraft raved about for his play at linebacker.

“Logan had several great games. He was second in the conference in tackles and sacks and also finished with two interceptions, one in which he scored on,” Witcraft said. “We ran behind Logan quite a bit and had great success.”

For Wausaukee, a third-place finish was still considered a success with talented teams like Sevastopol and Gibraltar in the mix.

Leading the way for the Rangers were seniors Joey Rozivka and Andy Schaal and they were awarded for their stellar seasons by earning first-team recognition.

Rozivka was a first-teamer at both offensive line and linebacker and he capped off his career by earning a spot on the first team for three straight seasons.

Though undersized as a lineman, Rozivka made up for it with leverage and a never-ending motor and was a player the Rangers could run behind with consistent success.

“Joey was a special player that it will take several others to replace,” Wausaukee coach Grant Russ said. “He blocked to the whistle and he never quit.”

Defensively, Rozivka had a knack for finding the ball-carrier and generally was automatic when it came to tackling.

“He just has a nose for the football,” said Russ. “He’s built really well and he works hard.”

Schaal, who was a first-team defensive lineman and second-team offensive lineman, was a player who came to camp in the best shape of his career.

Russ gushed at how much more trimmed up he was from the previous season and it showed by his increased speed.

“Andy worked his butt off in the off-season and it really showed,” Russ said. “He was the best defensive lineman in the conference. He cut the field in half as a defensive end and was quicker than many of our skill players.”

Taking over at the quarterback position late in the fourth game of the season, senior Tyler Gruszynski displayed the poise and dual-threat dominance that helped the Rangers win five of their last six games.

Gruszynski was honored for his efforts by earning a spot on the second team, along with his favorite target in junior receiver Brandon Shigouri.

Though it was a much shorter body of work, Gruszynski still finished third in the league in passing yards with 891 and added 523 rushing yards. Shigouri was third in the conference with 839 receiving yards on 33 receptions.

“I thought Tyler really deserved it. He comes in at almost the halfway mark of the season to quarterback and still finishes third in passing,” said Russ. “Brandon was a great target that was always a threat to go the distance. We’re glad to have him coming back next year.”

Though it was a difficult season, the Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy Titans were still represented with multiple all-conference players.

Leading the way was senior lineman Tyson Marquardt, who earned a spot on the first team at offensive line.

Moving to center this season, Marquardt was instrumental in the Titans running game, often times pulling and trapping as the lead lineman, right after snapping the ball.

“Not many centers can pull and trap and Tyson was excellent at it,” Lena/STAA Co-Coach Dale Lange said. “He always had good snaps and just worked his butt off.”

Junior Trenton Telford was a second-team selection at running back for the Titans and is someone Lange looks forward to watching grow even more next season.

“Defenses usually keyed up on Trenton and he was still able to run the ball effectively,” said Lange. “He made others better as well. He’ll keep working hard and I expect even bigger things next season.”