Greenfield — 2010 was the year of the quarterback in the NOW area.
Eight of 21 NOW-area signal-callers finished with 1,000 or more passing yards this fall and seven of those players threw 15 or more touchdowns.
Whitnall senior Joel Stave was near the top of both lists.
His 2,635 yards were second in the state to only Franklin's Lance Baretz's 2,763, despite playing in three fewer games. And his 22 touchdowns were third-best among NOW players and tied for 11th statewide.
For his efforts, Stave was a first-team all-state selection by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association, was the Woodland Conference Black Division offensive player of the year and was named to his second consecutive NOW Newspapers All-Suburban Team. Stave is joined on the NOW team by senior teammate Nathan Marshall, a guard, and Greenfield senior all-purpose player Jason Katrichis.
Stave (6-6, 220) was an honorable mention all-state choice as a junior.
"I'm not sure how many Whitnall players have achieved that honor, first-team all-state one year and honorable mention all-state another. He probably leaves as the best football player to play at Whitnall high school," Whitnall coach Rob Leboeuf said." I'll say probably because I didn't coach those other boys - and I don't mean to slight anyone - but he's the best I've had and he's set the bar for the standard of excellence at our school."
Stave took over the varsity as a junior and finished his two-year career with 5,017 passing yards, the 26th-most in Wisconsin history, with 40 passing touchdowns to just eight turnovers. Along the way, he made plenty of memories.
"I just love playing the game of football," Stave said. "The real exciting games we had against Greendale my junior year, Eisenhower and New Berlin West my senior year, practicing with the guys and lifting and doing the stuff a football team does, I'll remember all of that."
Stave's numbers this fall were even more impressive considering the battered offensive line he had holding down the fort in front of him and Whitnall's struggles in the running game. Teams often knew Leboeuf was going to rely on Stave's strong right arm to move the ball down the field, but he still managed to post six games of 250 yards or more, including a 416-yard effort against St. Thomas More that is one of just 43 performances of 400 yards or more in state history.
"When he came to us as a freshman, he was a raw kid that could throw the ball a country mile," Leboeuf said. "Now he's learned to distribute the ball. He's become a man through hard work and dedication."
Despite being a prototypical college quarterback, Stave has yet to receive a scholarship offer but is drawing interest from Division I Wisconsin, Western Michigan and Akron, among others. But he is in a holding pattern as the Badgers and other schools sort out their recruiting situations.
"I'm just kind of waiting to see what happens," Stave said. "It's frustrating. It was a lot of fun in the summer going to camps and talking to a lot of coaches, so it's got its ups and downs. Overall, (the process) can be kind of stressful."
Marshall started for 3½ years for the Falcons and was a leader thanks to his impressive work ethic. A national powerlifting champion who rarely missed a day of weight training, he played in 34 consecutive varsity games and never missed a meaningful snap other than to fix a helmet issue.
"It will be weird next season not having Nathan start the season on the line," Leboeuf said. "Nate's pass protection was flawless. He has fantastic technique, and we kept him on the left side so he could protect Joel's back. Nate was very, very solid. He never got beat one-on-one."
The guard was named the Woodland Conference Black Division lineman of the year and, according to Leboeuf, has a scholarship offer from Minnesota State University Morehead, though the senior has yet to make a college decision.
Katrichis is the first Greenfield player to make the NOW team since 2002 after finishing second in the NOW area with 1,203 yards.
"He ranks up there with some of the best players I've had talent-wise," Greenfield coach Scott Otto said. "The joy with him was he worked extremely hard on the practice field. We tell the kids to treat every practice like a game and he was one of those kids that did that."
Otto, in his first year as the Hustlin' Hawks coach, implemented the wishbone offense, and Katrichis excelled even after missing most of the 2009 season due to injuries.
"I wish I could have another year with them," Otto said. "You'd like to see what he could do with another year in the program. He did well to help get Greenfield back on the map and get people familiar with the kid of football we're going to run here. He ran people over, ran around them. He did everything for us. There wasn't much that he couldn't do."
Katrichis was a first-team all-Woodland Conference Black Division running back and safety that intercepted five passes this fall.
The follow players received at least 1,000 online votes for the NOW All-Suburban Team (votes, player, school, category):
2,333: Nick Schmidlkofer, Muskego, defensive back
2,013: Nathan Marshall, Whitnall, offensive guard
1,545: Jordan Gruettner, Muskego, all-purpose
1,236: Macon Plewa, Franklin, player of the year
1,136: Colin Smith, Muskego, offensive guard
1,008: Jordan Campbell, Greendale linebacker
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