Success breeds recognition. Just ask Whitnall Falcons football coach Rob Leboeuf.
For the first time in school history, four Whitnall players have been named to the NOW All-Suburban Team, now in its 21st year, after the Falcons went 7-3 and made the playoffs for the second straight season.
"That's why we coach, to see players get what they work for," said Leboeuf, the NOW 2008 coach of the year. "It's fun opening up the paper and reading about the players and the program doing some positive things."
Whitnall junior quarterback Joel Stave and three seniors - defensive back Dustin Devine, running back Sean Graham and offensive lineman Scott Erickson - earned NOW honors this fall. The school's previous record-high of NOW picks was three in 1999.
Stave, who was one of eight finalists for the newspaper's Player of the Year award, shattered nearly all the school's passing records. The right-handed gunslinger passed for 2,447 yards and 18 touchdowns with four interceptions in 10 games.
"He does a lot of things on film that I don't see a lot of guys on Saturdays do right now," Leboeuf said.
College football on Saturdays might be in Stave's future. According to Leboeuf, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin of the Big Ten have all been in contact with his prized junior.
After finishing the 2008 season strong and helping the Falcons to their first playoff appearance in seven years, Graham also rewrote the school record book with 1,339 yards and 17 TDs.
Erickson, a three-year varsity player, spent much of his time helping Stave and Graham assault the school's record books by providing Stave time to find an open receiver or creating a hole for Graham to sprint through.
Devine, a two-year varsity player, became the second defensive back from Whitnall to be named to the NOW team after leading the team with 67 tackles.
FHS is back
The Franklin Sabers had their first NOW representatives since their 2006 state championship season, this time landing four players on the team, including Player of the Year runner-up Lance Baretz.
Baretz became the fourth different Sabers quarterback named to the team after passing for more than 2,300 yards and 21 TDs and rushing for nearly 800 yards and a team-high 11 scores and leading Franklin to its second state semifinal appearance in school history.
Joining Baretz from Franklin are senior tackle Andy Wroblewski, junior wide receiver Brady Oates and junior defensive lineman Brenden Butler.
Wroblewski anchored an offensive line that paved the way for the Sabers' offense to put up nearly 400 yards of offense per game; Oates finished with a NOW area-high 931 receiving yards (48 catches) and 10 touchdowns and Butler caused six fumbles and had three sacks during the regular season.
Knights net a pair
Oak Creek senior linebacker Kyle Wey, whose brother Mike made the NOW team in 2005, was a first-team all-Southeast Conference choice and an all-state honorable mention after combining for 115 tackles and helping the Knights return to the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
"He's one of the best football players I've ever coached," Oak Creek coach Mike Bartholomew said. "Indestructible, intense and a team player. He elevated the play of the players around him."
Fellow Oak Creek senior Darrol Inniss, also a NOW and all-SEC choice, broke up 17 passes as one of the fastest and best defensive backs in the SEC.
Greendale streak continues
Greendale junior Jordan Campbell, another all-state honorable mention, kept Greendale's impressive NOW streak going with his selection. The Panthers have now had players make the team the last five seasons.
"Jordan is a technician on both sides of the ball," coach Rob Stoltz said. "When watching his first two steps on either side of the ball, his body position, hand position, and leverage, it's no wonder that college recruiters are working hard to find a way to get this kid in their program. Fortunately for them, and for us, they have a year to figure that out."
Number of players selected per school to the NOW All-Suburban Football Team:
4: Franklin, Homestead, Menomonee Falls, Whitnall
2: New Berlin Eisenhower, Oak Creek, West Allis Central, Whitefish Bay
1: Brookfield Central, Brown Deer, Greendale, Muskego, West Allis Hale
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