GREEN BAY - This past season there were many impressive performances by players and teams. To sift through and find the best was hard, but every year FOX 11 hands out its football players/coaches of the year so here we go.
Before we go through the Large Division award winners, here's a little background on who won the forthcoming awards: the offensive player didn't play offense last year, the defensive player has a father who knows a little about football and the coach ended a real long winning streak.
Here are the Large Division (Divisions 1-3) award winners:
Large Division Offensive Player of the Year
Jake Wallenfang wasn't even on the running back depth chart last season as a junior and didn't need to be with Brad Boockmeier rushing for more than 1,500 yards for Green Bay Preble.
But when the Hornets opened this season they needed a running back and they went to Wallenfang, who also qualified for the Division 1 state track and field meet in the 100- and 200-meter dashes in 2012. Wallenfang picked up where Boockmeier left off, rushing for 1,585 yards and 22 touchdowns.
For his efforts, Wallenfang has been named FOX 11's Large Division Offensive Player of the Year.
"I can't think of any athlete who deserves this honor more than Jake," Preble coach Paul Donart said. "Jake worked as hard or harder than anyone in our program in the off-season and has earned every honor that he has been given this season.
Wallenfang rushed for as many as 326 yards against De Pere and 295 in the first half against Manitowoc. While his numbers are impressive, chew on this, he missed four second halves this regular season.
"What is remarkable about the season that Jake had is that he sat out of the second half of four games this season because of the lead that we had in the first half," Donart said.
Wallenfang, who averaged 176.1 yards per game, also had three TD runs called back via penalty.
Runner-up: Brett Kasper, QB, Two Rivers (2,579 yards, 28TDs).
Large Division Defensive Player of the Year
While Wallenfang terrorized defenses this season, he can attest there was one defense he couldn't figure out – Green Bay Southwest.
The Trojans limited Wallenfang to a season-low 74 yards and a big reason was linebacker Nathan Paup.
The son Trojans coach and former Packer Bryce Paup, the younger Paup played like his father did when he captured the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 1995.
Paup (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) was named the Fox River Classic Conference defensive player of the year and he received the John Anderson award, which is given to the state's top senior linebacker.
For the season Paup recorded 71 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 2 interceptions (both returned for TDs), 3 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries. His play earned Paup the FOX 11 Large Division Defensive Player of the year award.
Runner-up: Brad Ambrosius, DE, West De Pere.
Large Division Coach of the Year
After Level 4 there was no question who would win this award. Despite being 11-0, few gave Waupaca a chance against West De Pere in a Level 4 playoff game.
West De Pere was the two-time defending Division 3 state champion and had won 39 games in a row. All streaks come to an end and on Nov. 9, 2012, West De Pere's streak came crashing to the Field Turf at Papermaker Stadium in Kimberly as Waupaca beat the Phantoms, 16-14, on a field goal with 69 seconds to play.
The Comets recorded the biggest moment in Northeast Wisconsin this past season and Comets coach John Koronkiewicz was a big reason.
"This means a great deal for everybody," Koronkiewicz said after the game. "I couldn't ask for anything more than to make a (state) trip to Madison. That's everybody's dream at the beginning of the year."
Waupaca couldn't continue the momentum at state, falling 42-7 to Catholic Memorial, but a 12-1 record and the win of the year certainly qualify Koronkiewicz as the coach of the year.
Runner-up: Bryce Paup, Green Bay Southwest.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
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