Catholic Memorial defensive back Alex Oechsner
The Jim Leonhard Award is given annually to the top senior defensive back as part of the WSN Senior Football Awards. The award is named after former Flambeau High School and University of Wisconsin athlete Jim Leonhard, who went on to great success in the NFL with the Bills, Ravens, Jets, Broncos, and Saints.
The pre-season watch list was trimmed down to 15 semi-finalists, and six finalists for the award have now been selected. Winners will be announced the week of November 23rd.
Whitefish Bay has allowed just three first-half point this season, as the Blue Dukes are unbeaten heading into the final game of the year against Catholic Memorial. Senior Grover Bortolotti has been a catalyst in the secondary, with 28 tackles and three interceptions along with six pass breakups. He's also the team's leading rusher, with more than 700 yards on the ground. "He is a field general and controls the heartbeat of this team," said head coach Jake Wolter. "He controls all the secondary calls and checks. He has an old school mentality and never leaves the field."
Slinger senior Ayden Dautermann was an excellent two-way skill position player for the Owls, hauling in 20 passes for 599 yards and eight touchdowns on offense. He was also a shutdown corner on defense, where when he was challenged, he often ended up with the ball. In six games, he recorded four interceptions to go with 16 tackles for head coach Bill Jacklin.
Jackson Labs of Rhinelander is tied for the state lead with six interceptions this season, as he's made a number of big plays in key situations for the Hodags. In an overtime win over Antigo, he broke up a potential game-winning pass and had a score-saving tackle as well. Labs was also the leading receiver for the Hodags. "Jackson has exceptional athletic gifts and flashy stats, but also does the dirty work of defense, following through on secondary force responsibilities and humbly taking coaching to improve his technique," said head coach Aaron Kraemer.
Alex Oeschner is a versatile player who has been an impact performer for the past three years with Catholic Memorial. A member of state championship squads in 2018 and 2019, Oechsner has 42 tackles this season, raising his career total to 132 to go with six interceptions. A talented multi-sport athlete, Oechsner is committed to North Dakota State.
Hunter Wohler of Muskego was the WFCA Large School Defensive Player of the Year last season, and he has a strong shot at the award again in 2020. Considered by many as the top defensive back prospect to come out of the state in many years, the Wisconsin commit has 67 tackles this year with a pair of interceptions. Patrolling sideline-to-sideline and deep middle to in the box, Wohler has 344 tackles in his career.
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