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8-Player Football Awards: Defensive Player of the Year Finalists

11/20/2020, 2:00pm CST
By Travis Wilson

Gilman linebacker Julian Krizan

WSN 8-Player Football Awards

The WSN 8-Player Football Awards were launched in 2016 to recognize the outstanding players participating in reduced player football. Awards presented will be Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. All players are eligible regardless of grade level.

Each year, a preseason Watch List will be produced, then narrowed down to five finalists to be announced after the first week of playoff games. Winners will be announced next Wednesday.

These awards are not associated with any conference nor the WFCA awards, and are presented independently by


Dylan Ackerman, Newman Catholic - Ackerman was all over the field for Newman Catholic, leading the team in passing, rushing, and interceptions. In just five games, he tied for the state lead with five interceptions as a defensive back, recording 18 tackles for the Cardinals.

Mitch Douglas, Belmont - Belmont finished the year unbeaten, limiting teams to less than 10 points per game. Douglas was a big part of that success from his defensive end postion, with head coach Brandon Wiese calling him the best defensive lineman he has coached.

Julian Krizan, Gilman - Krizan was among the state leaders with 97 tackles for the Pirates, who went unbeaten in the regular season. The junior inside linebacker also recorded nine sacks and was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year.

Leo Taylor, Suring - Like most 8-player athletes, Taylor is an outstanding two-way player. As an offensive and defensive lineman, the senior 6'3", 245-pounder was a dominating figure up front. He had 33 tackles this season, with 12 of those going for a loss. 

Dawson Van Meter, Luck - Van Meter was a tackling machine for Luck this year, recording 65 stops with five tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in six games. He was an Honorable Mention All-State choice for the Cardinals last season.

About the Author

Travis Wilson serves as the General Manager, Football Editor, and contributing writer for other parts of the site. Wilson was selected as part of the Sports 40 Under 40 list by Coach & AD Magazine and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association for 2019. The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) named Travis the 2015 recipient of the Dave McClain Distinguished Service Award. He currently serves on the WFCA Executive Board as the Website and Communications Director and is a member of the Executive Board of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. A graduate of Richland Center High School and Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Travis was a three-sport athlete in high school (football, baseball, basketball) and currently resides in Reedsburg. You can follow him on Twitter at @travisWSN.

For the latest and most up to date football news and recruiting information, follow Travis on Twitter @travisWSN. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Travis at travis(at)

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