The Dave Krieg Award is given annually to the state's top senior quarterback as part of the WSN Senior Football Awards presented by Taco Bell. The award is named after former D.C. Everest and Milton College athlete Dave Krieg, who went on to play 12 seasons in the NFL and still ranks in the Top 15 all-time in most passing categories.
The pre-season watch list was trimmed down to 25 semi-finalists, and six finalists for the award have now been selected. Winners are announced the week of the state finals.
Dave Krieg Award Finalists:
John Eagan, Wautoma -- Eagan may be the top dual-threat quarterback in the state, surpassing 1000 yards both passing and rushing this season. In leading the Hornets to an 8-2 record and Level 2 playoff appearance, the senior completed 103 of 181 passes for 1547 yards with 22 touchdowns and rushed for 1212 yards and 16 more scores. For good measure he also caught 7 passes for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns. A co-South Central Conference Player of the Year as a junior, Eagan was a unanimous choice this year.
Joe Greif, Marquette -- In his first year as the varsity quarterback after playing wide receiver last year, Greif led the Hilltoppers to a share of the Greater Metro Conference crown, posting impressive numbers along the way. He completed 144 of 268 passes for 2458 yards with 17 touchdowns in ten games. He also led the team in rushing with 349 yards with 6 touchdowns. "Joe is a very versatile kid and a team captain," head coach Jeff Mazurczak said. "He is a very physically and mentally tough young man."
Chris Nelson, Wilmot -- Nelson has led the Panthers to back-to-back playoff appearances, including a share of the Southern Lakes Conference title this season. A three-year starter for head coach Mike Greinke, Nelson took his game to a new level this season, completing 136 of 221 passes for 2316 yards and 27 touchdowns through ten games. He also led the team in rushing touchdowns with 17 to go along with 661 yards on the ground. A good all-around athlete with ideal size, Nelson is a scholarship prospect at the quarterback position.
Jake Nelson, Milwaukee Lutheran -- Nelson didn't start until late in the season as a junior, but showed flashes of his ability in throwing for 17 touchdowns. He had one of the breakout performances of 2011 though, completing 192 of 305 passes for 2770 yards and 36 touchdowns in ten games. Both his yardage and touchdown totals are best in the state through Level 1 of the playoffs. Nelson burst onto the scene in Week 1 with a 521-yard, 6-touchdown performance in a win over Racine St. Catherine's. His 521 yards are third-best in state history. Nelson was named First Team All-Conference and Offensive Player of the Year in the North Shore Conference. "Jake can make all the throws," head coach Joseph Kalkopf said. "He is very accurate, especially throwing the deep ball. He had total command of our offense this year."
Nate Otto, Appleton North -- Otto continued to get better in his first year as the team's starting quarterback, allowing the Lightning to utilize the passing game more than they have in the past under head coach Rob Salm. He received unanimous First Team All-Conference honors in the new Valley Football Association-North after passing for 2254 yards and 23 touchdowns against just 4 interceptions, while completing 175 of 242 attempts. North shared the VFA-North title this season, with Otto also contributing as one of the best kickers in the state.
Jay Tollefson, West De Pere -- Tollefson is the ultimate playmaker from the quarterback position, able to take over a game in numerous ways. He led the Phantoms to the Division 3 state title last season and has them on a similar path this year. Despite rarely throwing the ball in the second half of games as West De Pere has dominated so much this year, Tollefson has managed to complete 79 of 133 passes for 1304 yards and 14 touchdowns. He is equally as deadly with his legs, where he is approaching 1000 yards on the season with 20 rushing touchdowns. He has five games this year of more than 100 rushing yards and five games of more than 100 passing yards. In a Week 5 win over Bay Conference runner-up Luxemburg-Casco, Tollefson completed 11 of 11 passes for 197 yards and 3 touchdowns while adding another score on the ground.