The John Anderson Award is given annually to the state's top senior linebacker as part of the WSN Senior Football Awards. The award is named after John Anderson, a former Waukesha South standout who went on to star at the University of Michigan and later with the Green Bay Packers.
The pre-season watch list was trimmed down to 15 semi-finalists, and five finalists for the award have now been selected. Winners are announced the week of the state finals.
John Anderson Award Finalists:
Troy Albrecht, Bay Port - Recently announced as not only a First Team All-Conference selection, but the FRCC Defensive Player of the Year, Albrecht has 75 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and a pair of forced fumbles through 10 games. "He was without a doubt the leader of our defense and made plays all over the field," head coach Gary Westerman said. "He's one of the most physical kids I have seen in some time."
Ty DeForest, Marshall - "I'm not sure we're a .500 team without him," head coach Matt Kleinheinz said of his star senior. "He gets licked on almost every play on offense as an option quarterback, punts, kicks, and returns kickoffs for us." Oh yeah, he's outstanding on defense as well, earning First Team All-State recognition last season. For his senior campaign he had 78 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, and a defensive score during the 9-game regular season.
Max Fisher, Waterford - Fisher will almost certainly be a First Team All-Conference selection in the Southern Lakes for a third straight season. In 11 games he recorded 155 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 1 sack as the Wolverines limited opponents to just over 12 points per game. "Max has called our defense since his junior year, and has outstanding football instincts, which causes him to be able to make plays all over the field on both run and pass," said head coach Adam Bakken.
Jake Whalen, Wausau West - "Jake is the best all-around football player I have coached in 30 years," veteran head coach Kevin Grundy said. "Every team we faced this year had to plan for Jake on both sides of the ball." Lining up at fullback for the Warriors, Whalen was the co-Offensive Player of the Year in the VFA-North along with the Defensive Player of the Year. Through 10 games he had 104 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, and a sack.
Noel Winch, Stevens Point - "I have never coached a player whose single effort had such an impact on a team," said veteran Stevens Point coach Pete McAdams. "He is a big hitter and covers the run from sideline to sideline. First the first time, a player earned our team's Defensive Player of the Game honor in all 9 games." Recently announced as the Linebacker of the Year and co-Defensive Player of the Year in the VFA-South, Winch recorded 113 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks during the 9-game regular season.