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 18 semi-finalists, and 11 finalists for the award have now been selected. Winners are announced the week of the state finals.
John Anderson Award Finalists:
Josh Berman, Menasha - Berman is a big-time playmaker as an outside linebacker, recording 69 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, and 15 sacks for the Bluejays and head coach Jeramie Korth. "Josh is a great football player with an instinct for the game that most kids don't have," said head coach Jeramie Korth. "His technique, long arms, and range make him very difficult to block."
Mike Bruner, Homestead - Bruner earned WFCA Honorable Mention All-State recognition last season and has been a standout for the Highlanders once again this year. In the nine regular season games he totaled 50 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 3 fumble recoveries, an interception, and scored a defensive touchdown. He holds several Division 1 scholarship offers.
Brad Dati, Brookfield East - Dati was a WFCA Honorable Mention All-State selection last season as the Spartans claimed the Division 2 state championship. In 12 games this year he has a team-best 131 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions with one defensive score. "He's an old-school, tough, smart football player that plays all over the field," said head coach Ben Farley.
C.J. Goetz, Catholic Memorial - Goetz is a returning WFCA All-State selection, cementing his status as elite player with a dynamite performance in last season's state title game. In just eight regular season games he totaled 118 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and a pair of sacks. He is a four-sport athlete who earned postseason conference honors in baseball and basketball last season and placed in the shot put at the WIAA Track and Field Meet. Goetz committed to Wisconsin in the off-season.
Reggie Jennings, Brookfield Central - Jennings is a returning WFCA All-State choice who committed to Northern Illinois over several other scholarship offers. "Reggie has had a great career at Brookfield Central and his name will go up with the other great that have played here," said head coach Jed Kennedy. "He has been our best player the last three years and is having his best campaign this season." Jennings has 67 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks through the first ten games this season.
Nick Leszczynski, Brookfield Central - Liszczynski teams with Jennings for the best linebacker duo in the state. He leads the team with 108 tackles this year, including 18 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions. "Nick is the definition of an old-school linebacker," said head coach Jed Kennedy. "He plays fast and is always looking for contact. He is the smartest football player we have."
Mason Platter, Menomonie - Platter is a dynamic playmaker on the edge for the Mustangs, using his long form to wreak havoc on the opposition. While he did not play at all in the second half of five blowout victories, he still put up impressive numbers. In the regular season he recorded 58 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks.
Clay Schueffner, Saint Mary's Springs - Schueffner is a three-year varsity standout who has 53 rushing touchdowns in his career and has excelled on defense. In the first 12 games (Springs received one forfeit), he has 103 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, and a pair of interceptions. In his career he has 378 tackles with 60 tackles for loss.
Marty Strey, Sun Prairie - The Cardinals' defense has allowed just 99 points this year, and Strey's versatility was a big reason for the success. Playing as an outside linebacker and rush end, he has accumulated 80 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions, and a pair of defensive scores. "He is the best leader I have ever had the pleasure of coaching in the past 21 years," said head coach Brian Kaminski. A preferred walk-on commit to Wisconsin, Strey is a returning WFCA All-State choice.
Mike Timm, Kettle Moraine - In a league with some outstanding defensive players, Timm is as good as any for head coach Justin Gumm and the Lasers. In 9 games during the regular season he totaled 128 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and an interception. "Sideline to sideline there is not a better defensive player in the state," said Gumm. Timm has also been used frequently on offense, including three rushing touchdowns in a 28-19 upset of Verona in Level 1 of the playoffs. He holds a scholarship offer from North Dakota.
Ben Turner, Stanley-Boyd - The Orioles are unbeaten this year against some excellent competition, and Turner has been one of the most important pieces on both sides of the ball. On defense, he is among state leaders with 160 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, and 14.5 sacks in 11 games. In a tough three-game opening stretch against Stratford, Regis, and Spencer/Columbus Catholic, he tallied a combined 57 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks.
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