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THE 2020-2021 COVID SEASON…WHAT IF? PART 1

There were no state championships in the 2020 season due to the COVID protocols.  The year was split into two parts…the regular 2020 fall season and the 2020 (2021) alternate Spring season.  Fall was the most challenging as the teams that were able to play were scheduling opponents like it was the early days of the sport (1890’s-1920’s) when it was a week-to-week scramble to fill the spot for the next game. 


After the two seasons, The WFCA released their All-state teams on May 17, 2021.  Travis Wilson of WisSports posted his year-end review the next day on May 18.  Travis posted his ratings the top teams for the All-Season team rankings, 10-20 schools plus several special mentions overall.  the Large Schools (1,000 students or more) having 16 rated teams.  The Medium Schools (999-400 students) had 15 rated teams, the Small Schools (399 students or less) had 20 rated teams. For the 8-player teams, 10 teams were rated by Travis.  In all, he got to see firsthand many of the top schools during the seasons.  On December 1, 2020, he did a recap of the teams, players, and moments that defined the Fall 2020 season. 


The recap posted on May 18, 2021, for Large Schools listed a premier battle between Muskego (The 2018 and 2019 undefeated Division 1 champions) vs. Fond du Lac (12-1 in 2018 and 9-2 in 2019), two of the season powerhouses for the COVID seasons.  I looked up WIAA playoff schedules for 2018 and 2019 and the two schools were in different qualifying brackets, so in 2020 the two teams had a real chance to meet.  Clearly these were the two top Division 1 squads. Looking at the other divisions there was not as clear choice for a potential championship, but I have my preferences as to what would have been great matchups.


DIVISION 1 Muskego vs. Fond du Lac


#3 on Travis Wilson’s list was Sun Prairie (Now Sun Prairie East) which went 6-0 during the Spring season but because the Madison schools in the Big Eight Conference (Like Milwaukee Public Schools) they failed to field teams for either of the split season sessions Sun Prairie played Verona, Middleton and Beloit Memorial twice.  #4 was Franklin who played in the Fall.  While the WIAA didn’t officially have a state title they allowed some schools to matchup in a Level 1 and Level 2 round to give some sort of a playoff feel to the year.  In Muskego’s bracket Franklin, Menomonee Falls and Arrowhead were the other potential opponents in what was called a Super-Pod.  Franklin was 5-0 before their expected battle with Menomonee Falls but they cancelled the season as the school went to virtual teaching and the game was declared a forfeit win for Falls.


At the start of the season Muskego’s first two games were cancelled but they won their next regularly conference game with their first victory against Arrowhead, that being their only close game, a 32-24 victory. The rest were blowouts.  In what would have been week nine their game with Waukesha South was cancelled but Muskego was able to schedule a game with Hudson to fill the schedule.  The Super-Pod had Muskego first meet with Arrowhead for a second time and this turned out to be a 38-0 win.  The next week they defeated Menomonee Falls 31-7 to end the year with a 9-0 record.  Muskego was known in 2020 as mainly a defensive powerhouse with a very good offense.  I should note that the Warriors averaged 40.4 points per game (Not a slouchy offence) and defensively they allowed only 66 points, a 7.3 average.  They posted three shutouts, four games with allowing only seven points but they did allow 14 points in a 48-14 victory over Kettle Moraine in the third game.  While defense carried them, they were well balanced overall.

The #2 Fond du Lac Cardinals sat out the fall session and they had a mixed opponent season schedule in the Spring with teams that were available.  There was no Super-Pod and so they were able to post a 7-0 record.  It’s not that their defense was poor as they allowed an average of only 14.9 points per game.  It was really on offense where they shown brightly as they averaged 58.4 points per game!!!  Their 47-7 win over Appleton East was the “low” point of the season.  In their other six games Fond du Lac scored over 60 points. Their season ending battle against Kimberly (6-1) turned out to be a 71-47 win.


So, from the obvious great records, I think these two teams would have marched their way to Camp Randall and possibly the best matchup in years for the Division 1 title.  Check out the WFCA All-State teams.  Muskego had five first team players and Fond du Lac had three but the Cardinals had five players make the honorable mention list while the Warriors had none.  Of the three Fondy players to make the first team Braelonn Allen made it on both sides of the ball as an offensive back and as a defensive back to give his team four overall first team players.


How would they have matched up offensively? Defensively?


Muskego Passing

QB Dylan Krause   18-28-2-530-8

Fond du Lac Passing

QB Kyle Walljasper   36-57-3-769-9

Muskego Rushing

Alex Current           66-973-14.7-16

Josh Bulski              122-802-6.6-8

Carson Holman      43-595-13.8-6  

Laydyn Rogers       27-244-9.0-6

Fond du lac Rushing

Kyle Walljasper        77-1,467-19.1-21

Braelon Allen           71-1,047-14.7-21

Muskego Receiving

Alex Jamroziak        10-301-30.1-4

Fond du Lac Receiving

Tyler Collien               18-397-22.1-6

Team Stats

Muskego Offense

530 yards passing     2,959 yards rushing   3,489 total yards

A 387.7 yards per game average with a 9.8 yards per carry avg.

Fond du lac Offense

905 yards passing   2,825 yards rushing   3,730 total yards

A 532.9 yards per game average with a 13.0 yards per carry avg.

Muskego Defense

893 yards passing   802 yards rushing   1,695 total yards

A 188.3 yards per game average with 31.5 sacks and 10 interceptions

Fond du Lac Defense

844 yards passing   952 yards rushing   1,796 total yards

A 256.6 yards per game average with 13 sacks and 5 interceptions


Very well balanced for both teams.  The final game for Fondy was the 70-47 shoot-out with Kinberly.  Kyle Walljasper was 4 of 7 passing with 83 yards and a score but on the ground, he carried 15 times for 306 yards and five touchdowns.  Hed has since gone on to star at the University of Minnesota-Duluth where last season he ran for 705 yards and 11 touchdowns while passing for 772 yards and 10 scores.  His backfield teammate that day against Kimberly, Braelon Allen, carried the ball only 12 times but gained 278 yards and scored four times!  Allen just completed three seasons at UW-Madison, gaining 3,494 yards and 35 touchdowns.  Allen was just recently drafted by the New York Jets.  Walljasper was named by the WFCA as the Offensive Player-of the Year.


Two-way player and Defensive Player-of-the Year was defensive back Hunter Wohler who earned that honor for the second year in a row.  Hunter was also named the Gatorade Wisconsin Player-of-the Year and was named twice (2019 and 2020) to the Associated Press Player-of-the-Year.  During his three-year career with the Warriors Hunter posted 355 tackles, nine interceptions as he helped Muskego to a 37-0 record in his three years on the varsity team.


Before I end this story, I want to point out a few stars for Kimberly in the game against Fond du Lac.  The Papermakers were a good team that had only allowed 53 points prior to the game with Fond du Lac.  They were ranked #6 in the WSN (WisSports Network) and might have been higher if the score had been closer.  They end the year with a 6-1 record.  In the 71-47 loss quarterback Caden Pendleton completed 19 of 29 passes, no interceptions, for 356 yards and two scores.   Caleb Frazer ran for 189 yards and three touchdowns while receivers Owen Pawlikowski (9 catches for 181 yards) and Cam Wnek (Hauled in six balls for 115 yards and a score).  Kimberly gained 639 yards that day but allowed Fond du Lac to gain a total of 606 yards on the ground along with their 83 yards through the air (689 total yards).  What a game.


So, who would have won?  We’ll never know but it would have been exciting to watch.


More next time as I explore the 2020-21 COVID season and maybe some predictions. 

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