Prep football is set to return to the Chippewa Valley this Friday, ending the long wait for most involved in the sport around the area.
As players prepare to strap up their helmets and pads, here’s a look at a few of the top performers to watch for this fall:
Maddux Allen, jr., QB, Cumberland: Allen is by far the most productive returning 11-man quarterback in the Leader-Telegram’s coverage area, having thrown for 2,227 yards and 23 touchdowns as just a sophomore. He was a second team All-Heart O’ North selection in his first year as a starter.
Jack Anderson, sr., QB/DB, Alma Center Lincoln: Anderson had never played under center until last season, but that didn’t stop him from leading all Wisconsin eight-man players in passing yards (2,642) and touchdowns (38). At the end of his junior season, he was one of five finalists for WisSports’ eight-man player of the year.
Tanner Marsh, sr., RB/LB, Mondovi: Marsh made up a stellar one-two punch with quarterback Carter Johnson last year that helped the Buffaloes reach the Division 6 state semifinals. With Johnson now at UW-La Crosse, Marsh will look to build on a season where he rushed for 1,414 yards, notched a combined 23 touchdowns and earned second team All-Northwest honors.
Jack Martens, sr., WR, Cumberland: The only returning member of last year’s All-Northwest first team offense, Martens caught a state-best 94 passes as a junior for the Beavers. He also finished third in receiving yards (1,190) and sixth in receiving touchdowns (13) while serving as a major threat from both outside and while crossing the pocket for a shovel pass.
He’s received Division I offers from North Dakota State, South Dakota, Dartmouth, Columbia and Fordham.
Jack Meyer, jr., K, Chippewa Falls: If you want to see some impressive boots, Chippewa Falls is your stop. Meyer has been posting videos online in the offseason showing him kick 60-yard field goals and 75-yard punts. Kicking World, which saw him up close in a camp this summer, said he potentially has the strongest kicking leg in the North-Central/Midwest, if not the majority of the country for the class of 2021.
Cooper Nichols, jr., RB/LB, Stanley-Boyd: Nichols was an All-Region selection and a All-Cloverbelt first team specialist after accumulating 548 yards on the ground and 469 yards as a receiver as a sophomore.
Will Ockler, sr., RB/LB, Menomonie: Ockler was a first team All-Big Rivers selection at linebacker and an All-Northwest special mention. Offensively, he’ll share duties in the backfield with DeVauntaye Parker.
DeVauntaye Parker, sr., RB/DB, Menomonie: A first team All-Big Rivers selection at running back as a junior, Parker was one of a committee of Menomonie backs last season that surpassed 600 yards on the ground. He’s also a multi-year starter on the defensive side of the ball.
Tate Sauerwein, sr., RB/LB, Lake Holcombe/Cornell: A first team All-Lakeland pick at both running back and linebacker last year and the conference’s offensive player of the year, Sauerwein ran for 1,071 yards and 11 touchdowns while making 70 tackles and recovering seven fumbles.
Kayden Warren, sr., OL/DL, Rice Lake: The 6-foot-4 lineman announced his commitment to play at the next level for the three-time defending Football Championship Subdivision champion North Dakota State Bison last week. On the defensive side of the ball, he recorded 37 tackles and a forced fumble last season with the Warriors.