Grid rivals find common ground in Minnesota
February 6, 2013 3:00PM
Jordan Kos of Carmel swerves through Addison Trail defenders during action this past fall. He will sign a national letter of intent with Winona State. | Patrick Gleason ~ For the Sun-Times
FB PLAYERS TAKE IT TO NEXT LEVEL
Some of the area’s top senior prep football players signed letters to intent Wednesday to play at the collegiate level. Here’s where they are going:
Ryan Sweeney — Winona State
Davonte Wilcox — Winona State
John Whitfield — Grand View
Jack Johnson — North Central
Cody Gwinn — Southwest Baptist
Jacob Ottersen — Taylor
Tommy Kutschke — Brown
Andrew Clifford — Drake
Danny Nowak — Washington (St. Louis)
Drake Randall — Missouri University of Science & Tech.
Chris Kass — North Central
David Lowe — Augustana
Austin Piekarski — Carroll
Erik Fuller — Minnesota State
David Starkey — Butler
Austin Swenson — Rose Hulman
Direll Clark — Winona State
A.J. Goggin — Air Force
Andrew Spencer — Winona State
Justin Bergeron — Winona State
Blake Parsons — Wis.-Stout
Ty Summers — Wis.-Oshkosh
Dillon Falotico — College of DuPage
Steven O’Block — McKendree
Lake Forest Academy
Alex Swanson — Denison
Felix Schildorfer — Pennsylvania
Connor Schrader — Northern Michigan
LAKE COUNTY TO WINONA STATE
(Already at Winona State/class is next year’s)
Jeremy Neuman (Lakes High School) senior punter
Jarrett Wood (Vernon Hills) Redshirt-freshman linebacker
Zachary Lowe (Warren) R-sophomore offensive lineman
James Poliquin (Warren) senior offensive lineman
Jordan Koss (Carmel) R-freshman running back
(Will arrive in the fall)
Direll Clark (Lakes) running back
Justin Bergeron (Lakes) wideout/defensive back
Andrew Spencer (Lakes) wideout
Ryan Sweeney (Warren) defensive back
Davonte Wilcox (Warren) running back
Updated: March 8, 2013 7:20AM
Ten things about Winona State University’s football program ... one for each of the Lake County high school grads who will be on the Warrior roster next fall:
■ 1) Winona is an NCAA Division 2 powerhouse, and is 141-55 in 17 years under coach Tom Sawyer, including 10-2 last year.
■ 2) Sawyer’s only losing season as coach at Winona was his first, 1996.
■ 3) The school is located on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, pretty close to LaCrosse (Wis.) The key for parents is that they can cover the 280 miles between Gurnee and Winona without having to pay a toll.
■ 4) Sean Hertz, one of the first really good football players to graduate from Lakes after it split off from Antioch, went to Winona State and played wide receiver. He was there six years — one as a redshirt, one as an injury redshirt, and four playing seasons. He finished up last fall, as did Carmel grad Ryan Williams (strong safety).
■ 5) In 2011, the best running back in Lake County was Carmel’s Jordan Kos. In 2012, the best running back in Lake County was Lakes’ Direll Clark. They will be teammates at Winona. And if you want a third option in the backfield, joining them is Warren speedster Davonte Wilcox.
■ 6) Kos redshirted (didn’t play, but didn’t lose a year of eligibility) because Winona State already had senior Rayon Simmons. Simmons rushed for 1,774 yards and 19 TDs last season and also caught 32 passes.
He rushed for 5,246 yards in his three-year career at Winona, but he’s now gone, leaving a lot of carries out there for new running backs.
■ 7) Winona competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (basically Minnesota schools) and its champion goes to the NCAA Division 2 playoffs.
■ 8) Last year, Winona finished second in its league. The best team in the NSIC that doesn’t make the Division 2 playoffs gets invited to the “Mineral Springs Bowl,” and plays against a like team from a league based in Missouri. In the 2012 Mineral Springs Bowl, Winona slaughtered Lincolnwood (Mo.) 41-17. The bowl game is always played in Missouri.
■ 9) This has nothing to do with football, but Warren grad Jeff Fedor was a star tennis player at Winona in the 1990s.
■ 10) Antioch grad Chris Petersen, a big lineman, played at Winona through 2008.
■ TRIVIAL PURSUIT: The first and only time these tired ol’ eyes watched a Winona State team play in person was a basketball game nearly 40 years ago.
It’s remembered still today only because in the second half of the game, the Winona players — the visiting team — objected to some of the things being said to and about them by the home-team fans in the stands and literally charged into the stands to brawl with the hecklers. bench and went into the stands, triggering a brawl.
That is something you don’t see often, and something you never forget.