WIAC football: League champion Whitewater dominates all-WIAC honors list

·8 min read

Nov. 18—The undefeated and nationally third-ranked UW-Whitewater football team placed 19 representatives on the all-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football team—including several top awards:

Senior defensive back Mackenzie Balanganayi of Palatine, Ill., was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Senior quarterback Max Meylor of Mount Horeb was named Offensive Player of the Year.

Freshman defensive back Kyle Koelblinger of Crystal Lake, Ill., earned WIAC Newcomer of the Year honors.

Sixth-year Warhawks coach Kevin Bullis shared WIAC Coach of the Year honors. Bullis takes a 67-9 career record (10-0 this season) into Saturday's NCAA Division III playoff opener at home against Greenville (Illinois). Whitewater earned NCAA III runner-up honors in 2019.

Meylor was joined on the offensive first team by offensive linemen Kyle Gannon of Waukesha West and Douglas Kosch of Bridgeview, Illinois; running back Alex Peete of Ringwood, Illinois; and wide receiver Ryan Wisniewski of Sparta.

Joining Balanganayi on the first-team defense were defensive lineman Kyle Gallagher of Niles, Illinois; linebacker Ryan Liszka of Naperville, Illinois; defensive backs Egon Hein of St. Charles, Illinois, and Mark McGrath of Lisle, Illinois; and specialist Ryan Ponick of Stanley-Boyd.

Balanganayi totaled 25 tackles, including a team-best 6.5 for loss, during the regular season. His 4.5 sacks tied for the team lead. He ranks among the top 10 in the WIAC in tackles for loss, fumbles forced (two) and fumbles recovered (one) and leads the Warhawks with nine quarterback hurries.

Meylor led the WIAC and ranks among the top 20 nationally in pass completion percentage (70.4%), passing efficiency (183.2), passing touchdowns (29) and yards per pass attempt (8.94), He has thrown for 2,273 yards in 10 games.

Peete, a three-time all-WIAC first-team pick, gained 920 yards in 164 carries (5.6 per attempt) during the regular season. He ran for 15 touchdowns, leading the WIAC and ranking 17th nationally. Peete also has caught 17 passes for 104 yards and two scores.

Wisniewski, a three-time all-WIAC honoree, has caught 44 passes for 745 yards (16.9 per catch) with 11 touchdowns, ranking second in the WIAC and 17th nationally.

Gannon—now a three-time all-WIAC honoree—and Kosch protected Meylor and Peete to help the Warhawks average 40.1 per game, lead the WIAC in passing efficiency (175.5) and rank second in rushing offense (201.5 yards per game).

Gannon also was named the WIAC's Max Sparger Scholar-Athlete of the Year, in honor of the former league commissioner.

Gallagher totaled 18 tackles, including 4.5 for loss and two sacks, plus three quarterback hurries. Liszka has 31 tackles, two interceptions and one forced fumble.

Hein and McGrath both earned WIAC Defensive Player of the Week honors during the regular season. Hein has a team-best 46 tackles, two for loss, along with one interception, one forced fumble and seven pass breakups. McGrath, now a two-time first-team all-WIAC pick, has 38 tackles, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and four pass breakups.

Koelblinger ranks third on the team with 39 tackles, two for loss, with two interceptions, three pass breakups, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble. He also made the all-WIAC second team along with linebacker Shane McGrail of Plainfield, Illinois, kicker Matt Maldonado of Montgomery, Illinois, and return Dain Hudson of Waukesha West.

Edgerton product Reed Farrington, a freshman defensive lineman at Whitewater, earned all-WIAC honorable mention. He has recorded 17 tackles, 6.5 for loss, with four sacks.

Other Warhawks earning honorable mention were tight end Jared Zausch of Ozaukee; offensive lineman Ethan Kee of Plano, Illinois; and wide receiver Tyler Holte of Elgin, Illinois.

UW-La Crosse defensive lineman Ryan Gengler, a senior from Delavan-Darien, was a first-team all-WIAC pick. Gengler totaled 22 tackles, three for loss with 1.5 sacks, recovered a fumble and broke up two passes for the Eagles (8-2), who will visit Albion (Michigan) College at 11 a.m. Saturday in an NCAA III first-round playoff game.




(Hometown/high school in parentheses)


Quarterback—Max Meylor, sr., Whitewater (Mount Horeb).

Running backs—Alex Peete, sr., Whitewater (Ringwood, Ill./Johnsburg); Joey Stutzman, jr., La Crosse (Lake Zurich, Ill.).

Wide receivers—Levy Hamer, jr., Stout (Chicago, Ill./St. Laurence); Jake Simuncak, sr., La Crosse (South Milwaukee); Ryan Wisniewski, sr., Whitewater (Sparta).

Tight end—Ben Beise, sr., River Falls (Loretto, Minn./West Lutheran).

Offensive linemen—Mike Bertoia, so., La Crosse (Lake Zurich, Ill.); Kyle Gannon, sr., Whitewater (Waukesha/West); Douglas Kosch, sr., Whitewater (Bridgeview, Ill./St. Laurence); Hunter Schultz, sr., Oshkosh (Brooklyn/Oregon).

Center—Mike Olsen, grad, Oshkosh (Hartland/Arrowhead).

All-purpose back—Arthur Cox, so, Stout (Dixon, Ill.).


Defensive linemen—Ted Androli, sr., River Falls (Kenyon, Minn./Kenyon-Wanamingo); Mackenzie Balanganayi, sr., Whitewater (Palatine, Ill.); Kyle Gallagher, jr., Whitewater (Niles, Ill./Notre Dame College Prep); Ryan Gengler, sr., La Crosse (Delavan/Delavan-Darien).

Linebackers—Tory Jandin, sr., Oshkosh (Forestville/Brussels Southern Door); Kameron Kryzanski, sr., Stevens Point (Thorp); Ryan Liszka, jr., Whitewater (Naperville, Ill./Benet Academy); Rusty Murphy, sr., La Crosse (Cudahy).

Defensive backs—Eli Alt, sr., DB, La Crosse (Lone Rock/Spring Green River Valley); Egon Hein, so., DB, Whitewater (St. Charles, Ill./North); Mark McGrath, sr., DB, Whitewater (Lisle, Ill.); Kyle Scharenbroch, jr., DB, Oshkosh (Appleton/East).


Kicker—Brady Frantal, fr., K, Eau Claire (Appleton/North)

Punter—Sean Parker, sr., P, La Crosse (Portland, Ore./Westview)

Kick returner—Jake Simuncak, sr., KR, La Crosse (South Milwaukee)

Special teams utility—Ryan Ponick, sr., Special Teams Utility, Whitewater (Stanley/Stanley-Boyd)


Offensive Player of the Year—Max Meylor, Whitewater.

Defensive Player of the Year—Mackenzie Balanganayi, Whitewater.

Special Teams Player of the Year—Jake Simuncak, La Crosse.

Newcomer of the Year—Kyle Koelblinger, Whitewater.

George Chryst Co-Coaches of the Year—Kevin Bullis, Whitewater; Matt Walker, River Falls.

Max Sparger Scholar-Athlete—Kyle Gannon, Whitewater.


Quarterback—Colin Schuetz, sr., Platteville (Aviston, Ill./Breese Mater Dei Catholic)

Running backs—Austin Belot, sr., Eau Claire (Neenah); Luke Fugate, sr., RB, River Falls (Platteville).

Wide receivers—Arthur Cox, so., Stout (Dixon, Ill.); Austin Guy, jr., Platteville (Orangeville, Ill.); Darius Jones, sr., Eau Claire (Ramsey, Minn./Anoka).

Tight end—Justin Kasuboski, sr., Oshkosh (Omro).

Offensive linemen—Blake Bury, so., Platteville (Davis, Ill./Durand); Jacob Foss, so., Stout (Eden Prairie, Minn.); Alex Klecker, so., River Falls (River Falls); Seth Mitchell, jr., Eau Claire (De Pere).

Center—Ian Carter, sr., River Falls (Platteville).

All-purpose back—Ben Beise, sr., River Falls (Loretto, Minn./West Lutheran)


Defensive linemen—Tyler Bacon, jr., Platteville (Johnston, Iowa); Brandon Kolgen, jr., Oshkosh (Appleton/North); Trenton LaCombe, sr., Oshkosh (Seymour); Trevor Nelson, sr., Eau Claire (Hammond/St. Croix Central).

Linebackers—Ben Ertz, sr., River Falls (Glen Haven/River Ridge); Shane McGrail, jr., Whitewater (Plainfield, Ill./North); Andy Metcalf, sr., River Falls (La Crosse/Logan); AJ Spychala, sr., La Crosse (Muskego).

Defensive backs—Max Brower, sr., La Crosse (The Woodlands, Texas/St. Thomas); Michael Brown, fr., River Falls (Victoria, Minn./Chaska); Cannon Griner, so., Stout (Mesa, Ariz./Red Mountain); Kyle Koelblinger, fr., Whitewater (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge).


Kicker—Matt Maldonado, fr., Whitewater (Montgomery, Ill./Yorkville).

Punter—Carter Unger, jr., Stevens Point (Waukesha/South).

Kick returner—Dain Hudson, jr., Whitewater (Waukesha/West).

Special teams utility—Scott Gustafson, jr,, Stout (Victoria, Minn./Chanhassen).


Eau Claire—Joe Swanson, sr., TE (Osceola). La Crosse—Alex Bongers, jr., C (Nerstrand, Minn./Bethlehem Academy); Will Josten, so., TE (Onalaska/Holmen); Brad Tobin, sr., All-Purpose Back (Franklin). Oshkosh—Kobe Berghammer, so., QB (Cumberland); Peter MacCudden, so., RB (Waukesha/West); Tony Stever, so., WR (Kewaskum). Platteville—Brandt Stare, jr., WR (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley). River Falls—Kole Hinrichsen, sr., QB, (Farmington, Minn.). Stevens Point—Nick Retterath, jr., OL (Medford). Stout—Sean Borgerding, jr., QB (Spring Valley); Justin Schlangen, jr., C (Ham Lake, Minn./Blaine). Whitewater—Tyler Holte, jr., WR (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward Central Catholic); Ethan Kee, sr., C (Plano, Ill.); Jared Zausch, sr., TE (Saukville/Ozaukee).


Eau Claire—Alex Mashak, sr., LB (Lodi). La Crosse—Trevar Helland, sr., DB (Lindenhurst, Ill./Stoughton); Jack Kelly, so., DL (Plover/Stevens Point). Oshkosh—Brandon Hughes, sr., DL (West Allis/Brookfield Central); Carson Raddatz, fr., DB (Fond du Lac). Platteville—Sam Smith, jr., LB (Anoka, Minn.); Aidan Tyk, jr., DB, (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln Way West). River Falls—Dylan Brown, fr., DB (Mequon/Homestead); Bailey Germain, sr., DB (New Richmond); Drew Hahn, so., DL (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland). Stevens Point—Berkley Corvino, sr., DL (Weston/Schofield D.C. Everest). Whitewater—Reed Farrington, fr., DL (Edgerton).


Eau Claire—Cole Dunbar, jr., Special Teams Player (Kirkland, Ill./Hiawatha). Platteville—Hunter Grams, sr., P (Dane/Lodi); Andrew Schweigert, jr., K (Sussex/Hamilton); Nate Yencer, sr., Special Teams Player (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley). River Falls—Cade Henry, River Falls (Sophomore, Placekicker, Yorkville, Ill. (Yorkville). Stout—Jack Meyer, fr., K (Chippewa Falls).


Eau Claire—Carmelo Rosado, sr., DB (Beaver Dam). La Crosse—Gurtej Grewal, sr., DL (Milwaukee/Riverside). Oshkosh—Mike Kremer, sr., LB (Eagle/Hales Corners Whitnall). Platteville—Brett Burant, sr., OL (Stevens Point/Pacelli). River Falls—Justin Parisot, jr., OL (Hiawatha, Ill./Kirkland). Stevens Point—Tyler Van Ess, sr., DB (Two Rivers). Stout—Rex Meikle, so., DL (Sturgeon Bay). Whitewater—Aaron Sturtevant, jr., LB (Burlington).

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting