Zach Kreklow and Luke Wilz, both of Manawa, were each selected to Wisconsin all-star football teams. Kreklow was selected to the 7th grade team, while Wilz was selected to the 8th grade team.
This is the first year that Football University has organized the 8th grade National Championship and the 7th grade Regional Championship. The program is designed to feature the best youth athletes selected from the best youth leagues and top youth programs from around the region and around the country. A total of 40 states are participating in the program.
Both Kreklow, 13, and Wilz, 15, were nominated by Bob Sell, the Manawa varsity football coach. Sell said he nominated both athletes because they are the best football players from their respective grades. Sell coached each of them for four years in the youth football program.
“I look forward to having them on varsity in a couple of years,” Sell said.
Kreklow and Wilz said they were unaware that they were nominated to play on the Wisconsin all-star teams, but both said it was a big honor to be selected to the team. They also wanted to thank coach Sell for nominating them.
Kreklow, who plays running on offense and linebacker on defense, said playing with some of the best 7th grade football players in Wisconsin was something he was looking forward to. He added that it was strange going to the practice at Carroll College during the weekend of Nov. 19 because he had to introduce himself to his new teammates.
The first games of the tournaments for the Wisconsin teams were held on Sunday, Nov. 27 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. against teams from Minnesota. The 7th grade Regional Championship consists of two guaranteed games. Since the 7th grade Wisconsin team lost 21-7 to the Minnesota team, the Wisconsin team will play its final game this weekend in Illinois.
Before playing in the game, Kreklow said he was looking forward to playing under the lights in the Metrodome and playing on the turf.
“It’s going to be pretty awesome, a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Kreklow said.
Despite the loss, Kreklow said he enjoyed playing in the Metrodome and the warmth of the dome.
The 8th grade Wisconsin team Wilz played on at the Metrodome fared better, winning 16-7.
Prior to playing in the game, Wilz said he was looking forward to playing in the Metrodome because “a lot of great football players have played there.” Wilz, who plays running back on offense and linebacker on defense, also mentioned that he was the main kicker on the team, so he was hoping to start the game with the opening kickoff.
That goal was accomplished when was able to start the game by kicking off to the Minnesota team. The 8th grade National Championship is single elimination with the championship game taking place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on January 7, 2012. With the victory over Minnesota, the 8th grade Wisconsin team will play again, with the opponent and date not known at press time.