It wasn’t that long ago – 2008 – that Brock Jensen helped lead the Waupaca Comet football team to its second Division 3 state championship and an undefeated season.
He’ll compete this weekend in another championship game.
Jensen, a sophomore, is the starting quarterback for North Dakota State. The Bison will take on Sam Houston State at 1 p.m. (CST) Saturday, Jan. 7, in the FCS national title game in Frisco, Texas. Area football fans that want to watch the game don’t have to travel to Texas, as it’ll be broadcast live on ESPN2 and online at watchESPN.com.
Jensen’s journey from Waupaca to Fargo, N.D., received a boost from a former area high school football player. Tim Polasek played high school football at Iola-Scandinavia and is in his sixth season with the Bison as an assistant coach and recruiter.
Polasek, always on the lookout for high school talent, found out about Jensen through Comet coach John Koronkiewicz.
“He did a good job of making us aware of Brock,” he said. “When we signed him, he was No. 2 or No. 3 on our board. I think we offered (scholarships) to three quarterbacks ahead of him.”
Leading the Comets to a 21-20 win over Reedsburg in the 2008 Division 3 state championship game didn’t hurt Jensen’s chances.
“What we saw in him was a body of work,” Polasek said. “He has the size and the measurables and he’s a leader.”
After red-shirting as a freshman, Jensen eventually won the starting quarterback job, only to break his collarbone.
This season, his first full season as the starter, the Bison are 13-1 and Jensen has completed 209 of 306 passes for 2,404 yards and 13 touchdowns while throwing only three interceptions.
“I think Brock’s matured and developed,” Polasek said. “He’s right on schedule and to be honest, he’s probably just scratching the surface.”
NDSU coach Craig Bohl expects the game to feature plenty of offense.
“You’re going to see two really explosive offenses, even though we’re defensive-minded coaches,” he said. “Both times we have played Sam Houston State have been phenomenal football games that have come down to the last series. Nobody could stop each other. I don’t think that will happen in this game.”
Jensen isn’t the only player or coach on the Bison roster from Wisconsin. Safety Colten Heagle played high school football at Kimberly and backup noseguard Justin Juckem is from Chilton. Lucas Albers, a 2011 Iola-Scandinavia High School graduate, is a redshirt freshman tight end, while Nick Goeser, another I-S graduate, is an assistant coach and recruiter.
“Those kids have all done a nice job for us,” Polasek said. “Lucas is up to about 248 points and I’m excited for him.”
Polasek said the Bison get plenty of support from Fargo, a city of just over 100,000 on the North Dakota/Minnesota border.
“There’s a lot of excitement in the community,” he said. “It’s where North Dakota State belongs. We believe we belong in this game.”
The team left for Texas Wednesday, Jan. 4.
“We’re going there for one reason and one reason only: to win a game,” Polasek said.