North squad holds on to defeat South
By Greg Seubert
Players selected for the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-Star Games made an impact as seniors on their respective high school teams.
The five area players on the small-school North team – one from Iola-Scandinavia and four from Amherst – capped their high school careers on a positive note July 16 with a 28-24 win over the South squad at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium in Oshkosh.
The North roster included Iola-Scandinavia’s Caleb Loken and Amherst’s Tyler Biadasz, Garrett Groshek, Ben Gutschow and Amaziah McCall.
Loken, a first-team all-Central Wisconsin-8 Conference wide receiver and defensive back for the Thunderbirds last season, played defensive back and on special teams.
“It was truly an honor to end my career playing with some of the best players in Wisconsin,” he said. “It’s definitely something I’ll remember.”
Meanwhile, Groshek shared quarterback duties with Fall Creek’s Cody Folkers and capped the North team’s first drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Little Chute’s Parker Gloudemans.
Groshek and Biadasz were named the CWC-8’s offensive and defensive players of the year last year and helped lead Amherst to the WIAA Division 5 state championship. Both players are now headed to play football for the University of Wisconsin.
Groshek completed 12 of 19 passes for 111 yards; Biadasz finished with seven tackles, including a sack, forced a fumble and kicked all four of his team’s extra points; Amherst’s Ben Gutschow had an interception to go along with five tackles; and another Amherst player, Amaziah McCall, finished with six tackles.
Gutschow set up the North’s second score with an interception on the first play of the South’s next drive. Folkers and Gloudemans hooked up for a 49-yard TD pass on the next play and the North had a 14-0 lead.
Berlin’s Mitch Kramer gave the North team a 21-0 lead in the second quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run, but the South got on the board on Jacob Wiedower’s 18-yard TD pass to Johnathan Bell to cut the lead to 21-6.
The North found the end zone for the fourth time with 1:02 before halftime on Folkers’ 11-yard touchdown pass to Freedom’s Isaac Gonnering.
Biadasz added his fourth extra point to make it 28-6, but that turned out to be the North’s final point of the game.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, but the South came up with three scores in the fourth quarter off of two North turnovers and a successful onside kick.
Collin Moen hit Michael Richter for a 23-yard touchdown, Scott Pittz scored from a yard out and Wiedower found Bell in the end zone for a 29-yarder with 1:30 remaining.
However, the North recovered an onside kick and was able to run out the clock.
Besides Loken, Biadasz, Groshek, Gutschow and McCall, the North team also included another CWC-8 player, Shiocton’s Henry Fielding.
“It was a little weird lining up alongside of them, but it was definitely a lot of fun playing with them,” Loken said. “The coaches did a really good job all week. We hung out a lot and got to know each other. It’s a bunch of great guys, so it’s pretty easy playing your butt off for them.”
Besides football, Loken also competed in basketball, baseball and boys’ golf in high school.
“School was fun, but playing with your best friends out on the field, there’s nothing like it,” said Loken, who is off to Winona State University in Minnesota.
“I knew this was going to be my last game,” he said. “It’s nice to come out here with a ‘W.’”
Gutschow, who will soon head off to play football at St. Cloud State in Minnesota, said the all-star game was the perfect way to wrap up a senior season that included a conference championship and an undefeated season.
“It meant a lot, especially coming off some pretty hard playoff losses the last two years,” he said. “We got the job done this season and it’s a good feeling.”
Groshek and Folkers combined to complete 22 of 31 passes for 256 yards, but the South held the North to only 27 rushing yards in 28 attempts. Groshek was the team’s leading rusher with 12 yards in 16 carries.
The North’s defense held the South’s rushing game to minus-37 yards, but Wiedower threw for 185 of his team’s 298 passing yards.
The players only spent a week of practice together leading up to the game.
“It’s surprising how close you can get in just a week,” Gutschow said. “The first day, nobody knew each other, but by the second day, we were pretty good friends. It was kind of sloppy sometimes, but I thought our offensive scheme was really good.”