EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Evan Straka, Jr. QB, Lancaster football
Lancaster’s junior quarterback had his best game of the season to lead the Flying Arrows to a 42–12 victory at Dodgeville. Straka accounted for 224 yards and four touchdowns as Lancaster clinched at least a share of this year’s Southwest Wisconsin Conference title. He is this week’s Mast Water Technology Swnews4U.com Athlete of the Week.
Straka scored on a 12-yard run on Lancaster’s first possession to give the undefeated Arrows (8–0) an early 7–0 lead. Straka broke loose for a 54-yard run in the third quarter, then threw a 51-yard TD to Josh Hentrich early in the fourth quarter to make it 35–12. He added a 9-yard run to close out the scoring. Straka finished the game with 115 yards rushing and three TDs on 14 attempts. It was the second time he topped 100 yards on the ground for the second time this year and now has 628 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.
The biggest improvement Straka has shown in recent week’s is in the passing game, giving the run-oriented Arrows an added dimension. Friday night, Straka completed 7 of 13 passes for 99 yards and one TD. As the schedule ramps up heading into Friday’s SWC showdown with second-place Platteville (6–2, 3–1 SWC), which can earn a share of the SWC with a win, and going into the playoffs in eight days, Straka and the passing game will be relied upon more and more.
Straka and the Arrows will look to clinch the outright conference title Friday with a victory over Platteville. Last year the Hillmen defeated visiting Lancaster 28–26.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order)
Brady Curtis, So., RB/DB, Potosi football
Curtis rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown, caught a pair of touchdown passes and added an interception for good measure in Potosi’s (4–5, 4–4 SRW) 50–6 victory over River Ridge last Friday night.
Briana Ernst, Sr., OH, Belmont volleyball
Ernst floored a team-high 12 kills to lead the Braves to a 25–20, 19–25, 15–9 victory over Black Hawk in the championship match of last Saturday’s North Crawford Invitational. Ernst finished with a team-best 31 kills in five matches as Belmont (12–11–1) finished 4–1 on the day at the eight-team event.
Hunter Johnson, Sr., RB/DB, Darlington football
Johnson reached a pair of career milestones in Darlington’s 63–0 shutout of Fennimore last Friday night. Johnson rushed for 200 yards and five TDs in the first half to eclipsed the 5,000-yard rushing mark for his career and the 6,000 all-purpose career yardage mark. He also moved into second place on the state’s all-time career touchdown list with 98 TDs and jumped to third on the state’s all-time career scoring list with 604 points.
Emma Lawrence, Jr., MH, Benton volleyball
Lawrence hammered a match-high 35 kills to lead the Zephyrs to a 25–23, 25–22, 26–28, 25–18 victory over second-place River Ridge Monday night. Third-ranked Benton (23–1–1) went a perfect 12–0 in the Six Rivers West to clinch the program’s first conference title since 1988.
Lydia Murphy, So., Lancaster cross country
The sophomore standout finished second at the Albany Invitational with a time of 19:42.9 to lead the Flying Arrows to a second-place finish out of 13 teams in the small schools division.
Luke Oelke, RB, Ithaca football
Oelke rushed amassed 300 total yards and scored five touchdowns as undefeated Ithaca (8–0) to a 50–6 victory Wonewoc–Center/Weston Friday night. Oelke scored on offense, defense and special teams as the Bulldogs clinched their third straight Ridge & Valley Conference title. Oelke scored on an 85-yard kickoff return on the opening kickoff return, then scored on runs of 87, 65 and 42 yards before taking one of his two interceptions 75 yards for a fifth score. He added a two-point run for a conversion for 26 points.