EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Trevor Johnson, Sr., RB, Darlington football
In a week of eye-popping rushing performances, Darlington’s Trevor Johnson rose to the top of the heap. Johnson rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns on just six carries to lead defending WIAA Division 6 runner-up Darlington to a lopsided 47–0 non-conference victory at Westby to open the season last Friday night. Johnson is this week’s Mast Water Technology swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week.
Johnson got the ball rolling for the Redbirds (1–0) by hitting pay dirt on four of his first five carries as visiting Darlington an early insurmountable lead. He scored on runs of 59, 75 and 26 yards in the first quarter, then struck again from 78 yards out with 9:09 remaining in the second quarter to make it 27–0.
The preseason SWAL favorite Redbirds rushed 501 yards and seven touchdowns in the first half alone, finishing the game with a 569–166 advantage in total offense.
Darlington returns home to host defending Southwest Wisconsin Conference champion Prairie du Chien (1–0) at Martens Field on Friday. The Blackhawks are coming off a 33–27 overtime win over La Crosse Aquinas.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Luke Fugate, Sr., RB/LB, Platteville football
Fugate rushed for a career-high 267 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries to lead Platteville to a 21–13 non-conference victory at Cuba City in last Friday’s season opener. When the Hillmen lost returning all-conference wide receiver Donovan Blevins to an ankle injury early in the first quarter, they relied more heavily on Fugate and the senior back responded. Fugate, who rushed for nearly 900 yards and nine TDs a year ago, will once again be the main cog in this year’s Platteville offense. Fugate also started at inside linebacker and was in on 10 tackles as the Hillmen defense limited the Cubans to just two first downs and 63 yards rushing in the game.
Evan Gates, Jr., RB, Lancaster football
The junior fullback returned to the Lancaster lineup in grand fashion, rushing for 275 yards and four TDs as the Flying Arrows held on to defeat host Fennimore 40–32 in a non-conference season-opener last Friday night. Gates was Lancaster’s starting fullback a year ago, but his sophomore season was cut short by a broken leg in the fourth week of the season.
Hunter Johnson, Sr., RB, Darlington football
The future University of Wisconsin walk-on rushed for 194 yards and a pair of scores on nine carries in Darlington’s 48–7 non-conference win at Westby last Friday. Johnson, the reigning SWAL Offensive Player of the Year, played a complementary role to cousin Trevor last week, but together the pair rushed for 440 yards and six TDs on 15 carries.
Dylan Rieken, So., RB/DB, Southwestern football
The Southwestern sophomore made a grand first impression, scoring five touchdowns in the Wildcats’ 31–12 non-conference win over visiting Rio. Rieken scored his first career varsity TD on a 27-yard pass in the first quarter, then scored on a 10-yard run and a 55-yard fumble returning in the second quarter to give Southwestern a 19–6 halftime advantage. Rieken added a 45-yard touchdown reception and a 62-yard TD run in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. In all, the Southwestern rookie scored 30 of his team’s 31 points and totaled 152 yards of offense on just five touches (three rushes for 80 yards and a pair of TD catches for 72 yards.
Jordan Williams, Sr., QB, Fennimore football
Williams completed 15 of 28 passes for 327 yards and four touchdowns to keep Fennimore in the game in a 40–32 non-conference loss to visiting Lancaster on Friday night. Williams burned the Arrow defense for scoring strikes of 10, 71, 25 and 28 yards in the game. Williams 28-yard TD toss to junior Trevor Neuroth midway through the third quarter pulled Fennimore within a point at 27–26.