EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Friday morning throughout the calendar year.
It's was hard to separate this week's stat-stuffing performances, so the staff here at swnews4u.com has chosen Co-Athletes of the Week for Friday, Oct. 16.
Hunter Johnson, Jr., Darlington football
The Darlington junior has put up a number of big performances this season leading the top-ranked Redbirds (Division 6) to a perfect 8–0 record, but his record-breaking night against Fennimore last Friday was by far his best.
Johnson rushed 296 rushing yards and a school-record seven touchdowns in a 67–32 victory over Fennimore. He scored on runs of 56, 9 and 65 yards in the first quarter as Darlington built a 20–7 lead. He added a 24-yard TD run late in the second quarter to make it 45–13. Johnson scored on runs of 8 and 20 yards in the third quarter, and scored his record-breaking seventh touchdown in the fourth quarter. He also added a pair of two-point conversion runs.
“He had everything going for him in Friday's game," said Darlington coach Scott Zywicki. "He showed his entire package as a runner. He ran with power. He ran with vision. He ran with speed. Once he gets out in the open, there are not many players in the conference who are going to catch him.
"The explosive plays have really made the offense click. When they get into the open field, the kids are making great decisions with their cutbacks and they are finishing their runs. It's nice to see the kids setting into the nuances of our offense and making it work well."
Johnson is currently seventh in state in rushing yards (1,458) and tied for seventh in the state with 22 rushing touchdowns.
Noah Wand, Jr., Shullsburg football
Wand completed 12 of 20 passes for 262 yards and five touchdowns without throwing an interception in a 56–49 loss to Highland last Friday night. The five TD passes tied a school record and the 262 yards was second most in school history.
The junior quarterback tossed four first-half touchdowns to lead the Miners to a 34–14 halftime lead, but Shullsburg couldn't hold on. After the Cardinals rallied to take a 48–41 lead midway through the fourth quarter Wand rallied the Miners once last time. He threw his fifth TD of the game to fellow junior Hunter Mayte from 11 yards out, then added the two-point conversion pass to Joey Meyer with less than two minutes left to to give Shullsburg a 49–48 lead. Unfortunately, Highland had enough time to steal the victory, on John Ross Linscheid's 16-yard run with three seconds left.
"Offensively, we played pretty well," said Shullsburg head coach Scott Matye. "Ben Sigwarth is finally 100 percent from a high ankle sprain. This is how I thought he would play all year. Noah made some nice throws five five TDs and no interceptions, which is a pretty darn good night."
John Ross Linscheid, Jr., Highland football
The junior quarterback's 16-yard touchdown run with three seconds left lift Highland to a 56–49 win over Shullsburg and kept the Cardinals' playoff hopes alive. Linscheid finished the game with 317 yards and six touchdowns rushing and 126 yards passing and another score.
Kyle Wienen, Sr., Benton football
The senior QB ran for two touchdowns and threw for two others to lead the Zephyrs (4–4, 3–4 Six Rivers) to a 29–28 victory over Belmont last Friday to keep Benton/Scales Mound's playoff hopes alive. Wienen completed 8 of 20 passes for 110 yards, two TDs and two interceptions. He also ran 12 times for 60 yards, and made five tackles and had an interception on defense.
Jon Bahr, Sr., Belmont football
The Belmont senior returned from what was thought to be a season-ending hip injury and nearly led the Braves to a victory over Benton/Scales Mound. Bahr rushed for 186 yards and two long touchdowns, and completed 8 of 21 passes for 163 yards and a third score.
Jessi Marti, Sr., Cuba City volleyball
Marti finished with a team-high 13 kills, 13 digs and four aces to lead the Cubans to a 25–16, 25–20, 25–8 sweep of SWAL-leading Southwestern last Tuesday night. The Cubans (26–5–3, 10–1 SWAL), ranked 10th in Division 3, pulled into a first-place tie with the Wildcats (20–1, 10–1), ranked second in Division 4, with the win.
Morgan Stecklein and Maddie Carroll, Sr., Platteville volleyball
The seniors combined for 28 kills to lead the Hillmen to a 25–21, 25–18, 14–25, 25–19 victory over River Valley last Thursday night. The Hillmen (30–4, 9–0 SWC), ranked fifth in Division 2, clinched the Southwest Wisconsin Conference title with the victory over the second-place Blackhawks (29–5, 7–2), ranked eighth in D2.
Ying Xiong, Jr., Platteville/Lancaster boys soccer
The junior forward scored a pair of goals to lead the Hillmen to a 3–0 victory over Prairie du Chien last Thursday night. With the win the Platteville co-op clinched the Southwest Wisconsin Conference title. Monday afternoon, Xiong scored both goals in a 2–0 shutout over River Valley. Tuesday he scored again as the Hillmen (13–4–1, 11–0–1) closed out the regular season with an 8–1 victory over Richland Center. Platteville/Lancaster is currently on an eight-match winning streak going into regional play. The Hillmen will open the WIAA Division 3 playoffs Thursday, Oct. 22 at home against Dodgeville/Mineral Point.