EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Waylon Palzkill, Sr., QB/DB, Belmont football
Senior quarterback Waylon Palzkill threw for 272 yards and four touchdown and also ran for 265 yards and four more scores as the Braves chopped down the #3-ranked Oakfield Oaks 58–24 in a WIAA 8-player football playoff opener held at LHS on Oct. 22.
“It was awesome to see our guys put everything together on a big stage! We knew we left some things on the field after our first game against Oakfield, so to get another opportunity against them and come away with a victory was great to see,” said Belmont head coach Brandon Wiese.
The two Southern Conference foes met back on Sept. 24, with the Oaks holding the Braves to a season-low eight points and 155 yards of total offense. Wiese’s squad blew away those numbers on Friday night, rolling up a season-high 549 total yards, including a season-best 278 passing yards, while pasting 58 points upon the scoreboard.
“The key to the game was that our players did not let anything phase them and each guy just kept stepping up to the challenge. We had a couple turnovers and a few big plays that did not go our way but the guys kept stepping up on all sides of the ball,” Wiese commented.
Palzkill had touchdown runs of seven and five yards and touchdown passes of 61 and 13 yards in the first half to lead the Braves (7-2 overall) out to a 32-16 halftime lead.
Palzkill’s 61-yard strike to junior Noah Fritz just moments after the Oaks (7-2) tied the game at 8-8 put Belmont ahead to stay at 16-8 with 6:38 to play in the first quarter. He added a TD pass to Konner Lancaster at the 8:43 mark of the second quarter to put the Braves up by 16.
The Oaks became the first time all season score on the Braves in the third quarter and they did it with their defense returning a fumble 94 yards for a TD midway through the third quarter to pull back within one score at 32-24.
However, it was all Palzkill and the Braves from there as the senior signal-caller hooked up with Fritz on a pair of 22-yard TD passes and added two rushing scores in the fourth quarter on runs of 38 and six yards to carry Belmont to a 34-point playoff victory.
“Waylon is one of our senior captains and it showed the other night. He was making great reads through the air and on the ground. He certainly was a difference maker in the game in a lot of ways,” said Wiese.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Darlington football defense
The Darlington defense held Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg to an all-time school record low of minus two total yards in the Redbirds' 41–0 victory in a WIAA Division 6 Level 1 playoff contest last Friday. The SWAL champion Redbirds (9–1) will host Mondovi Saturday at 1 p.m. in a D6 Level 2 playoff game.
Jacob DiVall, Jr., QB/LB, Lancaster football
DiVall rushed for 270 yards and a pair of touchdowns, caught a 30-yard TD pass and recorded three tackles to lead 7th-seeded Lancaster (5–5) to a 26–16 comeback victory at 2nd-seeded Onalaska Luther (5–5) last Friday night in the opening round of the WIAA Division 6 playoffs. Divall scored on a 52-yard run in the first half, gave Lancaster a 20–16 lead with a 5-yard run with 10:19 left in the game, then put it out of reach with a 30-yard TD reception from halfback Skyler Burkholder with 3:50 left in the game.
Nora Jillson, Fr., and Aleya Kliesner, So., Boscobel girls cross country
Jillson finished first at 19:53.5 and Kliesner placed fifth to lead the Boscobel girls to the team title at last Saturday's WIAA Division 3 Albany Sectional.
Beau Kopp, Sr., QB, and Carter Olson, Sr., WR, Cuba City football
The Cuba City senior duo of quarterback Beau Kopp and wide receiver Carter Olson hooked up on four touchdown passes in a 42–8 victory over Whitehall in a WIAA Division 6 Level 1 playoff contest on Friday, Oct. 22. Kopp went 8-for-13 passing for 171 yards with four TDs, and Olson hauled in four catches for 123 yards and all four scores. Kopp has completed 107 passes this season for 1,647 yards with 22 TDs and eight interceptions. Olson has caught 46 of his passes for 785 yards and 14 TDs.
Mallory Olmstead, So., and Bridee Burks, Sr., Lancaster girls cross country
Olmstead (20:28.8) and Burks (20:40.9) finished second and third, out of 86 runners, to lead Lancaster to a second-place finish at last Saturday's WIAA Division 3 Albany Sectional. The reigning D3 state champion Flying Arrows will be making their sixth-straight trip to the WIAA state meet.
Hailey Stich, Sr., OH, Cuba City volleyball
Cuba City senior Hailey Stich tallied 23 kills and 16 digs to lead the #2-seeded Cubans to a thrilling 3º1 victory over the #3-seeded Wisconsin Heights Vanguards at CCHS on Saturday, Oct. 23. She had seven kills and an ace in a 25–21 win to start off the night, and then hammered four kills over the Cubans' final five points — in the game-ender — in another 25–21 win which sealed the game, the match and the regional championship title for the Cubans. Stich had 15 kills, 10 digs and seven aces in Tuesday’s regional quarterfinal sweep over Deerfield and added 19 kills in Thursday’s regional semifinal triumph of Lancaster.