EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
by Jason Nihles, The Platteville Journal/Fennimore Times
Logan Drone, Sr., QB/ILB and David Nies, Sr., OT/DE, River Ridge football
Seniors Logan Drone and David Nies led River Ridge to its best season in nearly two decades this fall, helping coach Wade Winkers' Timberwolves post an 7–3 overall record and 5–1 mark in conference play to earn a share of its first Six Rivers title since 2004. The senior duo was justly rewarded with number of postseason awards, when the Six Rivers Conference announced its 2021 all-conference team.
Drone was named the SRC Offensive Player of the Year, and first-team All-league at both quarterback and inside linebacker, while fellow senior, David Nies, of River Ridge, shared Defensive Player of the Year honors and Lineman of the Year honors with Ben Werner of Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg.
At his quarterback position, Drone completed 46 of 90 passes (51.1 percent) for 944 yards, 9 TDs and 6 interceptions, rushed for a team-high 943 yards and 11 TDs on 105 carries and had one reception for a 38-yard TD to lead the Ridge offense. He also recorded a team-high 93 tackles, 43 solo stops, and 9 tackles for loss on defense.
From his defensive end position, Nies recorded 61 total tackles, 38 solo and 24 for a loss. He led the team in sacks with 10, while forcing three fumbles and recovering one. On the offensive line, Nies played a vital role in River Ridge gaining 1,130 yards through the air and 2,368 on the ground, while averaging 29 points per game.. Nies was named first-team All-SRC on both sides of the ball at offensive tackle and defensive end.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Cal Dorota, Sr., LB/TE/RB, Highland football
Dorota was named the Ridge and Valley Defensive Player of the Year after posting a team-high 93 tackles, including 51 solo stops, and a conference-best 27 tackles for loss while leading the Cardinals (10–1, 7–0 R&V) to the Ridge and Valley Conference title. He also earned first-team All-R&V honors as a TE/HB after rushing for 505 yards and 10 TDs on 51 carries, and catching 25 passes for 435 yards and 7 more TDs.
Konner Ellenson, Sr., DB, Richland Center football
Ellenson was named the SWC Defensive Player of the Year after recording 65 tackles and a league-best five interception for the second-place Hornets (7–4, 5–2 SWC). Ellenson also completed 52 of 116 passes for 716 yards, 5 TDs on 3 interceptions, and rushed for 411 yards and 7 TDs on 109 carries.
Brady Horne, Sr., LB/RB, Darlington football
Horne was named the SWAL Defensive Player of the Year after recording 54 tackles, including 35 solo stops and nine tackles for loss in 10 games for the conference champion Redbirds (11–2, 7–0 SWAL). Horne also rushed for 689 yards and 11 TDs on 101 carries on offense.
Beau Kopp, Sr., QB/DE, Cuba City football
Kopp was named the SWAL Offensive Player of the Year after completing 146 of 244 passes for 2,143 yards, 24 TDs and 12 interceptions, and rushing for 416 yards and 12 TDs to lead the Cubans (9–3, 5–1 SWAL) to a second-place finish in the seven-team SWAL. He also recorded 71 tackles, including 19 tackles for loss and a SWAL co-high 14 sacks to earned first-team All-SWAL honors at defensive end.
Max Oleson, Sr., QB/DB, Highland football
Oleson was named the Ridge & Valley Offensive Player of the Year after completing 80 of 133 passes for 1,484 yards, 22 TDs and just 3 INTs in 11 games for the conference champion Cardinals (10–1, 7–0). He also rushed for 196 yards and 8 TDs, and recorded 24 tackles and 2 interceptions to earn first-team All-R&V honors on defense.
Ben Werner, Sr., DE/OL, Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg football
Werner was named the Six Rivers Conference co-Defensive Player of the Year and co-Lineman of the Year after posting a team-high 110 tackles, including three sacks and a league-high 28 tackles for loss to lead the Knights (3–8, 3–4). Werner was also a first-team all-league pick at offensive guard.