When Iola-Scandinavia football coach Scott Erickson watched Bryce Huettner on the playground during recess in third grade, he thought his future standout had a chance to be special.
What was his first clue? The skinned-up knees and ripped jeans stuck out to Erickson. Huettner was that competitive even back then.
A starting linebacker since his freshman year of high school, and workhorse running back the last two seasons, Huettner has lived up to the early expectations and then some.
He finished the season with 2,612 yards and 42 touchdowns to bring his career total to a state-record 6,870 yards to surpass Hilbert's Mike Firkus who rushed for 6,707 yards from 2003-05.
For those reasons and more Huettner has been named the state's Player of the Year by Associated Press in a vote of media members from around the state.
"He's that guy that can come into a football game and everybody plays better," Erickson said. "Bryce is one of those kids you don't see very often. They are few and far between and pick everybody up no matter what happens. He's a student of the game. Thankfully I got an opportunity to coach him."
Also nominated for Player of the Year were Grantsburg's Leo Chenal, Mitchell Waechter of Fond du Lac St Mary's Springs, Waunakee's Sawyer Maly, Dylan Hendricks of Pulaski and Racine St. Catherine's Da'Shaun Brown.
Huettner was instrumental in Iola-Scandinavia claiming the school's first state championship with a 43-14 romp over Racine Lutheran at Camp Randall Stadium on Nov. 15. He gained 156 yards and scored three times.
Beloit Memorial senior Matthew Wedig was named to the First Team Offense as an All-Purpose player, which probably best described his value to the Purple Knights.
• COACH OF THE YEAR: This may have been the longest season Muskego's Ken Krause has coached, but it felt like the fastest.
You could chalk that up to a 14-0 season that ended with the school's first state championship, but for Krause it had as much to do with how his team handled adversity and in general maintained a positive vibe regardless of the circumstance.
"This group was by far our most positive group and probably our hardest-working group every day," Krause said. "There wasn't one day when they were negative or not working hard."
The 2018 season was the year when everything came together for the Warriors. One year after losing in the state semifinals, Muskego ran the table, winning its Classic 8 games by average of 28 points, and capping its playoff run with a 24-21 victory over Kimberly that snapped the Papermakers' five-year streak of state championships.
The entire team follows with x indicating an unanimous selection:
OFFENSE FIRST TEAM
QB - Da'Shaun Brown, 6-1, 180, Sr., Racine St. Catherine's.
RB - x-Dylan Hendricks, 6-4, 215, Sr., Pulaski; Bryce Huettner, 5-10, 215, Sr., Iola-Scandinavia; Darios Crawley-Reid, 5-8, 185, Sr., Greendale Martin Luther.
OL - Ben Barten, 6-6, 255, Jr., Stratford; Logan Berandt, 6-3, 265, Sr., Fond du Lac; Jack Nelson, 6-7, 270, Jr., Stoughton; Andrew Stone, 6-1, 255, Sr., Fond du Lac; Trey Wedig, 6-7, 300, Jr., Kettle Moraine.
WR/TE - x-Sawyer Maly, 6-1, 180, Sr., Waunakee; WR/TE - Cooper Nelson, 6-4, 180, Sr., Sun Prairie.
PK - Blake Wilcox, 6-4, 220, Sr., Kettle Moraine.
ALL-PURPOSE - Derek LeCaptain, 6-2, 200, Sr., Southern Door; Matthew Wedig, 6-4, 220, Beloit Memorial.
OFFENSE SECOND TEAM
QB - Cody Staerkel, 6-2, 180, Sr., Kimberly.
RB - Leo Chenal, 6-3, 235, Sr., Grantsburg; Rashad Lampkin, 5-10, 200, Jr., Brookfield Central; Tyler Tenner, 5-9, 200, Jr., Racine Lutheran; Braden Doyle, 6-4, 275, Jr., Bay Port; Austin Ertl, 6-3, 290, Sr., Wauwatosa West; Liam Fahey, 6-2, 275, Sr., Pulaski; Ben Hoitink, 6-6, 300, Sr., Slinger; Ben Johnson, 6-4, 305, Sr., Sun Prairie.
WR/TE - Cade Christensen, 6-4, 210, Sr., Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs; Jared Creen, 5-9, 165, Sr., River Falls.
PK - Jack Van Dyke, 6-5, 175, Jr., Neenah.
ALL-PURPOSE - Caden Lee, 5-11, 160, Sr., Mount Horeb/Barneveld; Marcus Orlandoni, 5-11, 210, Jr., Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs.
DEFENSE FIRST TEAM
DL - Keeanu Benton, 6-4, 280, Sr., Janesville Craig; Chase Maier, 6-4, 205, Sr., Waunakee; Nate Stewart, 6-2, 280, Sr., Muskego.
DE/OLB - Reed Ryan, 6-4, 230, Sr., Waunakee; Jake Raddatz, 6-3, 238, Sr., Mequon Homestead.
ILB - Tristan Argall, 5-11, 206, Sr., Kimberly; John Klus, 6-0, 235, Sr., Oregon; Vinny Nigro, 6-0, 222, Jr., Milwaukee Marquette.
DB - David Hayden, 6-0, 170, Sr., La Crosse Central; Amaun Williams, 5-10, 170, Jr., Milwaukee Riverside; Hunter Wohler, 6-1, 176, So., Muskego.
PUNTER - Blake Wilcox, 6-4, 220, Sr., Kettle Moraine.
DEFENSE SECOND TEAM
DL - Adrian Garcia, 5-10, 250, Sr., Racine St. Catherine's; Jacob Schrauth, 6-4, 240, Sr., Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs; Tanner Schwartz, 5-10, 230, Sr., Franklin.
DE/OLB - Jake Karchinski, 6-6, 250, Sr., West De Pere; Rico DeLeon, 6-3, 235, Sr., Chippewa Falls.
ILB - Stephon Chapman, 6-1, 205, Sr., Racine Horlick; Leo Chenal, 6-3, 235, Sr., Grantsburg; Hunter Hansen, 5-10, 165, Jr., Fond du Lac.
DB - Karson Butt, 5-11, 180, Sr., Edgar; Lucas Finnessy, 6-3, 215, Jr., Sussex Hamilton; Logan Geissler, 6-0, 175, Jr., Bay Port.
PUNTER - Derek Myer, 6-2, 205, Sr., St. Croix Central.
Joseph Aguilera, Sr., RB, Abbotsford; Colby Argall, sr., RB, Black Hawk; Jordan Bishop, sr., QB, Monona Grove; DJ Carter, sr., Racine St. Catherine's; Alex Current, soph. RB, Muskego; Ryan Daines, sr., RB-DL, Westby; Johnny Davis, jr., QB, La Crosse Central; Kade Ehrike, Sr., RB/LB, Stratford; Logan Eiden, sr., LB, Neenah; Jake Gannon, sr., OL, Franklin; Isaiah Gash, jr., RB, Bay Port; Logan Graetz, sr., QB, River Falls; Tate Grass, sr., TE-DE, Holmen Sam Gronski, sr., DE, Monona Grove; Keyser Helterbrand, QB, Hudson; Teagan Herschleb, jr., DB, Columbus; Steve Hoepfner, sr., DB/WR, Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs; Brendan Holt, sr., RB-LB, West Salem; Brayden Holzemer, sr., WR/DB, Cuba City; Carter Horstman,jr, RB-LB, Bangor; Harley Jones, sr., OL/DL, Jeremiah Jordan, sr., DB/LB, Madison Memorial; Tanner Keller, jr., RB, Waterford; Jack Kelly, Sr. DL/RB, Stevens Point; Lake Mills; Ben Kreul, jr., LB, Catholic Memorial; Ryan Larson, sr., RB, St. Croix Central; Drew Leszczynski, sr., QB, Brookfield Central; Jacob Leszczynski, sr., OL, Muskego; Jordan Lietz, sr., DE/OL, Edgerton; Max Meeuwsen, jr., DE, Bay Port; Gavin Meyer, jr., DE, Franklin; Jake Omitt, sr., WR/DB, Winneconne; Cade Osborn, sr, DB, Regis; Carson Raddatz, sr., QB/LB Fond du Lac; Brady Redwine, sr., RB, Elk Mound; Carter Robinson, sr., QB, Appleton North; Harrison Roubidoux, jr., QB, Winneconne; Jared Schneider, sr., RB, Homestead; Mark Shields, sr., DE, New Berlin Eisenhower; Trey Tennessen, sr., DB, Kimberly; Mitchell Waechter, sr., QB/DB, Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs; Kellan Wandtke, sr., OL/DL, Iola-Scandinavia; Nick Webley, sr., WR, Burlington; Keegan Wodill, sr., OL/DL, Fall River; Jarrett Wulf, sr., QB, Waunakee; Logan Zschernitz, sr., OL/DL, Spencer/Columbus Catholic.