Bluejay gridmen judged to be among state’s best

The awards just keep piling up for the MHS football team.

The Wisconsin Football Coaches Ass’n. All-State team picked senior Sam Arneson as a First Team inside linebacker and Honorable Mention quarterback, and fellow All-Region player Matt Woller earned honorable mention at wide receiver. Arneson follows in the footsteps of another All-Valley Defensive POY, Joe Akey, who was First Team in 2007.

Offensive coordinator John Paul was one of three Assistant Coach Of the Year selections.

“I’m really pleased with the individual awards, but it takes an entire team to be successful in order to get recognition,” MHS coach Tom Tourtillott said.

Arneson-a 6′ 4″, 241-pound force-finished with 83 tackles (59 solo, 24 assisted, and 9 TFL), 2 fumbles caused, and 3 PBU’s and a touchdown-saving interception. As a well-rounded field general, he completed 90-of 170 passes for 1,445 yards and 14 touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions, and rushed for another 907 yards on 189 carries (4.8 ypc) and 13 scores.

“Sam is arguably the best player I’ve ever coached,” Tourtillott said. “What separates him is his burning desire to be the best and the character that his mother and father have instilled in him. To be recognized both as a quarterback and a linebacker is a very special thing.”

Woller caught 38 of those balls from Arneson for 585 yards (15.4 ypr) and took them to the house nine times. He had a two-game stretch of 5 TDs to close out the regular season, when Merrill was jockeying for post-season position.

“Matt clearly had a very successful season and that is a direct result of the effort he put in during the off-season,” Tourtillott said. “He’s a real playmaker and a someone we could count on in the clutch. He not only played flanker, but split end and also played in our double tight set. It takes a special player to play all three positions.

“A lot of credit goes to his position coach, Dave Arneson. He really stresses the importance of being a complete football player, not just a receiver.”

Paul started as a a graduate assistant at UW-River Falls, assisted in his hometown of Cudahy, and held head coaching duties in Adams/Friendship and Potosi.

“He’s a great coach that puts in an incredible amount of hours to put our team in the best position to be offensively successful, but he’s also a great friend,” Tourtillott said. “He’s a well-deserving coach. Thirty years is an awful lot of headaches. It shows his love of the game and his love of kids.”

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