2002 Football Athletes of the Week
November 11, 2002-November 17, 2002
Offense: Brad Newton, TE, Sr., Baldwin (Baldwin-Woodville)
Provided the spark for the Blugold offense that allowed Eau Claire to defeat conference opponent UW-Stevens Point and win outright control of second place in the conference. Newton caught five passes for 24 yards on the day including catching two passes on Eau Claire's final scoring drive giving the Blugolds a 21-10 lead, a lead that would hold throughout the game.
Defense: Dan Larson, DL, Sr., Baldwin (Baldwin-Woodville)
Was a huge part of the Eau Claire defense that held UW-Stevens Point to just 163 yards offensively. He made six solo tackles and seven total tackles as well as two tackles for a loss. Larson put pressure on Stevens Point quarterback Scott Krause all day sacking him three times. Larson also recovered a fumble for the Blugolds.
Special Teams: Special Teams - Matt Brink, Punter, Jr., Madison (Memorial)
Punted nine times against UW-Stevens Point for just under 300 total yards. He pinned the Pointers deep in their own territory all day, punting six times inside the Stevens Point 20-yard line.
November 4, 2002-November 11, 2002
Defense: Andrew Jones, ILB, Fr., Wild Rose
Recorded seven total tackles against UW-La Crosse for the Blugolds. He was a big part of the Eau Claire defense that held La Crosse to just 268 yards of total offense and 130 yards in the air despite falling to the Eagles in a first place match-up.
Special Teams: Special Teams - Matt Brink, Punter, Jr., Madison (Memorial)
Punted twice in a conference showdown with La Crosse and had an incredible average of 58.0 yards per punt including a 71-yard boot.
October 28, 2002-November 3, 2002
Offense: Nels Fredrickson, Quarterback, So., Burnsville, MN
Completed 23 of 34 pass attempts in a victory over conference rival UW-Whitewater. While completing over 67 percent of his passes, he also threw for 366 yards and a touchdown. He spread out the Warhawk defense by completing passes to six different receivers and also ran the ball for 60 yards on 15 attempts and a touchdown.
Defense: Nick Draeger, OLB, Sr., Waterloo
Recorded seven solo tackles and nine total tackles in a conference win over Whitewater. Draeger helped hold WIAC rushing leader Chad Wurth to just 74 yards on 23 carries, nearly 55 yards less than his season average. Was a big part of the Eau Claire defense that stunted a potential game-winning drive by the Warhawks late in the fourth quarter.
Special Teams: Special Teams - Mike LaBarbera, Safety, Jr., Eau Claire (Memorial)
Returned the majority of kicks for the Blugolds as well as compiling six tackles on defense. He had a 50 yard punt return but was called back on a holding penalty.
October 21, 2002-October 27, 2002
Offense: Erik Ferguson, WR, Jr., Eyota, MN/Eyota-Dover
Made four receptions for 72 yards to help the Blugolds to a 42-35 victory over conference opponent UW-Platteville. Among the four catches were a 34 yard touchdown reception and a 31 yard touchdown reception including the game winner with just over a minute left to play.
Defense: Mike LaBarbera, S, Jr., Eau Claire/Memorial
Made four solo tackles and helped the Blugolds hold Platteville under their season average in passing yards, including holding Platteville receiver Matt Kent to just five receptions for 66 yards when last week he caught 13 balls for 288 yards. LaBarbera was a big part of the Eau Claire defense that held the Pioneers to just over 20 minutes of offense and only 2 for 11 on third down conversions.
Special Teams: Special Teams - Brett Etzel, Long Snapper, Jr., Oconomowoc
Helped the Eau Claire special teams and kicker Nick Diciaula convert all six extra point opportunities against Platteville. Etzel also recovered a fumble on special teams.
October 7, 2002-October 13, 2002
Offense: Joe Gast, Running Back, 5-9, 195, Fr., Wauconia, MN
Led the Blugolds in rushing with 102 yards on just nine carries including a 31 yard dash. Gast also added two touchdown runs and had an incredible average of 11.3 yards per carry. He was a big part of the Eau Claire offense that scored 34 points and ran for 339 yards in a victory against conference opponent River Falls.
Defense: Nick Goeser, DL, 6-3, 255, Scandinavia/Iola-Scandinavia
Made 10 tackles, including nine solo, against conference opponent River Falls. Goeser helped the Blugold Defense allow only 12 points and 181 yards rushing on 47 carries to a strong River Falls running game.
Special Teams: Special Teams - Nick Diciaula, Kicker, 5-10, 170, Jr., Brookfield/Central
Made two field goals in a Blugold victory over River Falls. His first, from 22 yards, put Eau Claire on the board and gave them a 3-0 lead. His second, from 24, put the Blugold up for good at 13-6.
September 30, 2002-October 6, 2002
Offense: Nels Fredrickson, 6-1, 195, So., Quarterback, Burnsville, MN
Led and impressive Blugold offense which racked up 423 yards against Bethel College. In his first game of the season he threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 40-0 win against Bethel. In 26 pass attempts he completed all but five and did not throw a single interception.
Defense: Brad Gawronski, 6-1, 215, Sr., Inside Linebacker, Reedsburg/Webb
Led the Blugolds in tackles piling up 11 tackles including 9 solo tackles against Bethel. His efforts on defense helped hold the Bethel offense to just 247 total yards, over 130 fewer than their season average, and giving the Blugolds a 40-0 victory.
Special Teams: Special Teams - Mike Eubanks, 5-9, 190, Sr., Cedarburg
Totaled one solo tackle and assisted on another tackle against Bethel. Led special team effort that allowed zero punt return yards and 21.7 yards per kickoff return to the Royals.
September 23, 2002-September 29, 2002
Offense: Brian McIntrye,6-1, 275, Sr, Right Tackle, Minneapolis, MN (Woodbury)
McIntyre graded out highest among the Blugold offensive line in a defensive battle that saw Eau Claire score the only offensive touchdown of the game.
Defense: Austin Crow, 6-3, 225, Jr., Outside Linebacker, Woodbury, MN
Set up the lone offensive touchdown of the game in the third quarter when he intercepted a Nick Wara flat pass and returned it 26 yards to the Oshkosh 33. The Blugolds scored three plays later on a 20-yard pass from Jeremy Darnell to Erik Ferguson which gave the Blugolds a 9-3 lead at that point. Crow totaled six tackles including two sacks for a loss of five yards. He forced a fumble with 7:55 left in the game which allowed the Blugolds to drive for their winning field goal, a 27-yarder by Nick Diciaula, with 3:46 to go. Crow also was credited with three pass defenses. The Blugolds held an Oshkosh offense to a season low point total, their previous low being 24 points. The Titans managed just 235 yards total offense on 68 plays.
September 16, 2002-September 22, 2002
Special Teams: Special Teams - Mike LaBarbera, 5-10, 175, Jr., Eau Claire/Memorial
Had a 38 yard return in the second quarter to set up the Blugolds first score and got the momentum going for Eau Claire. Eau Claire fell to Stout despite the efforts of the return.
September 9, 2002-September 15, 2002
Offense: Mike Bestul, Offensive Line, 5-11, 275, Sr., Chippewa Falls/Chi-Hi
His pass blocking allowed rookie quarterback Jeremy Darnell to completed 21 of 41 passes for 266 yards and one touchdown in a 37-13 triumph over Augsburg. Blugold running backs also rushed 42 times for 188 yards and four scores. The Blugolds built a 24-0 halftime lead and controlled the ball 37:06 for the game, converting 8 of 19 third downs.
Defense: Dan Larson, Defensive Tackle, 6-2, 245, Sr., Baldwin/Baldwin-Woodville
Credited with five solo tackles, an interception and a hurry in a 37-13 non-conference road triumph over Augsburg College. The Blugold defense limited Augsburg to just eight first downs in the contest and just 44 net yards rushing on 21 attempts. The Auggies picked up 142 of their 312 total yards on two long pass plays that accounted for both of their touchdowns in the second half. Augsburg controlled the ball for just 22:54 and converted just 2 of 13 third downs.
Special Teams: Special Teams - Justin Greenwood, 6-1, 200, So., Park Falls
Credited with four solo tackles and two assists while recovering one fumble on a punt return that set up the Blugolds' first score of the game, a 28-yard field goal.
September 3, 2002-September 8, 2002
Offense: Erik Ferguson, 5-11, 175, Jr., Wide Receiver, Eyota, MN
Caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Jeremy Darnell on the first play of overtime (after a penalty) to give Eau Claire a 28-21 victory over St. John's University which was ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in several preseason Division III polls after reaching the semifinals of the NCAA Division III tournament last fall. He went over two defenders to catch the ball in the end zone for the score. He finished with three catches for 49 yards.
Defense: Brad Gawronski, 6-1, 215, Inside Linebacker, Sr., Reedsburg
Led the Blugold defense with 13 tackles include 10 solos. He was credited with one sack for seven yards and three total tackles for loss. The Blugolds stopped the St. John's running game, holding the Johnnies to 81 yards on 33 carries. Forced to the air, the Johnnies threw 44 times,competeing 27 for 285 yards but had three picked off. The Johnnies gained over 120 yards in the final eight minutes of the game and did not score against the Blugold defense until the 8:41 mark of the third quarter. Eau Claire had built a 21-0 lead by that time.
Special Teams: Special Teams - Derek Sikora, 5-8, 170, Cornerback, Neillsville
Gave the Blugolds the momentum when he returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown after St. John's was forced to punt on the first possession of the game. He also returned another punt 14 yards and returned two kickoffs for 50 yards as the Blugolds built a 21-0 first quarter lead, then held off St. John's to win in overtime.