The Stoughton football team’s bread and butter this season was running.
That was reflected in the Badger Small all-conference teams. Senior offensive linemen Barrett Nelson and Gabe Rousseau, along with senior running back Darrick Hill were all selected to the Badger Small’s first team. Both Rousseau and Hill were unanimous first-team selections.
Rousseau — a guard — is committed to play at Division II Minnesota State Mankato. Nelson — a 6-foot-7 tackle — will be joining brother Jack Nelson on the University of Wisconsin football team next year.
In nine games, Hill rushed for 1,074 yards on 175 attempts, good for 6.1 yards per carry. The 5-foot-9 running back also was second on the team in receiving yards with 193 yards on a team-best 16 receptions. Hill caught one touchdown pass through the air to finish with a total of 11 scores for the season. Hill spent a large portion of the season battling an injured ankle.
Stoughton junior Griffin Empey was an honorable mention on offense.
The Stoughton offense averaged 172.3 rushing yards per game.
Baraboo senior running back Kane Mahoney and Monona Grove senior wide receiver Ty Hoier shared Offensive Player of the Year honors. Mount Horeb senior guard Kian Preimesberger was named Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Stoughton’s stout defense was recognized with a pair of first-team selections. Empey was a first teamer as a down lineman, while senior John Harman was first-team defense as an edge player.
Harman led Stoughton with 78 solo tackles to go along with 13 tackles for loss. Harman also collected a team-best seven sacks. Empey led the Vikings with 16 tackles for loss. Empey recorded 28 solo tackles and added three sacks.
Senior defensive back Bradley Garcia and sophomore punter Korey Newman both earned second-team selections for Stoughton.
Newman punted 42 times and averaged 34.6 yards per kick. Garcia collected 19 solo tackles and picked off four passes, which was tied for a team-high.
The Viking defense pitched two shutouts on the season and gave up an average of 19.8 points per game.
Baraboo senior Luna Larson was selected as the Badger Small’s Defensive Player of the Year. Preimesberger swept lineman of the year honors as the Mount Horeb senior also won Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Stoughton finished the season with a 3-6 record and 2-5 in the Badger Small. Mount Horeb and Fort Atkinson shared the conference title with 6-1 records.