Defensive end. Offensive tackle. Punter. Kickoff specialist.

Nate Hausman was on the field for nearly every play in 2017, and his ironman ethic was recognized Thursday when he was given the Leader of the Pack award during the annual Tomah High School football banquet at Cranberry Country Lodge.

Hausman started at left tackle as a junior in 2016 before substantially increasing his workload as a senior. Head coach Brad Plueger said it was a challenge to give Hausman his water bottle because he rarely reached the sidelines.

“Nate hardly ever came off the field,” Plueger said. “He had a wonderful season ... Nate’s character and coachability are what we as coaches look for in a football player.”

The banquet recognized Tomah’s senior class, which Plueger lauded for continuing to work hard even as the losses piled up during a five-game losing streak. The Timberwolves finished with a 3-6 overall record and 1-6 mark in the Mississippi Valley Conference.

“It was amazing to watch your kids come to practice after a tough loss,” Plueger said. “To see how you grew as men and as players ... it’s a true testament to your character.”

In addition to the Leader of the Pack, Plueger announced other awards, including:

Grow up and give back—Trevor Shutter.

Tape it and Play—Wyatt Davis.

Most improved—Isaac Klema.

Top Rock—Shutter.

Top Block—Hausman.

Sports Boosters Award—Trey Gnewikow.

Toro Company won the Tomah Gridiron Club’s award given to a business that contributes to the football program. Toro was recogned for donating the use of a four-wheeler for the team’s activities at Warrens Cranberry Festival and donating door prizes for the Gridiron Club’s annual golf outing.

Tomah Gridiron Club president Mike Gnewikow outlined a proposal to install a new press box at E.J. McKean Field. He said $57,000 has been raised for the project but that it needs another $28,000 in private funds. He said the Gridiron Club hopes to have the remainder raised by the end of the year.

The banquet also recognized the junior varsity and freshmen players. Both teams had successful seasons. The junior varsity overcame a 0-3 start to finish with a 5-4 record, and the freshmen finished at 6-2.

Plueger said the returnees can be part of a successful varsity team if they commit themselves during the off-season.

“Our slogan in the off-season is commitment and maturity,” Plueger said. “We have to start closing the gap, and that happens in the off-season.”

Plueger said he will miss his senior class, which includes Hausman, Shutter, Davis, Klema, Gnewikow, Kyle Kroener, Peter Brey, Wade Miller, Seth Huneck, Krimzen Perea, Cameron Pasch, Travis Von Haden, Edgar Rodriguez and Derek Millard.

“I know the record doesn’t show it, but I had a blast,” Plueger said. “When I see you in the years to come, we can talk about how much fun we had.”

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