Aric Elmore and Dillon Martinez were important pieces to two pretty magical football seasons in the Coulee Region.
Logan High School went deeper into the playoffs than it ever had before being eliminated by Monona Grove in a WIAA Division 3 state semifinal. Elmore had a lot to do with that.
Holmen won more games than it ever has in a season (11), won the MVC championship and advanced to the Division 2 state quarterfinals, where it lost a heartbreaker in double overtime to Oshkosh North. Martinez was a force every step of the way.
Both speed demons are being honored by The Associated Press as it releases its All-State teams.
Both were selected as all-purpose players, with Elmore making the first team and Martinez the second. An additional seven local players earned honorable mention to make it the biggest area presence on the team in years.
Central running back Lamont Murphy, Black River Falls quarterback Ethan Young, Holmen offensive/defensive lineman Hunter Hauser, Holmen inside linebacker Noah Risch, Holmen outside linebacker Greg Rooney, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau running back Erik Van Vleet and Logan defensive lineman Calvin Wright all earned All-State honorable mention.
Elmore and Martinez were players who made coaches on both sidelines — and anyone else in attendance — hold their breath in anticipation of what might happen every time they touched the ball. Both were big-play guys who motivated teammates during tough times and frustrated opponents nearly all of the time.
Elmore, a junior, had 800 rushing and receiving yards and was responsible for 19 touchdowns. Six of those touchdowns were on kickoff and punt returns, and two of them came on interception returns. He scored six playoff touchdowns to help the Rangers go 10-3.
Martinez, a senior defensive back, had a hand in 19 touchdowns for the Vikings (11-1), and 12 of them were on plays of 35 yards or more. He scored 17 of those touchdowns and passed for two.
Hauser, Risch and Rooney (Martinez, too) helped make Holmen’s defense one of the best the MVC has seen in a long time. The Vikings held eight opponents to a touchdown or less and posted four shutouts.
Risch, the Tribune’s player of the year, combined with Rooney and Hauser for 26 tackles for loss and only allowed 87.8 rushing yards per game. Holmen also didn’t allow a first-quarter point all season.
Murphy, a senior, rushed for 1,617 yards and scored 21 points for the Red Raiders in his first season with the team. He had eight 100-yard games and scored four touchdowns in a game twice. He also had a season-best 295 yards in a playoff win over Fort Atkinson.
Wright, a senior who also carried the ball for six touchdowns, and was as disruptive of a defensive player as the area had. He made 28 tackles for loss and caused offenses to go a different direction than him on every snap. He was so versatile, however, that he almost always found his way to the tackle.
Van Vleet, a senior, was the Coulee Conference Player of the Year. He had 1,652 rushing and receiving yards and scored 20 touchdowns. He averaged 11.8 yards per carry and played all season.
Young, a senior, passed for 2,642 yards and 32 touchdowns while only being intercepted six times. He passed for 6,243 yards and 69 touchdowns in a three-year starting career with the Tigers.