CG-B linemen Paulus, Bley lead honor teams that also include Ozaukee’s RichterWinning the battle in the trenches remained a trademark of the Cedar Grove-Belgium football team this fall on its way to a second consecutive Central Lakeshore Conference title.
Thanks to rock-solid play from its linemen, the Rockets were also undefeated in the regular season for the second straight year — and walked off with the lion’s share of post-season honors.
Seniors Wayne Paulus and Aaron Bley led a long list of Cedar Grove-Belgium’s all-conference selections, each receiving first-team recognition on offense and defense.
The 6-foot-4-inch, 235-pound Paulus was a unanimous choice in the coaches’ voting as an offensive lineman and defensive end.
Bley (6-2, 267) earned the two-way distinction as an interior lineman on both sides of the ball.
“They have both been three-year starters for us and had great seasons again,” Rockets coach Chris Zablocki said of Paulus and Bley, who are cousins.
“They’ve played together since the fifth grade and communicate really well with each other. They’re two of the key players in a group of seniors that’s going to be hard for us to replace.”
In addition to opening holes for Cedar Grove-Belgium’s potent rushing attack, Paulus and Bley were dominant players on a defensive unit that allowed only 32 points in seven conference games. Paulus was one of the Rockets’ top pass rushers, while Bley anchored the
Other local first-team honorees included Cedar Grove-Belgium’s Nic Vrubley (running back), Spencer Jacque (linebacker) and Kyle Bruggink (defensive back) and Ozaukee’s Dustin Richter (wide receiver) and Eric Hartnett (place-kicker).
Vrubley (6-0, 188) was one of the area’s leading rushers. The senior tailback used his speed and strength to pile up 928 yards and 15 touchdowns in league play, averaging 6.8 yards per carry.
“Nic was a kid who waited for his turn to become a starting running back and worked hard in the off-season,” said Zablocki, whose team was 7-0 in conference and 11-1 overall. “He did an outstanding job and helped us in a lot of different ways.”
Vrubley’s versatility also earned him second-team honors as a punter and honorable mention as a place-kicker.
He averaged 35 yards per punt, with a long kick of 50, and converted 36 of 40 extra-point attempts.
Jacque (5-10, 201), a senior, was the Rockets’ leading tackler for the second straight season and finished with more than 100 stops.
“Every year, Spencer got a little better and a little bigger,” Zablocki said of the senior. “He was one of our real leaders.”
Jacque also received second-team honors as a running back. As a fullback, he rushed for 506 yards in conference games, averaging 9.7 per carry, and scored eight touchdowns.
Bruggink (6-0, 167) excelled as a safety when he wasn’t playing quarterback, for which he received honorable mention. As a leader in the secondary, he used his signal-calling skills to read opposing offenses.
“Kyle was outstanding,” Zablocki said. “He played a little defensive back for us last year and really came on this season. He was a hard hitter.”
Richter was one of the bright spots for an Ozaukee team that was 2-5 in CLC play and 3-6 overall.
The junior (5-10, 155) had 26 catches for 371 yards (a 14.7 average) and scored one touchdown. He also rushed for 150 yards as a tailback, was the Warriors’ leading kick returner and received honorable mention as a defensive back.
“Dustin did a little bit of everything for us and had a solid season,” Ozaukee coach Lee Baldwin said.
Hartnett (6-5, 195) got the nod as the league’s top place-kicker in his first season of football. The sophomore was 5-for-5 on field-goal attempts, with a long kick of 54 yards, and made 14 of 16 extra-point tries. His only two misses were blocked.
“Eric’s a big kid and a very good athlete,” Baldwin said.
Four other Cedar Grove-Belgium players received second-team honors — Tyler Garcia (wide receiver, defensive back), Tyler Weavers (offensive lineman, defensive end), Nate Drewry (offensive lineman) and Ian Evans (linebacker).
Garcia (5-10, 175) had six catches for 85 yards and one touchdown on a team that relied heavily on the run. The junior’s per-catch average of 14 yards showed “he is a dangerous deep threat,” Zablocki said.
Garcia also used his speed and athleticism to excel in the defensive backfield. He shared the team lead with two interceptions.
Weavers (5-10, 201) was one of several Rockets who thrived on double duty. Besides helping propel his team’s rushing attack, the senior shined on defense despite limited time at the end position.
“Tyler wasn’t put at that spot until our fifth game, and he still impressed the coaches enough to get votes,” Zablocki said.
Drewry (6-0, 203), a senior, was one of the Rockets’ steadiest linemen and a big key to their offensive success, Zablocki said.
Evans (5-8, 170), a junior, overcame nagging injuries to bolster Cedar Grove-Belgium’s linebacking in his first full varsity season.