Sunday, July 27, 2008

PrepNation 101 Preseason FB Countdown: No. 51 Arrowhead

51. Arrowhead (Hartland, Wis.)

Last season’s record: 14-0, Division I champion

Coach: Tom Taraska

Key players: K Jeff Budzien (5-11, 163, Sr.), OT Jared Volk (6-4, 286, Sr.), OG Nick Doehling (6-3, 278, Sr.), LB Joe Balthazor (6-3, 207, Sr.), RB/WR/DB Brian Cook (5-11, 185, Jr.), QB Tom Parish (6-3, 198, Jr.)

Biggest strength: Offensive line, kicking game, linebackers

Question mark: Playing with pressure to repeat state title

Outlook: With 12 returning starters, including four on the offensive line, the Warhawks are in position to defend their large-school state championship. Volk and Doehling are third-year starters who work hard in the weight room and are Division I prospects. Parish, who sat out last season as a transfer, has a good arm and great athletic ability. Taraska says Cook was the most gifted sophomore ever to play at Arrowhead, a school that has produced several Big Ten college football players. He carried the ball 115 times for 1,306 yards (11.4 average) and 19 touchdowns. As a receiver, he averaged 19 yards per catch. The stalwart on defense is three-year starter Balthazor, a versatile athlete who can play outside linebacker or rush end. Arrowhead should dominate in on special teams with Budzien, one of the top-rated kickers in the nation. As a junior, he connected on field goals from 55 and 49 yards and was named all-state.

Toughest games: Sept. 12 vs. Mukwonago, Sept. 19 at Waukesha West

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