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Wildcat senior lineman Tiano Pupungatoa tackles a Menomonie ball carrier for a loss in a game earlier this season. Pupungatoa was honored by the stats and conference coaches by earning All-Big Rivers Conference, All-Region and All-State honors for his play this season. Bob Burrows photos

Ten Cats named to All-BRC football

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sports River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The balance the Wildcat football team displayed this season was evident in the Cats' inclusion on the 2012 All-Big Rivers Conference football teams.

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The Cats earned nods at seven different offensive positions, four different defensive spots, and two on special teams.

Two players -- seniors Tiano Pupungatoa and Alex Call -- earned multiple spots on the All-BRC teams.

Pupungatoa was named to the All-BRC First Team offense and second team defense while Call was named first team punter and second team quarterback and kicker.

Pupungatoa and senior wide receiver Brad Freeborn also earned spots on the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-Region team while Pupungatoa received honorable mention to the WFCA All-State team.

Senior offensive lineman JP Eaton was named to the All-BRC Second Team while senior tight end Eric Wunrow, senior running back Josiah Harris, senior offensive lineman Isaac Dzubay, senior linebacker Bucky Rudesill, senior linebacker Mathew Mishek and junior linebacker Sebastian Larson all received honorable mention.

Wildcat head coach Jason Wolf said he was pleased to see the number of Wildcat linebackers honored by the conference coaches.

"Defensively we did well as a team," he said. "Our defense was built around our linebackers. Our defensive line did its job and that allowed our linebackers to make a lot of tackles."

Pupungatoa earned All-BRC, All-Region and All-State honors despite missing three games due to injury.

"That shows what an impact player he is and how well he did when he was on the field," Wolf said. "Teams had to prepare for him, and the great thing is this is the first year he played defense."

Wolf said Call's ability to earn all-conference honors at three different positions is a testament to his athletic ability.

"I think it not only shows how athletic he is, but how much we relied on him as well," the coach said.

Freeborn earned All-BRC First Team honors after receiving honorable mention as a junior.

"He's improved so much during his four years," Wolf said. "He really became a more physical receiver this year. He went up and took the ball away from people. He really became an aggressive receiver."

Wolf said he was also pleased to see three offensive linemen -- Pupungatoa, Eaton and Dzubay -- recognized by the conference coaches.

"That's really a testament to how hard they worked and what kind of balance we had. "Isaac moved over to tackle from guard when Tiano was hurt, and also did our long-snapping, and JP moved from guard to left tackle this season and really developed his footwork during the offseason."

In addition to the postseason honors from the conference and state coaches, Call was voted the Wildcats' Offensive Player of the Year by his teammates while Rudesill and Larson tied for Defensive Player of the Year honors. Senior John Maillette, in his first season of football, was voted Special Teams Player of the Year while Pupungatoa was named the team's lineman of the Year.

The Most Improved award went to senior defensive back Jon Helgeson and the Most Dedicated went to Wunrow while Scout Team Players of the Year were sophomore Jon Krueger on offense and junior Mustafa Adam on defense.

The Wildcats finished the season 3-4 in the BRC, 4-4 overall.

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