NEW AUBURN — When his senior year of football concluded back in October, New Auburn quarterback Dylan North knew there was a chance he wasn’t done representing the Trojans on the gridiron.
In February, North was announced as part of the roster for the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association eight-man All-Star Game, something he had a hunch might happen.
North said Luck head coach Ryan Humpal, who was named the coach for the North eight-man team, said he was following the regular season matchup between the Trojans and Cardinals and he wanted to get North into the all-star game.
“I wasn’t sure at the end of the year (that I’d be selected). Once I found out, I knew I wasn’t going to waste it,” North said.
The WFCA has three all-star games, which will all be played in Oshkosh Saturday, July 21. The eight-man game will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the small school at 1:30 p.m. and the large school game at 5 p.m.
Stanley-Boyd’s Ben Turner and Brandon Herrick along with Bloomer’s Payton Dachel will play on the small school North Division team.
North said he will head to Oshkosh on Sunday and participate in practices twice a day throughout the week in preparation for Saturday’s game.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity go down there (to the all-star game),” North said. “I wish a couple of my teammates would have made it down with me. They deserve it. I’m just happy to play one more time.”
North won’t be heading to the all-star game completely blind as his older brother attended the game and North said he is familiar with a few of the players from the area that will be his teammates.
Getting the chance to strap on the New Auburn helmet one last time, North isn’t concerned with putting up stats or making the winning play, he just wants to get in the win column once more.
“I want to win. I want to beat the south,” North said of his goals. “I want to play the best I can and go out swinging.”
When the eight-man all-star game first started there were fewer teams involved which meant less competition for spots on the roster. That isn’t true now, with the number of eight-man teams in Wisconsin increasing, so does the difficulty of making the all-star team.
New Auburn coach Wayne North said Dylan making the team represents not only his individual success, but also the work of his teammates and the Trojans football program.
“Individually they do what they need to do,” Wayne said. “They make a name for themselves, but we look at the team aspect of it to help each other and Dylan is the product of that— hard work, dedication and putting the right people around him to help him become a better player overall.
“It’s always exciting to see that recognition for our players,” Wayne said, “and the hard work from Dylan and his teammates because his teammates help him get where he is at too.”
Wayne said Dylan was a pillar of the program and younger players looked up to him this past season. He said Dylan has left a legacy at New Auburn.
Wayne said part being part of a small school creates an environment where freshman can play important roles with the seniors all on the varsity squad and he said Dylan did a good job being that leader for all members of the team.
“Here it’s freshman through seniors,” Wayne said. “They have to play together, they have to get along, they have to help each other, they have to encourage one another, and Dylan did that.”
While Dylan takes pride in his accomplishment of making the all-star game he is quick to realize that he didn’t get there by himself, something not surprising from a quarterback who was willing to play any role for his team, including long snapper.
“It feels good personally. It makes me feel proud of what I have accomplished,” Dylan said. “I just want to thank people who have helped me get there, friends, players, coaches and family.”
As Dylan’s football career nears a close, he said he will most remember the ups and downs of his four years. With a strong team both his freshman and sophomore years, which included a trip to state, failing to form a team his junior year was difficult. But having the team return this season was a good way to end his time for the Trojans and now he has one last chance to represent the New Auburn football program as he straps on his helmet for the final time.
“It makes me happy (to get to play in the game),” Dylan said. “I don’t want to be done, I’d love to keep playing. I know I’ll give it my all and try not have any regrets at the end of it knowing I did my best.”
Travis Nyhus can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @travisnyhus.