Setting Sights on Madison

Although his team couldn't finish off its perfect season, Walworth Big Foot senior and University of Wisconsin recruit Travis Frederick is anxious for the next step in his career. On the same account, Badger fans are excited to see if his talents carry over into the college game.

MADISON – If he has his way, this will be the last loss Walworth Big Foot senior guard Travis Frederick will ever experience on the hallowed grounds of Camp Randall Stadium.

Leading his team to two straight Rock Valley Conference Southern Division titles and the school's first state title appearance, Frederick and the rest of the Chiefs never could solve the Wautoma-Faith Christian defense, falling 20-0 on a cold, snowy night in Camp Randall in the WIAA Division 4 State Championship.

"It's been kind of a magical year," said Frederick, who committed to Wisconsin on June 26. "From the way we ended last year, to come back and really buy into this program and get the younger kids to buy into the program was special. When we came out this season, we were bigger, faster and stronger than the last year and I couldn't ask for anything more. It's been a great season and I am always going to remember this and I am never going to forget these guys.

"These guys are a heck of an athletic team," he added. "It's just that un-recruited, Friday Night Lights atmosphere that I am going to miss. These guys are from the area and we've grown up playing football together since we were nine or 10 years old. I'll never forget the way we came together."

Now Frederick gets to embark on his next journey, college football at the University of Wisconsin. Although visiting the stadium many times, Frederick got his first opportunity to play on the Field Turf, giving him a slight taste of the journey yet to come.

"It was nice. I really like the turf," he said. "It was a little bit slippery once the snow came here, but there's not much you can do about that. It was nice to be out here with the crowd. It definitely gives you a different perspective when you are on the field compared to watching from the stands."

Although the level of competition will be vastly different at the next level, Frederick's performance against Wautoma gave Badger fans glimpses of his abilities.

Offensively, Frederick, weighing in at 6-foot-5, 315 pounds for the state tournament, had little against a Wautoma front four that's biggest player weighed only 215 pounds. Multiple times, Frederick was able to take on multiple pass rushers from his left tackle position, freeing up his teammates.

Although not the fastest 300-plus pounder in the world, Frederick can deliver a mighty punch when he reaches his destination. When he was called upon to release to the secondary, Frederick continually leveled Wautoma's two senior captains who weighed 175 and 153 pounds respectively.

Frederick moved between left tackle and left guard (the position he was recruited to play by Wisconsin offensive line coach Bob Bostad) and was just as effective, simply pushing 200-pound linemen to the ground or 10 yards up field with ease.

Other than Frederick, the Chiefs never found much of a rhythm. Despite rushing for an average of 274 yards per game, Walworth's running game never got on track, as the team rushed for only 18 yards, breaking the previous record for the lowest rushing total in a division 4 state championship game (Mayville only had 21 rushing yards in 1994).

Junior quarterback Steve Dowden was only 6-for-24 for 91 yards and three interceptions, including being cited for minus 55-yards rushing.

"It was real frustrating," Frederick said about being unable to run the ball. "They had a great scouting report on us. They knew what was coming and where to go. It seemed like there was a big hole there all night but there really wasn't because their linebackers filled amazingly. They are a heck of a team and congrats to them."

Defensively, Frederick, who lined up between the center and left guard the majority of the game, caused havoc up front for Wautoma from the opening whistle. Consistently taking on the double team, Frederick put a wrench in the Hornet's running attack, a unit that was averaging 263.5 rushing yards per game.

Big Foot's defense, giving up only 8.8 points per game and 88.1 rushing yards per contest, forced the Hornets to choose wisely when running the football. Wautoma seldom ran the ball to Frederick's side of the field, well aware of the talent's the big senior possesses. Although Frederick only had one tackle, he was a key factor in the Hornets rushing for only 86 yards.

For the season, Frederick finished with 50 tackles, 1.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss.

"That's what our defense does, we shut down the run and make them pass," he said. "They had a good athlete at quarterback that they were able to do a little bit of everything and really exploit the holes in our secondary."

Despite playing both offense and defense in high school, Frederick will either be positioned at the guard or center position for the Badgers, most likely making the championship game his final chance to lay out the punishment.

"I am going to miss it a little bit, but it's nice to be able to focus in on one thing," he said. "Then again, it's not going to be fun just playing offense. When I broke my arm, I had to sit out on defense and I had that urge to go on the field because I didn't feel I was doing everything I could to help the team."

No matter the outcome, Frederick, who broke his arm in the team's regular season final and gets the cast off tomorrow, relished every minute of his team's state title run. Now, Frederick gets to turn his attention to the Badgers, who he will join for spring football after he graduated on December 19th.

"It's really exciting, although it's a little nerve racking to go up so early and being so young," he said. "I've been in contact with some of the guys up here like Jake Current and they seem like they will kind of take me under their wing and help me, I hope. It's nice to know that I have something that exciting coming up in my future and playing for a great team in my home town."

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