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Gruettner became a master of all trades

NOW Player of Year leads five players cited

Nov. 28, 2011

Muskego - Jordan Gruettner did not man the ticket desk at Muskego's football games this past season.

He also was not called upon to keep statistics on the sideline or carry water onto the field.

Gruettner did, however, do just about everything else for the Warriors this year, helping them to a 9-2 overall record and second place in the strong Southeast Conference at 6-1.

He was one of the main ingredients in Muskego's powerful rushing attack, which racked up 3,565 yards this season, both as a runner and as a lead blocker for 1,500-yard rusher Brady Simkowski.

On defense, he played at linebacker, totaling 92 solo tackles to lead the Warriors for the third straight season. He also earned all-Southeast first team honors at the position the past two years.

Gruettner also served as the team's placekicker on both kickoffs and extra points.

His best work, though, was done as the punter, where he posted an average of 42.5 yards and continually gave the Warriors good field position, with eight punts inside the 20, five inside the 10 and two inside the 5-yard line. He received first-team all-state honors.

"Jordan Gruettner was the only player to never leave the field on offense and defense for the Warriors for the past two years," coach Ken Krause said. "There was no player who did so much so well for any team in the area."

In recognition of his unique accomplishments as a jack-of-all-trades for the resurgent Warriors, Gruettner is the 2011 NOW Newspapers All-Suburban Player of the Year.

The senior leads a group of five Warriors to make this year's All-Suburban team. The others are Simkowski, guard Collin Smith, center Jeff Bolster and defensive back Josh Breider.

Gruettner, though, was in many ways the leader of this season's Warriors - not the first time that he had taken that role.

"In eighth grade, I did a little bit of everything for the team," he recalled. "In junior year, I was a runner, linebacker and punter, and this year, I added placekicking after our projected kicker was hurt."

He said of all his duties, his favorite spot was linebacker.

"When you score a touchdown, you get a good feeling," Gruettner continued, "but there is nothing like getting a nice hit on defense. That fires you up, and it fires up the team."

Gruettner came into this season with plenty of experience, having played competitive football since the first grade.

"My older brothers, Jason and Jerred, got me into it," he said. "I looked up to them and I wanted to do what they did. They were playing football, so I wanted to start playing football."

The Gruettners lived in Wind Lake, so Jordan played in the Racine Youth Sports program for years - and loved it.

"It's a contact sport," he said. "You can't ask for more."

He continued through the years before finally arriving at Muskego High School, where he helped spearhead the Warriors' recent success.

"He is a unique athlete," Krause said. "He will go down as one of the best Muskego athletes ever."

Jordan is on the Muskego wrestling team, having claimed the WIAA state championship at 215 pounds last season. He will compete at the new weight of 220 pounds this season, and along with fellow state champion Roland Dunlap, should keep the Warriors strong.

He will then attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, walking on as a punter and a wrestler while majoring in biology. He has plans of becoming a chiropractor.

Josh Breider

He is Muskego's other first-team all-state choice, winning the honor as defensive back.

"We put him on the other team's best wide receiver," Krause said, "and he allowed no touchdowns on passes all year. He had eight interceptions this season, including two against (eventual Division 1 champion) Kenosha Bradford. He is the definition of a shutdown corner."

Breider said, "My first job is to make sure that no one gets behind me, then I need to make sure I make the tackle. I'm a tackle-first guy."

Breider is the only Muskego All-Suburban selection who will return next season, but he feels the team will be successful again.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "We should be fine. We have a lot of good guys back."

Jeff Bolster

Krause calls Bolster the best center he has ever coached in his 15 years.

"He got better and better as the year went on," he said. "He had no fumbled snaps the entire season."

Bolster said the offensive line as a whole was particularly cohesive.

"We are all two-year starters, and we've played together since eighth grade," he said. "We are all buddies, too."

Brady Simkowski

He watched - and helped block - as Luke Przybylka turned in a big season in 2010, then took over as the featured back this season.

"Luke was a good runner," Simkowski said, "and I knew (in my senior year), I just had to prove to the coaches that I could be someone to replace Luke."

Point made.

Simkowski went on to collect an area-high 1,539 yards and 21 touchdowns, breaking the 200-yard mark in three games and finishing his career as the third-leading rusher in Muskego football history.

"I'm not the kind of back who plows people over," Simkowski said. "I am shifty and change directions well."

Krause said, "He had good chemistry with the line and a positive attitude, plus a great work ethic."

Collin Smith

He was the leader of the offensive line, which Krause called the heart and soul of the team.

"He was as close as we've had to a coach on the field," he said. "He made all the line calls and checks. Also, to show what a leader he is, he requested game film in the off-season and wrote his own scouting reports."

He also spent plenty of time in the weight room.

"All four years in it," Smith said. "Everybody was in the room. This was really a close, unified team overall."

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