Trio of All-Suburban stars helped Homestead stand tall in 2013
Juedes, Pfaff and Lewinsky named to NOW team
With graduation depleting almost every key area of the team after the 2012 WIAA State Division 2 championship season, the Homestead football team needed leaders in a big way.
They found them in an inspiring way, as the Highlanders rolled to another 11-1 North Shore Conference championship season. Along the way, safety Bryce Juedes, defensive lineman David Pfaff and offensive lineman Jordan Lewinsky all earned both NOW All-Suburban as well as WFCA first-team all-state honors.
"We started to find our identity early and forged a bond," Juedes said. "...We felt we could compete."
That they did, finding strong footing with a seminal second-game win against now two-time WIAA State D1 champion Arrowhead, a victory that propelled a young unit into still another successful season.
"That just showed everyone that no matter what the year, we're no one's underdog," said Juedes, who moved from linebacker to safety this year to help the team. "We knew we had the potential to play with anybody if we put our minds to it."
"I think we overcame a lot of adversity this year," Pfaff said. "Experience is one of the most important things in football and we earned that this year. Following the Arrowhead game we had a lot of confidence and a lot of younger players held up and showed that they could play."
One of those was Lewinsky. The 6-4, 275-pound tackle was not even among the three returning starters along the offensive line, by far the most experienced unit on the team this fall, but he transformed himself, putting on 40 pounds of muscle and working hard with line coach Matt Wolf as the Highlanders rolled up more than 3,000-yards of rushing this fall.
Camps help improvement
Pfaff was glad that Lewinsky was on his side this year, because it was hard enough facing him in practice. Lewinsky went to three football camps this summer to improve himself.
"He's very physical and he grew up a lot this year," Pfaff said. "He also has great footwork and is quick as a hiccup."
Lewinsky knew the line had to perform well to give a whole new cadré of running backs room to run.
"There was a lot of pressure on us with the mostly new backs," Lewinsky said. "We had to become the best we could be....Coach Wolf did a great job with us this year."
The highlight of the season for the line was a time-consuming, bone-crushing, 19-play, game-clinching drive against rival Cedarburg.
NOW 2013 Coach of the Year Dave Keel said he would be surprised if some fairly high-level school doesn't snap up Lewinsky soon.
Pfaff was no slouch, as he was relentless and lightning quick himself at 6-3, 240. Keel was very impressed with Pfaff's work this year despite the junior having to work through a few injuries.
"He brings incredible energy and passion to the game," Keel said of Pfaff, "and he's almost impossible to block one-on-one. Just a force. We looked at him carefully and we think he's better than Ben Gardner (2008 All-Atater who is now a prospective NFL draft pick out of Stanford) was at this point.
"An awfully good player."
"People like Gardner and Shelby Harris, to be compared to them is one of the biggest motivators that I have," Pfaff said. "It's something I've always wanted and I have so many people to thank for it."
Versatile coach's son
As for Juedes, he's the son of Homestead running backs coach Dan Juedes, who won a state title of his own with Sheboygan Falls in 2000. His son displayed the same kind of leadership skills in helping an otherwise very green defense come together.
"Brandon Hines, myself and David (Pfaff), a little, were about the only people back," he said. "I had to come in and be a leader and I was proud of the leadership that was displayed by this team....We were just so inexperienced. We had to reform so many things because we really didn't know many of the seniors.
But things came together this year as Juedes is a motivated individual, who had two older brothers (Dieter and Jacob) go on to play college football. His dad is also a strong motivator even if he doesn't see him as much during practice.
"Though after we got done with 11-on-11 drills I'll occasionally get an earful," Bryce said with a chuckle.
Keel appreciated everything Bryce did this fall.
"He was our quarterback on defense, and he could play sideline-to-sideline," Keel said.
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