East Troy High School’s Jake Dessart was named the Southern Lakes Newspapers All-Area Football Player of the Year for 2018. Dessart led the Trojans to their first playoff win in school history. (Bob Mischka photo)

Dual-threat quarterback does it all during East Troy’s historic season

By Chris Bennett


Consider the last time in life you missed a goal, and then pause and feel happy for Jake Dessart.

Dessart entered his senior season as the quarterback for the East Troy High School Trojan football team with one goal. Dessart wanted to win the school’s first playoff game.

Dessart accomplished that goal when he led the Trojans to a 28-26 victory Oct. 19 in a WIAA Division 3 Level 1 playoff game at New Berlin West.

“It was very emotional,” Dessart said. “It felt great to be able to represent our town and our team.”

Over the course of the season, Dessart helped his team come together and also led the state in rushing. Dessart’s accomplishments explain why he was named the Southern Lakes Newspapers All-Area Football Player of the Year.

“I am glad he is graduating, so we don’t have to play against him anymore,” said Edgerton football coach Mike Gregory. “I believe you will see him playing somewhere next year. He is very deserving of this honor.”

Southern Lakes Newspapers offers comprehensive coverage of 14 high school football programs in the area.

Other athletes considered for Player of the Year honors include Waterford running back Tanner Keller and Wilmot defensive lineman and tight end Kevin Brenner.

Dessart splits time with his mother, who lives in Rochester, and his father, who lives in East Troy. Dessart, a senior, started at quarterback for the Trojans for three years, and is considering various NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 schools as options to continue his career in football.

For now, he is content to be happy with a season in which he led the Trojans to a record of 8-3 overall, including 7-2 in the Rock Valley Conference.

Dessart led all quarterbacks in the state in rushing. He finished with 2,334 yards and scored 26 touchdowns. Dessart also passed for 567 yards and eight touchdowns.

“He put the team on his back and did some really nice things,” said McFarland coach Paul Ackley, who faced Dessart and East Troy in Rock Valley Conference play this past season. “He ran the ball very aggressively, and did a nice job.”

Always a quarterback

To hear Dessart tell the tale, he was always going to be a quarterback. He started playing football in first grade, gave thought to either being a running back or wide receiver, and settled on being a quarterback.

“It’s always been quarterback,” Dessart said. “I really enjoy the leadership role and being able to help the team – being able to help the guys out, being able to do whatever the team needs.”

Dessart and his teammates endured several near-misses en route to leading the Trojans to their first playoff win in school history.

In 2017, as a junior, the Trojans lost 42-20 to perennial Division 3 state power Waukesha Catholic Memorial.

As a sophomore in 2016 the Trojans lost 21-20 to Platteville and in 2015, when Dessart was a freshman, East Troy lost 7-6 to Big Foot.

Dessart candidly said some of the losses took a toll on the program, and said many players pointed fingers after the close losses. This season, though, the team rallied around a common goal.

“We came together as a team, and we figured out it was going to take all of us,” Dessart said. “We all had to jump on the same boat. Thankfully, we all bought into the process. That’s how it started.”


Overcoming extra attention

Dessart’s success this past season came in spite of everyone knowing he was the focal point of East Troy’s offense, and that he was one of the more dangerous rushers in the state.

“We held him to 120-some yards, if you can call that holding somebody, but it was not the 150 a game he was getting,” Gregory said. “He is a great competitor.

“He is a strong, athletic kid who just keeps coming at you and can literally bust a run at any time, from anywhere.”

Dessart rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown and passed for another 64 yards and two touchdowns in East Troy’s Rock Valley Conference loss to Edgerton.

Dessart’s coach, Jeff Crandall, also serves as Dessart’s counselor at East Troy High School. According to Crandall, Dessart’s dependability will be missed.

“He’s been one we could always just count on in the game,” Crandall said. “He was always going to go and do what he did – he was going to run the ball hard and play every single snap.

“He was going to be a kid who played his best every Friday night.”

Dessart is leaving East Troy High School with a host of wonderful memories – one of his favorites being dropped by a buddy while celebrating a touchdown.

Regardless of his future in football, Dessart seems intent on staying close to athletes. He wants to study kinesiology and exercise science in college, and perhaps pass on what he’s learned and help athletes excel.

“I know how good it feels to be able to achieve a goal,” Dessart said. “I want other athletes to be able to feel the same way when they achieve a goal.”



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