Greendale - On a largely young 2012 Greendale football team, seniors such as Peter Pekar provided some needed stability and leadership - not to mention talent and playmaking abilities.
Pekar gave the Panthers all of those qualities and more during a 6-4 season that culminated with the program's first-ever WIAA Division 2 playoff victory.
He was a unanimous choice at tight end on the all-Woodland Conference team after catching 23 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns as well as doing a superb job of blocking.
Pekar was also the top vote-getter in the conference at outside linebacker after accumulating 63 tackles (41 assists and 21 solos), plus 5½ tackles for losses. He finished as the runner-up for defensive player of the year in the Woodland as well.
For those efforts, Pekar earned a spot on this year's NOW Newspapers All-Suburban Team as an all-purpose player.
"Pekar is a beast of a football player," said head coach Rob Stoltz. "As a tight end, his blocking was even more important than the impressive receiving stats he accumulated. He was also the best defensive player on our team."
Pekar excelled at both tight end and linebacker, but he said he particularly enjoyed his defensive work.
"I like both positions," he said, "but I prefer defense. It gives me a lot more freedom and I can play more recklessly."
On offense, he relished working with sophomore quarterback Josh Ringelberg, who made high honorable mention on the NOW team.
"He is a great athlete," Pekar said. "He had some jitters at times, but overall, his performance was awesome this year."
Pekar said the 2012 season was nothing if not interesting for the Panthers.
"Going in, I didn't know what to expect," he said. "We had young guys at key positions like quarterback and wide receiver, plus some defensive spots. We started well (going 3-0), then got a little head over heels overconfident, but we got back on track."
As far as college plans, he has been in contact with some NCAA Division II schools but is considering walking on at the University of Iowa.
Pekar should fit in nicely in college, both on the field and in the classroom.
"He was our team captain and our best leader," Stoltz said, "and he had a 3.5 grade-point average."