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Sometimes football is a family business.

Just ask Menomonee Falls Now All-Suburban two-way lineman selection Matt Henningsen.

It all started when he was a "little" kid, which he isn't so much anymore (6-5, 270).

"I have three older brothers, all of whom played football, too," he said. "I was a waterboy on the 2009 team (that made the WIAA state finals), and Joe was on that team. The year before, I was waterboy for that team, too, and my brother Peter was also on that team, and my brother Adam played in 2012.

"Basically, my whole family played football."

Henningsen is going to continue on in another family enterprise as well.

"All three of my brothers went to Wisconsin, and so did my parents," he said. "So, it's not surprising that I'm going to."

The two-way WFCA all-state Henningsen is also a recruit of the Badgers, as they're looking at him for the defensive line.

Defense is what made Henningsen's name late in the 2016 football season, as he and fellow Now All-Suburban selection defensive back Cameron Jemison helped take what was going to be a mediocre season for the Indians and turn it into something special.

Henningsen, who was primarily known as an offensive lineman last year when he started getting noticed by colleges, started doing some serious work for the Indians as nose tackle on their three-man front defense.

"The coaches really liked how I could play sideline to sideline and make open field tackles," he said. "It really helped me on the offensive side of the ball, too, as I started figuring out what defensive players like to do.

"I think the season turned for us after the lost to (West Allis) Central," he added. "That was so demoralizing. We knew we could bounce back because we knew we hadn't played our best football yet."

And they hadn't, as they closed the season on a remarkable note.

They knocked off previously unbeaten Brookfield Central in the regular-season finale to earn a WIAA state playoff berth and then the following week went on the road and upset previously unbeaten Menasha in a level one state playoff game.

Coach Dan Lutz said Henningsen's effort against Central was "one of the best games I have seen a high school player put together in a really critical situation." Henningsen finished with 23 solo tackles for the season with nine assists, six tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble as he earned WFCA all-state honors both on offense and defense.

Lutz was not surprised at any of the honors Henningsen earned.

"When your best player is your hardest worker like he was, it is always a good sign," Lutz said.

He is also the first Falls all-stater since kicker Kyle French off that great 2009 team.

Jemison, a lock-down WFCA All-Region free safety and the Indians' school record holder in the pole vault (15-0), was not missing in action in either of those games either. Against Central, with the Indians down 17-7, he threw an option pass for a TD to teammate Kris Walker and then a bit later caught a 58-yard TD pass from quarterback Arick Gleissner for the eventual game winner.

He then did a variation on that theme in the Menasha contest, hitting Gleissner on a quarterback throwback play for an early lead. Then in the fourth quarter, Gleissner returned the favor, hitting Jemison for the game winner.

"We've always known that Cam is a terrific athlete," Henningsen said. "He's always making ridiculous plays like that. He's amazing in the weight room, too. Just a guy a who can do it all."

The 6-0, 170 Jemison finished with 32 solo tackles, 31 assists with three tackles for loss and three interceptions.

"A really good player who did an unbelievable job against both the run and the pass," Lutz said.

That the Indians' season ended in Level 2 of the playoffs with a loss to state champion Brookfield East took no luster off the fine finish.

Because the future is bright for both Henningsen and Jemison. Wisconsin told Henningsen to stay in shape and have some fun the rest of his senior year, and he is, as a center for coach Steve Showalter's high-octane Indian boys basketball team.

Meanwhile, Jemison will ready for a stellar senior track season and a potential state title in the vault.

"They (the Wisconsin coaches) told me life will change soon enough, so I might as well enjoy myself," Henningsen said. "I'm really looking forward to things."

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