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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Five people from Colfax were referees at the Division 7 championship football game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison on Thursday, November 15.
The officials from Colfax were Jeff Prince, Rick Prince, Tim Prince, Clark Yolitz and Travis Logslett.
Jeff Prince, Tim Prince and Clark Yolitz responded to questions posed by the Colfax Messenger.
The championship game on November 15 was at 10 a.m. between Edgar and Black Hawk.
For Division 7, Edgar was ranked No. 1 and Black Hawk was ranked No. 2. Both teams were undefeated coming into the game, Jeff Prince noted.
“Edgar and Black Hawk both have a good history for football. Both teams have been to state multiple times,” he said.
The Colfax football crew was notified of the state football championship games on Monday, October 22, Jeff Prince said, adding that the selection process is done by Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) observation and ranking by coaches.
Rick and Tim are Jeff’s older brothers.
“There are four playoff levels before the state championship. Our crew had Levels 1 and 3,” Jeff Prince said.
The Colfax crew was one of seven crews in the state to referee a championship game, Yolitz noted.
Jeff Prince has been a registered football official through the WIAA since 1993.
“I remember who got me registered. It was my dad, Clyde. It was a Monday night for a JV football game at Colfax. My dad was scheduled to ref that game. I was at home, and he came back to the house and said, ‘Here, put this stuff on. We are short one ref.’ So before I was even registered, I reffed a game. I have been registered ever since,” Jeff Prince said.
Tim Prince graduated from Colfax High School in 1980. He now lives in Ladysmith and has been a football referee for 10 years.
Rick Prince graduated from Colfax High School in 1985, and Jeff Prince graduated from CHS in 1989. Travis Logslett graduated from CHS in 1999.
Yolitz is a Wausau native who has lived in Colfax for more than 20 years. He is in his second year of being a football referee, and this year was his first championship game.
Tim Prince worked the Division 1 championship game in 2012 between Hartland Arrowhead and Sun Prairie.
This year was Jeff Prince’s second year on the crew. Before that, he was on a crew in Eau Claire for two years.
“Throughout the years, I have coached football and reffed football until getting back onto a crew in 2015,” Jeff Prince said.
Jeff Prince, Tim Prince and Yolitz said they back each other on calls.
“If there is any question, we use it as a learning approach. During games, if there are questions on calls, we get together and discuss it before making a ruling,” Jeff Prince said.
“The bottom line is to get the call right. Some people may not like the result, but getting the call correct is the overall goal,” he said.
“We agreed on all calls. There was a pass interference call that I made that we cancelled once I found out the ball was tipped before the penalty occurred,” Yolitz said.
When asked if they would referee a state championship football again, Jeff Prince, Tim Prince and Yolitz all said “yes.”
“We would absolutely be honored to ref a state tournament game again. It’s an experience that is just unbelievable,” Jeff Prince said.
“It is an honor to get accepted to do a state game of any sport. It is a reward showing that the hard work of taking exams, going to meetings, traveling to different schools and getting back late nights, getting up for work the next morning, then do it all over again the next night. It’s for the kids. When you step foot out onto Camp Randall, the feeling is exciting! Wow!” Tim Prince said.
Yolitz said he “absolutely 100 percent” would referee another state championship football game.
Members of the Colfax football crew agree that refereeing a state championship game is an honor.
“Reffing a state tournament in any sport is an honor. When you get to that level, you know that the work and time you put into it pays off,” Jeff Prince said.
“Another reason of it being an honor is that you know that the games we officiate, the coaches respect us as a crew, which speaks volumes,” he said.
“Walking onto the field at Camp Randall Stadium is something I will never forget. If you think the stadium is big watching a Wisconsin Badger football game, walk onto the field sometime,” Jeff Prince said.
“It is a complete honor to get a game of this caliber, and I am fortunate to be on a great crew,” Yolitz said.
“Reffing with my brothers is something that cannot be replaced. Growing up watching my brothers play sports and watching the tail end of my dad’s sports career playing softball and me playing sports is so rewarding. For those who don’t know us, sports in my family runs deep. My dad and uncles are to blame for this,” Jeff Prince said.
“Reffing with my brothers at the state tournament was not the first time. In 2015, the three of us reffed at the girls’ state basketball tournament in Green Bay at the Resch Center,” Jeff Prince said.
“My father and sister came to watch (the November 15) game, in which they have not seen me referee a football game before,” Yolitz said.
“Jeff and I were also fortunate to have a girls’ state basketball game in March of 2018 in Green Bay with another partner. My father and both sisters attended that game. Again, this was the first time any of them had seen me referee a basketball game. Spending these two days with my family and friends is priceless in my referee career,” he said.