The third-annual all-News-Telegraph team consists of record-setting players, returning all-staters and individuals who helped their teams advance well into the playoffs during a unique season.
Youth defines several of the key positions, with several juniors setting their teams up for potential trips to the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls in 2021. On paper, at least three area teams – Audubon, CAM and Riverside – have that potential based on potential returning starters and statistics from the players who will be back.
Each of the eight teams in the News-Telegraph’s coverage area – Atlantic, ACGC, AHSTW, Audubon, CAM, Exira-EHK, Griswold and Riverside – have representation on this honor team. Each player, we think, demonstrated the grit, determination and willingness to be leaders on and off the field and persevere through a COVID-19 impacted season.
In addition to Steele McLaren being named an honorary captain – he showed great determination and courage throughout his career at Atlantic – we’ve named an offensive and defensive captain, both seniors, for the squads.
So without further ado, here’s who have earned their spots on the 2020 all-NT football team:
Offense: Bodie Johnson, sr., Atlantic – One of two strong running threats for the Trojans, had 85 carries for 567 yards and nine touchdowns, including a long of 25. Did a lot of the gruntwork on short gains. Talented two way player who led the linebackers, with a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns.
Defense: Ed Vicek, sr., Riverside – 52 tackles (36 solo, 16 assist), with 16.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks. Oversaw a team that had 16 sacks and 93 tackles for losses. Also had a fumble recovery. Was a second-team all-state selection in 2019.
Honorary captain: Steele McLaren, Atlantic – The heart and soul of the Trojans this past season. His small size for a lineman was more than made up for with his desire, speed and teamwork.
Gavin Smith, jr., Audubon – A major cog in the Wheelers’ success, with 2,369 total yards (52-80 1002 passing, 20 TDs and 4 interceptions for 170.2 rating; 1,357 yards rushing on 154 carries and 27 TDs; and a reception for seven yards. Was in on 47 of his team’s 63 touchdowns through the season.
Austin Kremkowski, jr., Riverside – The man under center for the 8-2 Bulldogs, finished with 2,065 total yards, including 1,575 passing. When passing, was 97-for-190 with 22 touchdowns vs. 10 interceptions, finishing with a 120.7 rating.
Rhett Bentley, jr. Riverside – An all-purpose player, had 142 carries for 1,023 yards and eight touchdowns, including a long of 79 yards. Added 23 catches for 275 receiving yards and three touchdowns, including a long of 49 yards. Had the game-winning touchdown against Lawton-Bronson that got the Bulldogs into the “round of 16” for the first time in 19 years.
Gavin Cornelison, jr., ACGC – The Chargers’ continue to build on the back of his 142 carries for 918 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, including a long of 25.
Lane Spieker, jr., CAM – A returning second-team all-stater a year ago, picked up 2,341 all-purpose yards – 1,753 rushing, 408 passing on 22-30 and 180 receiving – and 43 total touchdowns. That’s not counting 268 punt return yards (averaging 44.7 yards per return) and three touchdowns.
WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END
Brogan Allensworth, sr., Riverside – Had 473 receiving yards on 22 catches, eight of which went for touchdowns with a long of 32 yards.
Tyler Kingery, jr., Exira-EHK – Top target for passing for the Spartans, with 20-406 and four TDs, long of 65 yards.
Joel Klocke, sr., Audubon – Of his 437 total yards, 332 were receiving on 20 catches with eight TDs (of 12 total). Two-way player also forced three turnovers.
Colin Mullenix, sr., Atlantic – 567 yards receiving for six TDs, with a long of 52 yards. Passed the 1,000-career-yard receiving mark in Iowa Class 2A District 9 “round of 32” game vs. Des Moines Christian, ending with 1,072. Three-year starter, first-team all-Class 2A District 9.
Wyatt Fahn, sr., Exira-EHK; Alex Foran, jr., Audubon; Gunner Kirchhoff, sr., Atlantic; Devin McKay, sr., Atlantic; Drey Newell, sr., Atlantic; Hunter Weppler, jr., Atlantic.
Blake Holst, sr., AHSTW – In five-game season, ended with 1,060 total yards and was in on 14 of his team’s 20 TDs (eight passing, six rushing). QB rating was 116.4 with 47-94 for 743 yards passing and 8 TDs/7 interceptions; and 52-317 rushing and six TDs.
Garrett McLaren, jr., Atlantic – 39-of-65 passing for 593 yards and nine TDs, two interceptions, quarterback rating of 136.6. Two-year starter, second team all-Class 2A District 9.
Korey Parrott, sr., Atlantic – Breakout season, with 532 yards rushing on 132 carries and four TDs, long of 19. Often the set-up man for touchdwons.
Trey Petersen, soph., Exira-EHK – split time at quarterback and wide receiver, ending with 1,459 total yards (648 passing, 401 rushing, 410 receiving) and 11 total touchdowns, more than 50 percent of his team’s scoring.
Cale Swain, soph., Griswold – The most consistent offensive threat for the Tigers, with 669 total yards (83-428 rush, 10-233 receiving).
Joe Kauffman, jr., CAM – Led the Cougars in tackles with 88, including seven for loss and a quarterback sack. Of his four interceptions, returned one for a touchdown.
Grant Sturm, sr., Atlantic – Despite his small size, used his speed and shifty moves to pressure opposing team’s offenses. Recorded six interceptions, among the state’s leaders in all classes; four of them were against Clarinda. Had 22.5 tackles, 21 of them solo.
Zane Vance, sr., Atlantic – Important component of the Trojan defensive backfield with 13 tackles, 10 of them solo, and an interception.
Drake Woods, sr., Riverside – Eight interceptions with 159 total return yards, including two TDs. Two-way player, with 16-342 receiving, 7 TDs, long of 49
Payton Fewson, sr., Atlantic; Gavyn Jessen, soph., CAM; Reese Oglesbee, jr., CAM; Eli Ruyn, sr., Riverside; Joey Schramm, jr., Audubon; Colten Tasto, sr., Atlantic; Noah VandeVanter, sr., Atlantic.
Brendan Atkinson, sr., Atlantic – Ended with a team-high 58.5 tackles, 40 of them solo, 11.5 for loss and five quarterback sacks. A key spark to the defensive success of the Trojans.
Ethan Klocke, sr., Audubon – Recorded a team-high 44.5 tackles, including 31 solo, and 7.5 for loss with two sacks. Had two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. Like his twin brother, Joel, a talented two-way player who recorded 660 total yards (374 receiving, 286 rushing) and 12 total touchdowns.
Denver Pauley, jr., AHSTW – 34.5 tackles, seven for loss. Easily an offensive pick as well, with 98-617 and six TDs, long of 50, in an abbreviated five-game season.
Ethan Arp, sr., CAM – As defensive back, recorded 19 solo tackles, including seven for loss and an interception. Part of two-quarterback system with Cougars, with a 19-of-34 for 450 yards and four touchdowns, good for a rating of 167.1.
Alex Hartman, jr., Griswold – 30.5 total tackles, two for loss, as probably the best all-around defensive player for the Tigers.
Sam Olsen, sr., Griswold – A leader on the Tigers’ defensive backfield with 24.5 tackles, 17 of them solo. Two-way player also had 368 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Cade Ticknor, jr., CAM – Recorded 68 tackles, eight of them for loss. Produced four turnovers, three of them fumble recoveries.
Joe Weaver, sr., Atlantic – Recorded 25 tackles, 19 of them solo with three for losses, along with two interceptions. Also had two fumble recoveries.
Cayden Jensen, jr., ACGC – 13 returns, averaged 26.3 yards per return, with an 80-yard TD.
Colby Rich, jr., CAM – A repeat selection, averaged 32.9 yards per punt on his 15 attempts.
Manny Beisswenger, jr., Audubon – Of his 68 kickoffs, 57 went for touchbacks. Was 48-55 on extra-point kicks.