Nobody this season could slow down the potent ground attack of the Langford Area Lions and the cornerstones of that unit are being honored today as the Class 9B All-State Football Team as selected by the South Dakota Football Coaches Association is announced.
Quarterback Chance Olson, running back Lincoln Gibbs and linemen Jordan Carson and Brady Wieker all made the offense of the honor unit after leading the Lions to a 12-0 season culminating in the 9B state championship. Teammate Eric Christofferson is the all-state kicker.
“To have it all play out like it did, it really was a dream year,” said Langford Area coach Paul Raasch. “Everything came together really well.”
Langford Area rushed for 508 yards in the state title game alone and finished with 4,461 yards rushing on the season.
“We knew going into the year we had the ability to run the ball,” Raasch said, “but we took that to another level this year.”
The Lions also rose up on defense, especially when the going got tough in the post season.
“We had some big stops in the playoffs,” Raasch said. “We ran into some good offensive teams.”
Here is a capsule look at each player on the all-state squad:
Tight end: Jarett Jenson, Harding County. Just a junior, Jenson had 40 receptions for 682 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He now has 64 receptions for 1,046 yards and 17 touchdowns in his career. He was also a main blocker for the Ranchers. “Jarett is a three-year starter for our program,” said Harding County coach Jay Wammen. “He has extremely soft hands and catches anything in his direction. He is also one of our best run blockers.”
Guard: Brady Wieker, Langford Area. This four-year starter played a key role in the Lions’ run to the state championship as Langford racked up more than 4,000 yards rushing as a team. “Brady was a devastating force for us on both sides of the ball,” said Langford Area coach Paul Raasch. “He moves well for his size and is quick off the ball. His strength separates him from most guys he faced. He was our emotional leader, too.”
Guard: Jacob Frost, Dell Rapids St. Mary: Frost helped pave the way for the Cardinals potent running attack this season. The four-year starter was a key reason why DRSM rushed for 2,979 yards and averaged 331 yards rushing per game. “Jacob was as dominating of a guard as we’ve had,” said Dell Rapids St. Mary coach Ross Flemmer. “He was who we ran behind when we needed the tough yards.”
Center: Jordan Carson, Langford Area. Carson was selected as the Outstanding Lineman in the 9B state championship game. The senior helped pave the way for one of the most dominant rushing attacks in the state. “Jordan helped anchor our line on both sides of the ball. He is a very smart player and has good size and strength to go with it,” said Lions coach Paul Raasch. “He’s a really quiet leader for us as well and a big reason for our success.”
Wide Receiver: Adam Aughenbaugh, De Smet. This record-setting receiver had 45 receptions for 744 yards and 13 touchdowns this past season. Aughenbaugh finished his career with 104 catches for 1,645 yards and 30 touchdowns. He holds four school records. “Adam has great hands as a receiver,” said De Smet coach Mike Warne. “He had several highlight-reel catches. He saw double coverage in most games this year and still averaged 75 yards receiving per game.”
Wide Receiver: Clayton Menning, Corsica-Stickney. Menning was a playmaker for the Jaguars this season. The junior rushed for 945 yards and seven touchdowns, and also caught 14 passes for 478 yards and four more TDs. “Clayton is the kind of player that would always step up and make a big play when his team needed it most on both sides of the ball,” said Corsica-Stickney coach Jason Broughton.
Quarterback: Chance Olson, Langford Area. Just a junior, Olson rushed for 1,464 yards and 20 touchdowns, and passed for 534 yards and 8 TDs. He has produced more than 3,000 yards of offense in his career so far. “Chance is so explosive. He is a high-energy player and impact player on both sides of the ball,” said Lions coach Paul Raasch. “The bigger the game the better he plays and he packs a punch even at 160 pounds. He’s a hard-nosed player.”
Fullback: Tyson Serr, Burke-South Central. Good things happened when Serr touched the ball for the Cougars. The senior rushed for 741 yards and 11 touchdowns, had 167 yards receiving and three more scores, and also passed for 38 yards. He had 946 yards of total offense with 14 touchdowns this past season. The four-year starter finished his career with 1,987 yards of total offense and 34 touchdowns. “He is a good student and a great leader,” said Burke-South Central coach Mike Sebern.
Running Back: Lincoln Gibbs, Langford Area. Gibbs was unstoppable his junior season rushing for 2,357 yards and 37 touchdowns. He also had 192 yards receiving and three more scores. He has already racked up 3,680 yards rushing with 53 touchdowns with a full season remaining. “Lincoln had a terrific year. His combination of speed and power makes him an elite back and very difficult to contain,” said Lions coach Paul Raasch. “He has put in countless hours in the offseason preparing himself for the year he had.”
Running Back: Josh Brown, Dell Rapids St. Mary: This record-setter spent plenty of time in opposing end zones. The senior rushed for 1,719 yards and 26 touchdowns this season, and finished his career with 5,391 yards rushing (eighth best in state history) and 83 rushing touchdowns (fifth all-time in state history). Brown finished with DRSM records for rushing yards, yards per game in a season, rushing TDs and total TDs. “Josh is a great football player,” said Cardinals coach Ross Flemmer. “He has a knack for finding the end zone.”
Defensive End: Kale Stieg, Hamlin: Opponents soon found out where Stieg was located on the line. Just a junior, he recorded 100 tackles, including 12 for loss and six sacks. He also deflected four passes. He already has 214 tackles, 28 for loss, 17 sacks and an interception with a season remaining. “Kale is a hard-nosed player,” said Chargers coach Jeff Sheehan. “He will play wherever you need him and will give you 100 percent effort. He has a great nose for the ball and does all of the little things right.”
Defensive End: Eli Van Roekel, Corsica-Stickney. This three-year starter spent plenty time in opposing backfields this past season. Van Roekel accumulated 42 tackles and had six quarterback sacks. He also intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble. “Eli is a dedicated student-athlete who leads from example,” said Jaguars coach Jason Broughton. “Eli is a do-everything athlete on the field leading us in rushing, receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns.”
Defensive Tackle: Dane Dornbusch, Howard. Dornbush brought traffic to a halt from his spot on the defensive line. The senior had 54 tackles, a sack and a pair of fumble recoveries for the Tigers this fall. The three-year starter finished his career with 145 tackles, three sacks and four fumble recoveries. Dornbush started as a center and defensive tackle on last year’s Class 9A state championship team.
Defensive Tackle: Carson Kostal, Corsica-Stickney. This senior was a force on the defensive line for Corsica-Stickney this season. The three-year starter collected 47 tackles and had four quarterback sacks. He also blocked a punt for the Jaguars, who lost just two games all year. “Carson is a hard worker and a great leader,” said Corsica-Stickney coach Jason Broughton.
Linebacker: Ryder Grantham, Hamlin. Grantham left his mark on opposing ball careers and his impact on the Chargers football program. The senior had 96 tackles, seven for loss, and defended five passes his senior season. He finished his career with 320 tackles, 14 for loss, three sacks and four interceptions. “He plays at top speed the whole game,” said Hamlin coach Jeff Sheehan. “He is pound for pound one of the best hitters I have worked with. He was a great leader.”
Linebacker: Matt Larson, De Smet: Larson led the Bulldogs in tackles the past three seasons. He had 114 this year (average of 11.4 per game), running his career total to a whopping 360 tackles. He also forced six fumbles and recovered four this season. He finished his career with 12 forced fumbles, six recoveries and two interceptions. “Matt is the best linebacker I have been around as a coach,” said De Smet coach Mike Warne. “Matt made tackles from sideline to sideline and often times drew double team blocks at a linebacker position.”
Linebacker: Garrett Boylan, Harding County. Boylan was all over the field for the Ranchers this season. The senior had 52 solo tackles and 69 assists, and averaged more than 10 tackles per game. He also had four sacks, forced three fumbles and recovered a fumble. “Garrett is a player we moved all around on our defense,” said Harding County coach Jay Wammen. “His strength allowed him to play nose tackle, defensive tackle and his football awareness allowed him to move back to the middle linebacker role for our team.”
Linebacker: Zach Sebern, Burke/South Central. Sebern led his team with 94 tackles this season (averaging more than 10 per game). He had 10 tackles for loss, deflected six passes and recovered a fumble. The three-year starter finished his career with 168 tackles, including 14 for loss, three interceptions and four fumble recoveries. “He has great feel and instincts,” said Cougars coach Mike Sebern. “We moved him to defensive back in situations.”
Defensive Back: Clayton Koch, Harding County. Koch was always around the ball. The senior had 31 solo tackles, 24 assists, picked off 11 passes and deflected 12 others, and also recovered three fumbles. The four-year starter finished with 19 career interceptions. “Clayton was our game-changer on both sides of the football for us this season,” said Ranchers coach Jay Wammen. “He played free safety and did an amazing job with his ball skills.”
Defensive Back: Reed Harter, Colome. Harter was a force on defense for the Cowboys for the past three years. He capped his senior season with 101 tackles (37 solo and 64 assists) and averaged 10.1 tackles per game. He also picked off three passes. Those numbers pushed his career totals to 277 tackles and 10 interceptions. “He has been a team captain for two years,” said Colome coach Scott Kortan, “and the team leader on and off the field for the last two years.”
Kicker: Eric Christofferson, Langford Area. Christofferson helped the defense and the offense with his leg this past season. The senior averaged 48.2 yards per kickoff and helped pin opponents deep on their side of the field. He also made 15 extra points and a pair of field goals for the Lions. “Eric was a real weapon for us this season,” said Langford Area coach Paul Raasch. “He has a big leg on kickoffs and is quick and accurate on field goals.”
Punter: Nathan Hollenbeck, Timber Lake. This senior averaged 38.5 yards per punt and placed five punts inside the 20-yard line for the Panthers. “Nathan had a great leg that had the ability to get the ball very high in the air as well as deep,” said Timber Lake coach Jordan Weisbeck. “He also had great accuracy with very few balls being returned at all. He gave our defense a huge advantage in field position throughout the year.”
Long Snapper: Christian Schnieders, Dell Rapids St. Mary. Schnieders was a model of consistency when it came to special teams. “He only had one bad snap all year on our punt team and he was the guy we’d release from that position to get downfield and make the tackle,” said Cardinals coach Ross Flemmer. Schnieders was a force in all three facets of the game for DRSM. “He excelled on both sides of the ball and special teams,” Flemmer said.
Special Team Player: Lathen Stevens, Edgemont. From returning punts and kicks, to longsnapping to making stops on special teams, Stevens made his impact felt for the Moguls. The senior averaged 21.7 yards per punt return, 19.9 yards per kickoff return and scored a touchdown on both. He finished with six career special team TDs. “Teams hardly ever kicked the ball to him, because of his ability to make the big play in the open field,” said Edgemont coach Dave Cortney. “On kickoffs and punts he made the tackle or was in on the tackle 77 percent of the time.”
Broderick Poppinga of De Smet, Cass Lytle of Wall, Drake Rust of Hamlin, Grant Johnson and Mitchell Johnson of Alcester-Hudson, Noah Fiegen of Dell Rapids St. Mary, Jack Aesoph of Faulkton
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