Three key members of a Gregory offense that averaged nearly 41 points a game on the way to an undefeated season and the Class 9AA football title were recognized by the South Dakota Football Coaches Association on its all-state team.
Quarterback Andy McCance, running back Robert Vomacka and wide receiver Jayd VanDerWerff were named to the elite list, as selected by the SDFBCA.
McCance torched opponents with laser-like precision, throwing for 2321 yards and 30 touchdowns, including a 13-for-16 effort for 258 yards and six scores in the 9AA championship win over Webster Area. He also rushed for 777 yards and 17 scores, including 95 yards in the final.
“Andy works hard. He spends a lot of time in the off-season throwing a football,” said Gregory head coach Brian Allmendinger.
McCance started for Gregory as a season, and built himself up to a school-record season by building himself up both physically and mentally, especially in the film room.
“He studies film, understands what his number one read is,” Allmendinger said. “When we call a play, he knows which route is most likely to be open.”
McCance becomes the third Gregory quarterback to earn all-state honors in five years, joining Kurt Braun (2014) and Jaden Bartling (2012).
Vomacka and VanDerWerff were a 1-2 punch both on the ground and through the air. Vomacka rushed for 649 yards and four touchdowns, and had 35 catches for 544 yards and two scores. VanDerWerff rushed for 906 yards and 13 scores, and caught 37 passes for 762 yards and 12 scores.
“Robert and Jayd are both basketball players. They move well laterally and make nice catches,” Allmendinger said. “We could have flipped them (on the all-state ballot). They are carbon copies of each other, some of the best athletes that have come through Gregory.”
Vomacka provided a bigger target, at 6-3 and 185 pounds.
“Robert runs hard. He is so explosive,” Allmendinger said. “When he finishes, he’d rather make contact than go out of bounds. He’s a big guy who runs with good forward lean. He can put his shoulder pads down pretty well.”
VanDerWerff provided a “bang” of a different variety, averaging over 20 yards per catch, including a school-record 89-yarder.
“Jayd does some things that make you go ‘Wow,’” Allmendinger said. “He makes some great catches in traffic. He has great hands, and has a great ability to understand where the open spaces are.”
Both Vomacka and VanDerWerff earned all-state selections in 2015, Vomacka as a punter and VanDerWerff as a defensive back.
Webster Area, Gregory’s opponent in the 9AA championship game, also had three selections: guard Logan Richie, defensive tackle Kelby Hawkins and defensive back Riley Reetz. Richie earned all-state honors for a second straight year, as he was selected at linebacker in 2015.
Baltic, which fell to Webster in the semifinals, also had three representatives: fullback Bo Teveldal, linebacker Kadin Wolff and defensive back Reese Warne.
Three other players earned repeat selections to the all-state team, including two at the same position: Bon Homme wide receiver Chase Kortan and Mount Vernon-Plankinton linebacker Tanner Risseeuw. Wolsey-Wessington’s Darian Ogunjemilousi, selected as a running back, was picked at wide receiver last season.
Only one non-senior was selected to the 9AA all-state team, Deuel linebacker Preston Homan, a junior. The senior-dominated all-state list also speaks to the parity in the class this year, said SDFBCA President Byron Pudwill, also the head coach at Bon Homme.
“It was an amazing year. There were six to eight teams that, on any given Friday, could beat any of the other teams,” he said. “It was tough to get kids on this list. If you wanted to be an all-stater in 9AA this year, you had to bring your ‘A’ game every week.”
Here is a look at the other all-state honorees:
Fullback — Bo Teveldal, Sr., Baltic: Rushed for 253 yards and nine TDs. Also caught four passes for 60 yards.
Running Back — Darian Ogunjemilousi, Sr., Wolsey-Wessington: Rushed for 2,244 yards and 32 touchdowns, averaging 14.3 yards per carry. Finished career with 4,018 yards and 50 touchdowns.
Wide Receiver — Chase Kortan, Sr., Bon Homme: Caught 52 passes for 561 yards, and scored 140 of the team’s 276 points. For his career, caught 152 passes for 1,853 yards and scored a school-record 456 points.
Tight End — Damon Hoftenzer, Sr., Stanley County: Caught 15 passes for 299 yards and five touchdowns this season.
Guard — Kasey Buse, Sr., Canistota: Started at right guard for an offense that averaged 392.4 yards per game and 8.5 yards per play. Helped team to a 34-8 record in his career.
Guard — Logan Richie, Sr., Webster Area: Helped the Bearcats to over 4,600 yards total offense, including 3,395 on the ground. Team allowed just two sacks in 2016.
Center — Austin Moore, Sr., Kimball-White Lake: At 5-11 and 290 pounds, was a stalwart on the WildKat offensive line.
Tackle — Caleb Brandt, Sr., Wolsey-Wessington: Recorded 48 tackles, including 14 for loss and seven sacks.
Tackle — Kelby Hawkins, Sr., Webster Area: Recorded 88 tackles, including 11 for loss and 6.5 sacks. Recovered two fumbles.
End — Xavier Ward, Sr., Canistota: The Cornbelt Conference MVP, he recorded 27.5 stops, including 11.5 for loss and three sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. For his career, he had 96.5 tackles, including 44 for loss and 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
End — Preston Homan, Jr., Deuel: Recorded 54 tackles, including 10 for loss, 8.5 sacks and 16 hurrles. Also had five passes defended, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. For his career, has 105 tackles, including 16 for loss and 15.5 sacks.
Linebacker — Kadin Wolff., Sr., Baltic: Recorded 147 tackles, including 16 for loss. Recovered two fumbles, one returned for TD
Linebacker — Tanner Risseeuw. Sr., Mount Vernon-Plankinton: Recorded 81 tackles, including 10 for loss and two sacks. For career, had 209 tackles, eight sacks and two interceptions.
Linebacker — Logan Schaefbauer, Sr., Herried-Selby Area: Recorded 56 tackles and forced three fumbles, recovering one. For his career, recorded 266 tackles, 11 interceptions, four fumbles caused, three fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns.
Linebacker — Ben Boyko, Sr., Britton: Recorded 164 tackles, two blocked kicks and three fumble recoveries. Also has two career interceptions.
Defensive Back — Riley Reetz, Sr., Webster Area: Recorded 42 tackles and five interceptions this season. Finished his career with 138 tackles and 13 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns.
Defensive Back — Reese Warne, Sr., Baltic: Recorded 94 tackles, including two for loss, seven interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Kicker — Trevor Ryan, Sr., Miller: Went 18-21 on PAT kicks and 6-6 on field goals, including makes from 37, 41 and 44 yards. Went 11-14 on field goals and 24-30 on PAT kicks over the past two seasons.
Punter — Tate Block, Sr., Florence-Henry: Averaged 39.8 yards per attempt, including a long of 53 yards. Has a career long of 73 yards.
Long Snapper — Cutter Gillespie, Sr., Stanley County: The 6-5, 220-pound senior helped Stanley County started the play for a special teams unit that averaged 37.4 yards per punt attempt and hit 19 of 24 PAT kicks, as well as a 40-yard field goal.
Special Teams Player — Seth Kirsch, Sr., Kimball-White Lake: Averaged 29.4 yards per kickoff return and 13 yards per punt return. Also served as holder on PAT kicks.
Dylan Hines, Sr., Wolsey-Wessington; Bryce Scieszinski, Sr., Bon Homme; Karst Hunter, So., Miller; Ryan Skillingtstad, Sr., Hill City; J.J. Beck, So., Gregory; Hunter Gaikowski, Sr., Webster; Brenden Johnson, Sr., Hill City; Nathan Schenkel, Sr., Bon Homme;; Hayden Schmidt, Sr., Mount Vernon-Plankinton; Chaden Roggow, Sr., Baltic; Lissandro Escobar, Sr., Hill City; Mason Roerig, Sr., Webster; Triv Vosika, Sr., Gregory; John Witte, Jr., Woonsocket-Wessington Springs-Sanborn Central; Cade Larson, Sr., Chester Area; Austin Thu, So., Canistota; Shay Gibson, Sr., Garretson